Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Selangor to review forest reserve permits

It is good news that, beginning next month, the Selangor State Government will be reviewing permits for development on land gazetted as forest reserves.

According to an article in The Sun , the permits have been frozen following a moratorium by the state government on development in forest reserve land.  The article goes on to state that the state executive council will either approve or reject these permits based on the details, facts and need for the proposed developments.

Earlier this year, this blog site highlighted a housing development that was advertised as being built within a forest reserve. (find the blog entry here) .  We hope that this will be investigated, too.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Human Pressure on the Park - Rubbish!

It is very disheartening to see the trail of rubbish along some of the quiet roads that wind through Taman Negeri Selangor. 

One particular example is along the B116 (Jalan Sg. Tekali).  Having driven along this road, heading to Sg. Tekala Recreation Forest on many occasions, the mountains of rubbish seem to be increasing in both size and in the number of locations.  Along some stretches of the road, the piles of rubbish are so huge that they block an entire lane of the road, making the 2-way road into a dangerous single lane.   

Piles of rubbish are also being dumped over the edge of the road, along the forest slopes, where it is less obvious to travelers along the road.  There are also now huge piles of rubbish beginning to appear along the B19, both on the way to Sg. Congkak and to Sg. Tekala Recreation Forests.  This illegal dumping along the public roads and in the forest reserves bordering the roads in this area in particular has become a serious situation.

TrEES has written to the local council (with cc copy to the State), and spoken to a representative.   Efforts are being made to clean up the mess.  It is difficult for the local council to keep up with the amount being thrown along these quiet roads.  

Something needs to be done to stop the illegal dumping from happening (or at least to greatly reduce the frequency!)  This is definitely not an easy task.  All contractors that are hired by a local council or other organizations, should be required to produce an official receipt from the proper dumpsite as proof that waste was dumped legally and properly BEFORE any payment is made to the contractor for that disposal.   I believe MPSJ has implemented such a system to help curb illegal dumping.

The piles of rubbish should be investigated, to determine the type of rubbish, to thus determine the source of the rubbish.  The local councils may then be able tell if the waste is coming from the local factories, recycling separation centres, wet markets, etc.   Overnight observation on random occasions every month could be done at troublesome spots along the roads.  Looking at the amount of rubbish in some places, it is probably dumped nearly every night.

This rubbish is coming from neighborhoods, from night markets, from contractors - from you and me.  We’ve got to take more action to reduce our waste, and be more responsible for the waste we produce. 

What can we do?
-       reduce disposable plastic and styrofoam use
-       bring your own bag to the pasar malam, ask the stall owners to dispose of their rubbish in a proper bin
-       make sure your contractor disposes of your renovation waste properly
-       report illegal dumping immediately to the local authority

Clearly, it’s a mountain of a task.  Let’s all try to do our part to solve this problem!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Malayan pangolin (Manis javanica) – a creature in trouble

Family : Manidae
Species : Manis javanica

The pangolin is a small yet magnificent creature.  Having read so many articles in the papers on illegal smuggling of this animal, I wanted to highlight the beauty of this animal and its fight for survival.

The pangolin, also known as the scaly anteater, and tenggiling in Malay, is an unusual mammal that is covered with tough, protective scales.  It lives in the forests (primary, secondary, scrub forest) and plantations (rubber and palm oil) of Southeast Asia, and it has been documented within the forests of the Taman Warisan Negeri Selangor.

This ground-dwelling, scaled animal measures close to 1m in length and weighs about 2kg.   The protective scales are made of keratin, which is the same substance that hair, fingernails, and horn are made from.  These scales cover nearly the entire body of the pangolin, except belly, snout, eyes, ears, and undersides of the limbs.

The pangolin is an insectivore, and feeds mainly on ants and termites.  It uses its short legs and huge claws to dig into anthills and termite mounds.   Well adapted for this type of feeding, the pangolin’s face and eyes are protected by thick skin and eyelids. It also has the ability to open and close its nostrils, thus completely protecting itself from ant or termite attack.  While it has no teeth, with it’s long, sticky tongue, it can eat an estimated 200,000 ants or termites per day.

