Archive for January, 2013

Massacre of the Borneo Pygmy Elephants: Three more found dead; Authorities think the final count could be higher | The Borneo Insider

Joe is probably all that’s left of a herd estimated to be at least 20 in numbers, which used to roam the the Gunung Rara Forest, Tawau, as their happy hunting grounds. But as the planters moved in, they have found their space compromised. Worse still, late 2012 and early this year, almost the entire herd perished – at the hands of selfless murderers who must have poisoned them, to prevent the mammoths from causing damage to their plantations. Thirteen have so far been found dead.

via Massacre of the Borneo Pygmy Elephants: Three more found dead; Authorities think the final count could be higher | The Borneo Insider.

Poison spread by oil palm plantation workers !

They may have ingested poison spread by oil palm plantation workers to keep “pests” from eating the palm fruit, said Laurentius Ambu, wildlife department director of the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island. He warned that the elephants travel in herds numbering up to dozens and still more carcasses could turn up. “We are trying to comb more areas. My hunch is that there may be more,” he told AFP. “I don’t think it’s an accident.”

Ambu said three highly decomposed carcasses were found Wednesday in Sabah’s remote Gunung Rara Forest Reserve not far from where officials found the 10 other dead pygmy elephants, a rare sub-species of the Asian elephant. State officials Tuesday released photos of the original 10 pachyderms, including a heartbreaking shot of a baby elephant nuzzling its dead mother. The young elephant appears unharmed and has been taken to a wildlife park in the state, Ambu said.

A chemists’ report on the 10 dead animals would be completed next week and could reveal what killed them, he added. WWF-Malaysia says about 1,200 Borneo pygmy elephants, which are smaller and have more rounded features than full-sized Asian elephants, are estimated to be left in the wild. Activists say deforestation — for logging and to clear land for agriculture, especially palm oil plantations — severely threaten the habitat of the elephants and other endangered Borneo wildlife.

Borneo is a vast island shared by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. Its once-vast rain forests, considered among the world’s richest concentrations of biodiversity, are dwindling fast. Wild elephants have steadily been squeezed into smaller forested areas, giving rise to frequent confrontations with humans, but Ambu said the suspected poisoning incident is the first for Sabah. Poisoning is suspected due to severe ulceration and bleeding found in the animals’ digestive tracts, he said.

Dozens of wildlife officials, police and other personnel have been dispatched to comb through the Gunung Rara reserve for other possible victims. WWF-Malaysia in a statement blamed the deaths on rampant felling of forests by planters, which had forced elephants “to find alternative food and space, putting humans and wildlife in direct conflict”. “The central forest landscape in Sabah needs to be protected totally from conversions,” said executive director Dionysius S.K. Sharma. It also called for “frequent and large-scale patrolling” of forests to protect elephants, but admitted that was a “massive task” given the terrain and large areas involved.

Palm oil plantations are considered a major threat to rain forests in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia — sources of 85 percent of world palm oil supply. Palm oil represents about 35 percent of the global vegetable oil market. But its production is expected to soar due to its versatility, relatively high oil yields and economic importance to local communities.

More here

Photovoice – Method of Acquiring Data

KOTA KINABALU 30 January 2013 – Photovoice workshop was conducted for the first time in Sabah and perhaps in Malaysia by Dr. Paul Porodong and AP Dr. Kntayya Mariappan at Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s campus.

Photovoice is a method mostly used in the field of community development, public health, and education which combines photography with grassroots social action. Participants are asked to represent their community or point of view by taking photographs, discussing them together, developing narratives to go with their photos, and conducting outreach or other action.

It is often used among marginalized people, and is intended to give insight into how they conceptualize their circumstances and their hopes for the future. As a form of community consultation, photovoice attempts to bring the perspectives of those “who lead lives that are different from those traditionally in control of the means for imaging the world” into the policy-making process. It is also a response to issues raised over the authorship of representation of communities.

Photovoice, also known as Participatory Photography, was developed by Caroline C. Wang of the University of Michigan, and Mary Ann Burris, program officer for women’s health at the Ford Foundation, at the time headquartered in Beijing, China.

