February 7, 2021Lu Shegay & Zihao Yu

Endangered Siamese Crocodile in Rare Sighting at Thai National Park

Source: phys.org

January 23, 2021

The critically endangered Siamese crocodile has been spotted for only the second time in a decade at Thailand's largest national park. National park officials estimate only about 20 remain in the wild because of hunting and habitat loss, but on Saturday the nature reserve shared a rare spot of good news. The crocodile — never seen before by officials — was captured by cameras slithering out of the water, before it parked itself on the river bank open-jawed under the sun.

Commentaries of IALA

The Siamese crocodile is a species of crocodiles native to Indonesia, Brunei, East Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. This species is listed as Critically Endangered under IUCN Red List and is considered one of the least studied and most critically endangered crocodilians in the world. Siamese crocodiles are threatened by habitat degradation due to the conversion of wetlands for agriculture, chemical fertilizers, poaching, the use of pesticides, the increased population of cattle. They are also illegally caught to supply farms, fishing nets, and traps.

Historically, they have been hunted for skins, for example, in Cambodia. In modern times, Cambodia developed the Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Programme to protect and recover Siamese crocodiles.

In Thailand, Pang Side National Park established the project of reintroducing Siamese crocodiles in the wild.

Also, the Wildlife Conservation Society is working with the government of Laos on developing a new program to save Siamese crocodiles and their habitat.

Simba Becomes Singapore’s First Lion Cub Born via Artificial Insemination

Source: france24.com

January 26, 2021

The Singapore Zoo has welcomed a lion cub named Simba to its animal kingdom following artificial insemination. Singapore’s new cub, named after the main character in Disney’s “The Lion King”, was conceived with semen from an elderly African lion. Simba, who was born in October, is being cared for by his mother Kayla and zookeepers, and is “healthy and inquisitive”, officials said.

Commentaries of IALA

The main threats to lions are indiscriminate killing and prey base depletion, habitat loss and conversion, and trophy hunting. The first artificial insemination used to breed lions was successful in 2018 in South Africa, which is regarded as "another tool in our conservation box" that could keep the lion population going. “Wild lion populations have plunged 43 percent in the past 20 years. Technology might be vital to keeping the species going.”

Learn more about lions here.

30 Slow Lorises Reportedly Kept as ‘Pets’ Are Rescued and Released Back Into the Rainforest in Indonesia

Source: worldanimalnews.com

January 26, 2021

A team of conservationists has reintroduced 30 Javan slow lorises back into their rainforest home in Indonesia. Mount Halimun Salak National Park (TNGHS) carried out the release operation, along with the Center for Natural Resources Conservation (BKSDA) and International Animal Rescue (IAR) Indonesia.

Ahmad Munawir, Head of the TNGHS Office, said that the release of rehabilitated animals and conflict animals in Mount Halimun Salak National Park has become one of the most important programs in terms of saving wildlife. The slow loris is one of the wild animals that are vital to maintaining the balance of the ecosystem in the park. The release area has an ecosystem considered suitable as a place for the preservation and protection of slow lorises in terms of area security, availability of food and shade, habitat carrying capacity, and the level of predator threats. The hope is that with this release, the slow lorises can reproduce and thrive.

Commentaries of IALA

The Javan slow loris is a species native to the western and central parts of Java island, Indonesia. Their population is decreased by poaching, exotic pet trade, traditional medicine, use as pets. This species is recognized as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List and listed in Appendix I of CITES. This species was also included in the list of the World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates. However, despite the rapid decline in the population and the prohibition of trade, they are still threatened by human activities.

Perfect Day Launches Asia’s First Animal-Free Dairy Ice Cream in Hong Kong

Source: scmp.com

January 26, 2021

Perfect Day, a San Francisco-based company, partners with Hong Kong’s Igloo Dessert Bar, a Hong Kong ice cream maker, to launch an animal-free dairy variety of the dessert - vegan ice cream, the first time such a product has been launched in Asia. The ice cream uses whey protein developed by fermentation from the gene sequence of bovine whey protein, which is identical at the molecular level to the dairy protein found in cow milk. Besides, no animal product is used in the manufacturing process, it added.

According to Larvina Wong, co-founder of Igloo Dessert Bar said developing vegan ice took two months for the benefits of the more environmentally friendly ice cream.

Commentaries of IALA

The Asia-Pacific accounted for more than two-fifths of the global vegan ice cream market in 2018. Companies that develop plant-based meat alternatives, such as Beyond Meat, are gaining traction in Asia, with consumers becoming more environmentally and health-conscious. Some people choose veganism for protecting animals. Learn more about the truth behind the dairy industry here.

It’s Not Too Late to Save the Philippine Pangolin

Source: news.mongabay.com

January 27, 2021

In a study published last December in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation, researchers conducting a comprehensive survey found that Philippine pangolins (Manis culionensis) have been spotted in 17 of the 24 municipalities in Palawan, the island province that’s the only place on Earth where this species occurs. Similar comprehensive surveys assessing locals’ knowledge of pangolins, done in West Africa for the giant pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) and in China and Vietnam for the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), show that locals strongly believe that their pangolin species are extinct: sightings are rare or non-existent.

Local conservationists also link an increase in Chinese projects in the Philippines to the growing demand for pangolin meat in restaurants in Manila catering to the influx of Chinese workers and visitors. In a span of two years, Philippine pangolins became one of the most trafficked species in the country, pushing them to critically endangered status both on the IUCN and the national red lists.

Commentaries of IALA

The Philippine pangolin is a species of pangolins native to Palawan, the Philippines. One of the main threats to the Philippine pangolins, like to many other wild animals, is hunting. Apart from their meat that is considered a delicacy in some Asian cultures, they are hunted for using their body parts in traditional medicine. In 2016, CITES banned the export of pangolin parts, and currently, this species is listed under Appendix I of CITES. This species is also recognized as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List. The Zoological Society of London also listed this pangolin as an EDGE species.

According to a recent report by TRAFFIC, conservationists think that there is no exact number of how many Philippine pangolins are left in the world.

Animal Trap That Snares Dog on Hong Kong Hillside Sparks Police Investigation

Source: scmp.com

January 29, 2021

A mongrel was found with its left leg caught in the trap on a Hong Kong hillside, and police have launched a criminal investigation to track down the person who set up an animal trap that snared the dog. According to the members from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), the male adult dog was found to have a minor injury on its left hind leg, and the animal was taken for treatment before being handed back to the owner. Police have classified the case as animal cruelty and are investigating whether the trap was set up to catch wild animals; no one has been arrested yet because the possibility “the trap was set up to catch wild animals” had not been ruled out.

Commentaries of IALA

In Hong Kong, the anti-cruelty law is based on the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, Cap. 169. Animal includes any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, or any other vertebrate or invertebrate whether wild or tame. The following actions are prohibited: cruelly beats, kicks, ill-treats, over-rides, over-drives, overloads, tortures, infuriates, or terrifies any animal, or causes or procures or, being the owner, permits any animal to be so used, or, by wantonly or unreasonably doing or omitting to do any act, causes any unnecessary suffering or, being the owner, permits any unnecessary suffering to be so caused to any animal. (Article 3 (1)(a)) Any person who cruelly treats animals shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of $200,000 and to imprisonment for 3 years.

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