Rare rhino’s death should light a fire under Indonesia (commentary)

first_imgTam died on Monday, likely from old age, after living in captivity for 11 years.Tam never bred in captivity despite repeated attempts with captive females.Tam represented hope when he was captured – today he represents the need to move aggressively on measures to save his species.This post is part of “Saving Life on Earth: Words on the Wild,” a monthly column by Jeremy Hance, one of Mongabay’s original staff writers. On May 27, Monday morning, I woke to the news that Tam, the last male Sumatran rhino in Malaysia and the last known male Bornean rhino, had perished. As clichéd as it sounds, I felt like I’d been punched.It was not surprising news. Tam’s health had been in decline for months and reports had gotten direr in the last week. He was old for a rhino, in his mid-30s, and was suffering from kidney and liver damage. It was, put simply, his time.But Tam was special — to the world and, selfishly, to me. I had the honor of meeting him in 2009. I was a young environmental journalist then, with just a year under my belt, writing for Mongabay. I was in Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo, for a colloquium on orangutans and palm oil, but I made a long detour (flying over oil palm plantations, sprawling towns and rainforest patches) to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve for a single reason: Kertam, or just Tam for short.Tam in his forest home in Sabah in 2009, one year after his capture. Photo by Jeremy HanceJust a year before my visit, Tam had stumbled into an oil palm plantation, one of many that had spread across Sabah in the 2000s. He would live for the next 11 years at the Bornean Rhino Alliance (BORA) facility at Tabin, receiving around-the-clock protection and a large pen of the rainforest habitat his species had evolved with over millions of years.My meeting with Tam would be fortuitous in my life. Our few hours together would kick-start my devoted obsession to the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) and the writing of more words than I can count on this species.Despite untold efforts, Tam never produced children. Yet perhaps we can take at least one lesson from Tam’s life and death: time is running out for the Sumatran rhino. The much-welcomed new program, Sumatran Rhino Rescue, must move faster and be willing to take more risks than past efforts if we are to have any chance of success in conserving the species.Indonesia, with its intransigence on cooperating with Malaysia and its historic tepidness over taking more drastic actions, has kicked this can down the road for long enough. Now is our last, best chance to save the species.Light a fire under IndonesiaThe situation is this: we now have nine Sumatran rhinos in captivity — one in Malaysian Borneo, one in Indonesian Borneo, or Kalimantan, and seven in Sumatra. But only one pair of rhinos, in Sumatra, have so far been proven capable of reproduction, and two of the females, Iman and Pahu, are an island apart from the others.Meanwhile, in the wild, the Sumatran rhino is on the precipice of extinction. In 2017, I wrote a series on the species that, based on numerous conversations with experts, put the number of Sumatran rhinos left at just 30 to 80. And these populations are separated over four distinct habitats — one of which may already be devoid of rhinos.Male Sumatran rhino named Jackson of the northern subspecies, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis lasiotis, at the London Zoo in the early Twentieth Century. This subspecies used to roam mainland Asia as far as India and Bangladesh. It is now extinct. Two subspecies remain: the Bornean and the Sumatran.Given this, our best chance for the species is now to build a sustainable captive population to ensure survival — and to do that we desperately need at least a few new young, healthy males and females. This would mean, like the European bison or the California condor, that if the species vanishes from the wild, it could be reintroduced back into the jungle one happier day.Today, there are only seven animals at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas (most of them directly related), and we haven’t seen a birth for three years. The sanctuary requires the influx of new animals with divergent genetics – and his will require embracing risk. Capturing a rhino is by no means easy and sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes a capture ends in death, as the demise of a young female, Najaq, proved in 2016 – and a number of other animals in the 1980s and 90s.  