The Pangolin is nocturnal and will rest by day in burrows and tree holes.  While it is mainly a ground dwelling creature, the species is also a skilled climber, aided by its prehensile (grasping) tail - the pangolin can even hang from its tail!  The strong tail also is used to support the animal when it stands up on its hind legs to tear open termite mounds.  

It may roll into a ball when it feels threatened. The species may also hit an enemy with its tail or spray it with urine.  Pangolins are also known to hide by day amongst the foliage of large epiphytes such as the Bird's Nest Fern.

The pangolin will have one or two young at a time. Infants are carried on top of the base of the mother's tail until they are independent. The pangolin can live up to 14 years in captivity.   There are 7 species of pangolins that live in grasslands and forests in parts of Africa and Southeast Asia (Genus Manis).

Pangolins are fully protected species in Malaysia, yet they are under serious threat from poachers.  How many times have we seen articles in the newspapers about crates and crates of these animals being confiscated?  It is frightening when you think about the number of these animals being smuggled.

Pangolins are thought to be a powerful antiseptic; medicines made from their scales supposedly cure fevers, skin disorders and venereal diseases.  Their meat it thought to be an aphrodisiac.  It is reported that buyers from China pay as much as RM1,500 per animal

In this modern day, don’t we have enough antiseptics, fever medicines and Viagra, that traders and customers can purchase other products to cure their ailments?  With regular confiscations of up to 500 pangolins in one load, how many can be left in the wild? 

These creatures cannot speak for themselves.  They cannot ask for help, for better protection from the government.  We have to do that for them.

Please, make it a strong point NOT to buy any medicines made from wild animals.  Please don’t eat these animals.  If you seen any one selling wild animals or parts of wild animals, please call the Department of Wildlife and National Park (DWNP) immediately at 03-9086 6800.  Please write letters to the government and articles to the newspapers to express your concern over the illegal trade in wildlife.  Every little bit you do makes a big difference!

Information extracted from the following sites, please visit them for more excellent information:



Photos extracted from:


Monday, May 2, 2011

Earth Day Activities

Earth Day was a busy day in Taman Negeri Selangor.

At Sungai Tua Recreational Forest, approximately 600 people gathered to clear the Park of rubbish left behind by uncaring picnickers.  It was wonderful to see so many Malaysians and other concerned citizens of the Earth gather to clean up our beautiful Park.  But it is a tragedy that picnickers are still leaving behind such a mess after enjoying the beauty of nature.   It is really high time that the authorities start getting serious on the cancerous problem of littering, and start imposing fines on those who throw rubbish around.

Still, a big thank you must go out to those volunteers who worked so hard to clean up Sg. Tua Recreational Forest, one of the Park headquarters.  The event was organised by the Waterfall Survivors, with so many other groups helping out.  Great Job to all of you!

On a smaller scale, but with no less heart, a group of media gathered at Sg. Tekala Recreation Forest to commemorate Sloggi's international Love Earth Campaign, in a bid to increase conservation efforts and awareness of this magnificent Park. 
Globally, Sloggi and the SensitivEcoSystem Project have partnered with the World Land Trust to save the threatened rain forest in the Yaboti Biosphere, which is home to many unusual plants and animal species, at risk of extinction. 

Here in Malaysia, Sloggi have partnered TrEES in our efforts to increase the awareness and protection of Taman Negeri Selangor.  In addition to writing articles and blogging about the Park, the media planted native trees to enrich the Park’s biodiversity.

Sloggi also presented a check to TrEES to help us with our Internet efforts to empower communities to reduce their ecological footprint on the Park.

While we should practice Earth Day everyday, it was a special weekend at Taman Negeri Selangor.  The plants and wildlife send a special thank you to everyone who got involved!  Keep up the good work!