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Sun 07 Nov 2004

MM Lee Kuan Yew plants Hopea sangal in Henderson

Category : news

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew planted a very special sapling today.

In 2002, a Hopea sangal tree, once listed as extinct, was rediscovered in Changi by Joseph Lai and friends. This tree was tragically felled in November 2002, but happily, before this happened, a batch of seeds was collected by alert members of the Nature Society (Singapore).

Some of the seedlings were presented to NParks for safe keeping, and one other was presented to the Singapore Zoo together transformed logs, now sculptures. See the Hopea sangal timeline.

One sapling was nurtured under special conditions to enhance its growth, and is now more than a metre tall.

Joseph Lai and Angie Ng had measured the Changi trees for the original report, hunted for and identified the felled logs in the sawmills and ceremoniously handed over a Hopea sangal sapling on behalf of NSS to the zoo.

This morning, Sunday 7th November 2004, amidst the tight security, they were there to witness MM Lee Kuan Yew plant the sapling in Henderson and share the moment with us today with this photo here and on the Earth webpage.

Many of our lives have been entwined by the tree and an education programme, involving various members of the Hopea sangal working group with schools is in fact, still ongoing.

Just last Friday, Joseph said, "The whole episode had been a real eye-opener for me, and this realization - of the wonderful dimension within the space of two years as well as in the undefinable space in the people's hearts - inspired me to write this final piece," Between Nothing.

Posted at 3:08PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Sun 07 Nov 2004

"Slow loris quick bust"

Category : trade

"Slow loris quick bust" by Kua Chee Siong and Teh Jen Lee. The New Paper, 06 Nov 2004 [pdf].

Excerpts - An alert about an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) posting about exotic pets for sale led to an offer of sale of a slow loris (Nycticebus coucang) for $480. The New Paper alerted the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the seller was caught.

Lye Fong Keng of the AVA said five cases of Internet trade in exotic pets have been detected by AVA in recent years. A new breed of exotic animal sellers seem to be operating undercover online. AVA responds to information on any illegal wildlife trade activities. If you have any information, call 6227-0670.

On Wednesday (03 Nov 2004) ACRES just officially launched its 24-hour hotline (9783-7782) for people to report illegal pet trading. Louis Ng wants a change in the law - he said: 'It can't be by species because then traders will just bring in one species at a time. At most they get a $5,000 fine or one-year jail. Considering that 1,000 star tortoises can be sold for $60, they can make $60,000. So they just have to get one large shipment through to see huge profits.'

On Sunday 31 Oct 2004, Customs officers caught an Indonesian vessel which tried to smuggle about 40,000 pieces of dried python and monitor lizard skins into Singapore. The skins, worth about $800,000, were to be sold here but the ship's captain was only fined $5,000 and jailed three months.

Read the complete article at The New Paper.

Posted at 7:49AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Sun 07 Nov 2004

Wild but not free

Category : trade

Wipe out the trade in wildlife before it wipes out our wildlife

"Asia's wildlife is disappearing, thanks to a booming illegal trade in exotic pets. The trade is ruthless, cruel and shockingly wasteful.

Blow the whistle on wildlife traders and buyers. Do you know anyone who buys, owns or trades in exotic animals? Call the ACRES hotline at 9783-7782."

See the ACRES webpage details of their latest campaign, launched on Wed 03 Nov 2004.

Posted at 7:39AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Sun 07 Nov 2004

40,000 python and monitor lizard skins seized from an Indonesian barge

Category : trade

See the joint press release by Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (Ministry of National Development) & Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (Ministry of Home Affairs), 02 Nov 2004.[pdf]

Excerpts - On 31 October 2004, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers from the Anti-Smuggling Team at Coastal Command conducted a routine check on a barge towed by tugboat, from Jambi, Sumatra, loaded with 544 crates declared as containing plywood products.

A search revealed 31 bales of illegal reticulated python (Python reticulatus) and monitor lizard (Varanus salvator) skins hidden amongst the plywood in five of the crates.

These approximately 40,000 pieces of air-dried python and monitor lizard skins had no permits for export and the contraband, estimated at $800,000, was seized. The case was referred to the the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the captain was charged in court on 2nd November 2004 and fined $5,000 and sentenced to jail for three months for the illegal import of CITES species.

Since February 2004, ICA has referred four major cases involving illegal shipments of CITES species to AVA for investigations. The 4 prosecution cases involved the seizures of a total of 56 metric tonnes of red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) and 6,555 turtle eggs of the marine turtles of the species, Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata).

In the three cases involving red sandalwood, the offenders were prosecuted and each fined $2,000. The red sandalwood was repatriated to India, country of origin for the wood.

The smuggler of the turtle eggs was fined $5,000 and jailed for 5 months.

So far, a total of 78 illegal wildlife enforcement cases involving smuggling and possession of illegal wildlife (and their parts or products) such as marine turtle eggs, corals, giant clams, seahorses, Asian arowanas, snakes, tarantulas and sandalwood were investigated by AVA this year. Of these, 7 cases were prosecuted, 58 compounded and the remaining 13 were given warnings.

Posted at 7:37AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news