This doesn’t mean a mortality at capture is acceptable or that we shouldn’t learn from our mistakes – only that, while we must do what we can to avoid injury or death, we must accept this is a risky business. But so is leaving the rhinos where they are.Tam’s epitaph is clear: We no longer have the luxury of time or easy decisions.For decades, conservationists counted and estimated Sumatran rhinos for decades with little success — and in all cases overestimating the number of the animals. This has happened in every place the Sumatran rhino has been counted: from Peninsular Malaysia (now extinct) to Sabah (now extinct in the wild) to Kalimantan (where estimates of 15 animals are almost certainly overoptimistic) to a number of large parks in Sumatra, where reputed rhinos were just ghosts.This problem is likely due to the fact that tapir footprints look like those of Sumatran rhinos, and when anyone, even well-trained rangers, goes looking for a specific species, it’s often easy to find something — anything — that could be taken as a sign. But a “sign” doesn’t mean there’s actually a rhino. Camera traps are the best tools to actually verify rhinos and then monitor them for capture.Today, we need to skip trying to count and instead capture. If and when rhinos are confirmed in potential populations (aside from the Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra) a capture program should be initiated immediately, especially if the rhinos appear to be in good breeding health. History has shown it can take years to successfully capture a single animal.Tam under general anaesthesia undergoing the electro-ejaculation procedure in Malaysian Borneo to collect sperm, which is today frozen for potential use. From left to right : Zainal Zainuddin, Willson Kuntil (senior rhino keeper), (green shirt not acing camera) Dr Abdul Hamid Ahman (BORA chairman; performing manual stimulation ), (colorful shirt) Abraham Mathew (senior veterinarian, Singapore Zoo) and Zubaidah Kamarudin (Department of Willdife and National Parks, Peninsular Malaysia, PERHILITAN) jointly responsible for anaesthesia and monitoring of vital parameters. Image courtesy of BORA.There may already be zero animals left in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in Sumatra, and if there are any, it’s very likely not a viable population. If any rhinos are confirmed there, captures should begin immediately. Kalimantan could still house around a dozen animals, officials say, but again that’s hardly a viable population in the long term. Moreover, left in the wild, those animals could easily fall prey to poaching or snaring (numerous captured rhinos, for example, have had evidence of snare wounds). Captures, here too, shouldn’t wait.Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra could be slightly better off in terms of population, but only slightly. And even if Way Kambas has, let’s say, a population of 30-plus rhinos that are breeding (the most optimistic estimate I’ve heard), it’s important to take the risk of capturing a few animals here for captivity now. Way Kambas is also more likely to have young, healthier animals than either Bukit Barisan or Kalimantan.The biggest question mark is Leuser. Here, I can understand taking things a little slower. For one thing, Leuser may be our best chance of a viable wild population. For another, successfully capturing rhinos there will be more difficult due to its remoteness and difficult terrain. Leuser can wait — if rhinos are found elsewhere.Even if the total Sumatran rhino population is larger than we expect (highly unlikely unless Leuser holds some surprises), the species is still in perilous decline. The Sumatran rhino has suffered the same fate everywhere: deaths have outweighed births, and the population has slowly, but inevitably, fallen to zero. Females that don’t reproduce regularly soon develop tumors and may become unable to reproduce at all. Rhinos that are not captured now face the risk of a life of poaching, snares, and possible childlessness.The rhinos of BorneoThe death of Tam is about so much more than one individual. Tam is the last known male rhino of the Bornean subspecies (D. s. harrissoni). If no new males are found in Indonesian Borneo, then his death could well represent the extinction of a subspecies that split off some 300,000 years ago from the population on Sumatra. The Bornean rhino, the smallest on Earth, contains genetics and morphology distinct from any other.There are two known chances, though, of preserving at least some of this subspecies’ distinct genetics: Pahu and Iman, the last two remaining Bornean rhinos in captivity — but both female. Sadly, Iman is in perilous health and will likely never bear children, but she’s still producing viable eggs. Those eggs should be utilized: whether they are sent to Indonesia or sperm from Indonesia is sent to Sabah (as has been long requested) no longer matters. What matters is that it gets done and fast.Iman is now one of two remaining captive Sumatran rhinos in Borneo. A tumor in her uterus ruptured in 2017. Scientists don’t believe she can carry a baby to term, but her eggs could still be utilized. Photo courtesy of Sabah Wildlife Department.Tam’s sperm has also been preserved and could be used to attempt to impregnate Pahu, in Indonesian Borneo, or any of the female rhinos in Sumatra. But all of this depends on Malaysia and Indonesia working together — something they have failed to do over the last several decades, essentially dooming a number of opportunities to produce more babies. The Sumatran rhino has already suffered enough lost chances due to bureaucratic squabbling between the two countries.These animals’ eggs and