In 1992, Wang and Burris created “Photo Novella,” what is now known as Photovoice, as a way to enable rural women of Yunnan Province, China, to influence the policies and programs that affected them. They report being strongly influenced by the efforts of Nina Wallerstein and Edward Bernstein who had adapted the ideas of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed to health promotion and education. It has since been used among refugees in San Diego seeking in-person medical interpretation options, homeless adults in Ann Arbor, Michigan, community health workers and teachers in rural South Africa by Dr. Claudia Mitchell et al., and with brain injury survivors by Dr. Laura S. Lorenz of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Photovoice is often used as a tool to engage children and youth, giving them an opportunity to communicate their concerns and coping strategies to policymakers and service providers

Read More: HERE

Sudden Death of 10 Elephants at the Yayasan Sabah Concession Area

Tawau, Wednesday 29th January 2013 – 10 Bornean elephants were found dead within a space of two weeks at FMU 23, a Yayasan Sabah Concession area in the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve, some 130KM from Tawau. According to the Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department, Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu, the first report of the dead elephants was given on the 23rd January 2013. “We received the initial report that four elephants were found dead along the Luasong/Telupid logging road about 5km from the gates of Syarikat Empayar Kejora Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary company of Yayasan Sabah,” said Datuk Laurentius.

Read More:  Here

Applications are now available for the 2013 UNU-IAS Postdoctoral Programme

Every year UNU-IAS and UNU-ISP offer PhD and Postdoctoral Fellowships to provide young scholars and policymakers, especially from the developing world, with a multidisciplinarily context within which to pursue advanced research and training that are of professional interest to the successful applicant and of direct relevance to the research agenda of their selected UNU-IAS or UNU-ISP programme.

Applicants must have obtained a PhD (or at least successfully defended their doctoral dissertation), in an area broadly associated with the UNU-IAS thematic focus, prior to the application deadline. Language proficiency in English is essential. Applicants from developing countries and women are particularly encouraged to apply.

UNU-IAS Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded for a period of 12 months. The starting date of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme is 1 September. Successful applicants are required to be in Yokohama or Kanazawa by this date. Residency in Yokohama or Kanazawa for the full duration of the fellowship is required.

Fellows are provided with their own desk in a dedicated study room in the Institute, administrative support and desktop computing. Fellows have access to the UNU Library in Tokyo which includes an excellent collection of UN documents. They also have access via the UNU Library to various Japanese university libraries and computer databases. A limited range of other, more specialized computer hardware and software may also be available.

The fellowship provides a monthly stipend of JPY300,000- 360,000 (depending on experience) from which a monthly usage charge for accommodation is deducted (see below). A one-time-only settle-in-allowance of JPY 80,000 will be granted to each Fellow at the beginning of the programme for relocation, adjustment expenses, ground transportation and incidental costs. UNU-IAS provides Fellows with a return air ticket between his/her country of residence and Narita Airport. Settle-in-allowance and air tickets are, however, not provided for Fellows already residing in Japan before the commencement of the fellowship.

Eligibility for a second 12-month appointment may be considered based on the Fellow’s performance.

For more info visit: HERE.

Displaced indigenous Malaysians face uncertain future | OurWorld 2.0

Vast amounts of the rainforest that once covered Peninsular Malaysia have been cut or burnt down for commercial purposes. The country is the world’s second highest producer of palm oil, following Indonesia, and also a major global trader in the timber and rubber industries. Driving across the country one is confronted with a distressing sight — the destruction of a once beautiful landscape.

Many Orang Asli, the indigenous peoples of Malaysia who make their homes within the forest, have been relocated to make way for development and continue to pursue a long and constant battle for land rights. They are resettled in rural and semi-rural locations, or placed on the outskirts of larger cities, where they are encouraged to integrate into mainstream society, often unprepared for the difficulties in doing so.

Read More: HERE.

Mangsee Island

MANGSEE ISLAND, Balabac, Palawan—It will take just about the time to smoke a stick of cigarette to get into Malaysian waters on a twin-engine speed boat.

Given less than a pack, and it will get you to Kudat City in Sabah.Here in Mangsee, the locals live on oodles of smuggled Malaysian food and supplies which are openly traded in village stores or shipped to Zamboanga City. Getting these from across the maritime border is easier than obtaining them elsewhere.There is something about isolation that accounts for the way its inhabitants live—a sort of controlled chaos amid a sea of uncertainty and opportunity—in the least accessible and arguably most ungoverned of Philippine remote islands.Mangsee is a 23-hectare islet in the middle of the Sulu Sea, closer to Sabah, Malaysia, than to the southernmost Palawan town of Balabac where it belongs administratively.

Read More: HERE.