sperm are tools we can employ to increase the chance of more births. And while Indonesia has long been reluctant to employ such methods, it’s time to start using all the tools in our possession.In the meantime, Pahu should be sent to the captive breeding facility in Sumatra and not wait for a male to be found in Kalimantan. If a male is found in Kalimantan — a really big if — it might take years to successfully capture him. If it’s not possible to send her, attempts should be made to artificially inseminate her with Tam’s or another male’s preserved sperm.Estimated to be around 25 years old, Pahu is no spring chicken in rhino years; her breeding chances may already be slim. We need to try breeding Pahu now if her Bornean genetics are to be preserved and if she’s to prove useful to the species.In 2012, stakeholders agreed to mix the Bornean and Sumatran subspecies in order to produce more rhinos. But seven years later, not one attempt has been made. Neither Tam or his sperm were ever sent to Sumatra where reproduction could have been attempted.Tam represents lost chances; Pahu should not.If later a Bornean male is captured, breeding can still be attempted.But let’s stop assuming the best-case scenario. Let’s assume the worst and act accordingly.My gentlemanAll day, I’ve been thinking back to my visit to Tabin to meet Tam, 10 years ago. Before I met him, Cynthia Ong, the head of local NGO Leap, had told me Tam was “very manja,” which meant sweet, cuddly, or lovingly spoiled. She compared him to an attention-needy house cat.I had a hard time imagining any rhino as such.But when I was brought to his pen, where he awaited lunch, he was so manja. He squeaked at me like a dolphin, sniffed me curiously, and nearly crushed my camera against the bars as he tried to rub against me. Although technically the Bornean rhino is the world’s smallest, Tam was still huge.Tam in 2009. Photo by Jeremy Hance.Last year, veterinarian Zainal Zahari Zainuddin described Tam to me as “a perfect gentleman” and told me the story of how a fly once got the better of Tam.Just before breakfast, one morning, Tam noticed a biting fly in his stall. In an attempt to dislodge it, he sent a spray of urine at the little insect and then waited outside a few minutes before entering his stall. But as the gentleman rhino walked inside, he noticed the urine had not deterred the fly: it was buzzing around. So the 620-kilogram (1,370-pound) megafauna ran away and hid in the forest.Tam was several hours late for breakfast that day.“That’s him … a proud big fellow, but scared of these biting flies,” Zainuddin laughed at the time.Tam wasn’t just a member of an endangered species or subspecies. He was an individual with his own personality. And his loss is a sad day for Sabah and the world. It’s also a warning.When I met Tam in 2009, experts said there were probably around 250 Sumatran rhinos left in the wild. They were wrong. They also said that Sabah might be home to 40 animals — also wrong.Let’s not spend another decade squabbling while the remaining animals disappear. Let’s do something. Let’s stop with the missed opportunities and shrugged-off chances. Let’s put aside national differences and egos and work together. Let’s act for Tam. While he never had children, it doesn’t mean he can’t have a legacy. Article published by Jeremy Hance Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Tony Gonzalez in Shannon Sharpe and Dan Marnio Out

Tony Gonzalez’s retirement from the Atlanta Falcons and the NFL, in essence, cost Shannon Sharpe and Dan Marino their jobs as studio analysts on CBS’ The NFL Today pregame show.The network confirmed that Gonzalez will be added to the team and Sharpe, the outspoken former tight end, and Marino, the Hall of Fame quarterback, would not return — a shakeup few saw coming.“Having just stepped off the playing field, Tony brings a fresh and insightful perspective,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said. “As a future Hall of Famer, we are excited for him to share his knowledge, experiences and opinions with our viewers. Tony was one of the most respected and hardworking players in the NFL and a tremendous teammate.“While we welcome Tony, we want to acknowledge Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe who have contributed greatly to the success of The NFL Today for more than a decade,” McManus said. “Dan and Shannon are true Hall of Famers on the field and in front of the camera. As they pursue other professional opportunities, we thank them for their hard work and dedication and wish them nothing but the best.”Sharpe, who had been with the network since 2004, was an outspoken voice who at times took bold stands or communicated in a direct fashion, making him a controversial figure at times.  One of the all-time great quarterbacks, Marino had been with CBS since 2002. He was often bland and nondescript in style.Gonzalez, meanwhile, with his chiseled jaw and keen communication skills, seems a natural for television. He will, however, be under major scrutiny for being at the heart of this major shakeup. read more

Christmas And New Year Greetings From Governor Peter Beckingham

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 24 Dec 2015 – A very happy Christmas to everyone in Turks and Caicos!It is tempting to start a message like this by saying that it has been another eventful year. I’m not sure that, for TCI and most of its residents, it has been any more or less significant than most years. We have, fortunately, escaped the worst of the tropical storms or hurricanes which hit some of our neighbours, and we have been untroubled by some of the traumatic and dreadful events which have hit, through international terrorism, the citizens of Paris and other cities. On a brighter note it was great to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Waterloo residence in Grand Turk, which is an outstanding example in the region of TCI’s history.So overall we can look back on a year which has seen TCI take a number of steps to strengthening its economy, its tourism and its international standing. By next March the economy will have improved enough for us to pay down most of the remainder of the loan guaranteed by the UK Government in 2010, and to secure a small loan from the commercial banks.Tourism continues to increase by leaps and bounds and 2015 saw TCI crowned by Trip Advisor as the world’s No.1 island destination. We are now the envy of many of our Caribbean neighbours with a growing air lift across the United States and Canada, with Fort Lauderdale and Chicago being two of the newest cities with direct flights. I’m sure many of us will benefit from the competitive air fares that these new routes bring. We should also not forget the valuable service provided domestically, and internationally, by our two domestic airlines.Growing alongside these developments we have also been able to enhance our own reputation internationally. Our tourism success is entirely dependent on our standing, and although there remains a worrying level of burglaries and aggravated robbery, and sadly some still unsolved murders, overall our security reputation is high. We wouldn’t get the number of tourist visitors if it wasn’t. Can I pay tribute here to the work of the police force; they sometimes have to put themselves in positions of danger to protect us.TCI’s international standing was also enhanced by the magnificent achievement of Delano Williams in winning a bronze medal as a member of Great Britain’s 4 x 4 men’s relay team at the World Athletic Championships in Beijing earlier this year. He is a great Ambassador for TCI, I have enjoyed meeting him, and appreciated his support for my wife Jill’s Footsteps4Good walk/run in Provo. We should all wish him well for the Olympics next year.We need to protect the reputation of our environment. The thousands of tourists who come here expect to see pristine beaches and clean surroundings. I would also like to acknowledge the work of NGOs and many individuals who give up their time to protecting and cleaning up our surroundings. Walking through some of the islands for Jill’s second fund raising event I was able to see what a beautiful environment we have, but how quickly it can be ruined by litter and debris.Finally, at Christmas, we should of course remind ourselves – in whatever way we see appropriate – of the message of Christmas, about sacrifice and giving. I was interested to hear our politicians, from both main parties, extolling the virtues of graciousness, peace and good will at the lovely Christmas tree lighting in Grand Turk this month. I hope that they, and all of us in Turks and Caicos, will remember those virtues – shown to us above all in the life of Jesus – throughout 2016.Jill and I look forward to seeing as many of you as we can again next year, and we wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas, and a blessed and prosperous New Year. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you Related Items:christmas message, governor peter beckingham New Prison Supt & Officer of the Year Awarded More motor mishaps; PDM Leader calls for Govt attention to illegal jitneys, again DR wants consulate office in TCIlast_img read more

Eight people displaced after apartment fire in El Cajon

first_img January 25, 2018 KUSI Newsroom KUSI Newsroom, Eight people displaced after apartment fire in El Cajon Posted: January 25, 2018 EL CAJON (KUSI) — A fire of unknown origin damaged an East County apartment building Thursday, leaving eight people in need of emergency shelter and causing an estimated $300,000 worth of monetary losses.The blaze in the 200 block of Jamacha Road in El Cajon erupted about 8:30 a.m., said Sonny Saghera, spokesman for Heartland Fire & Rescue.Everyone inside the structure was able to safely evacuate prior to the arrival of firefighters, Saghera said. It took the crews about eight minutes to subdue the flames.Though the personnel were able to confine the flames to a second-floor unit, the residence below it sustained water damage, Saghera said.The American Red Cross was called in to help the displaced residents — four adults and four children — arrange for interim housing.The cause of the fire was under investigation. Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more