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Friday, December 8, 2017

An overview of the mammals of Borneo and the specialized ecology of the Bornean Clouded Leopard.

An overview of the mammals of Borneo and the specialized ecology of the Bornean Clouded Leopard.

Talk by Quentin Phillips

Date Thursday 7 Dec 2017
Time: 7.30-9.30 pm
Venue Islamic Information Centre

A short biography is as follows;
Quentin was born in 1951 in Sandakan, Sabah  where his father  worked in the timber business. Later the family who were all interested in natural history  moved to Kota Kinabalu and Quentin became an avid birdwatcher as well as keeping many different wild mammals as pets.  Quentins' sister Karen is a professional wildlife artist and together they have produced two best selling Field Guides to the birds and mammals of Borneo.

Its foc and open to public. 

Please register before 7 Dec to mnskuching@gmail.com

See you there,
Cynthia Lobato 
MNSKB Committee

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Talk on Vulnerability of Beaches in Malaysia

Dear members and friends,

We are happy to announce that the postponed talk will be now on 30 Nov .

Come and listen to this interesting Talk and find out about our marine environment in Lundu, Kuching and Miri - are our coasts are eroding, are corals and reefs dying?

Beaches are at the interface of terrestrial and marine environments, facing threats from both directions. Identifying these threats are priority of the Malaysian National Plan of Action (NPOA) on the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CCF), which is partly to achieve Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) measures. The assessments cconducted by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak students since the year 2011 utilises semi-quantitative scientific benchmarks called the Coastal Integrity Vulnerability Assessment Tool (CIVAT).

During the Talk, we will highlight the coastal vulnerability of beaches surrounding Lundu, Kuching, Miri and selected turtle nesting beaches in Peninsular Malaysia. We further demonstrate robustness of the tool, and how such important assessments can be done through citizen science by the use of supplementary data such as shoreline tracing, or historical and existing research literature and socio-economic questionnaires. It is a powerful tool enabling education, outreach, and preliminary decision-making.

Until today, there are limited studies of the vulnerability of beaches in Malaysia with the aim of localised solutions for climate change adaptation whilst empowering local communities. It is important to continue such assessments to address sustainable development efforts in the face of current and future pressures.

Topic: Vulnerability of Beaches in Malaysia

By: Dr Aazani Mujahid from Faculty of Resource Science and Technology, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

Date: Thursday 30 Nov 2017
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Islamic Information Centre ( Lower Baruk)
Jalan Ong Tiang Swee, Kuching
Cost: Free of Charge. You may walk in and bring your friends

Registration: MNSKB Members, please register with Secretariat at

Cynthia Lobato

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Talk on "Illegal Trade of Sun Bears in Malaysia-How To Save Sun Bears From Extinction in Malaysia

Dear Members 

Talk on Illegal Trade of Sun Bears in Malaysia - how to save Sun Bears from extinction in our country.
Dr Wong Siew Te is a Malaysian wildlife biologist and sun bear expert. He holds a Diploma in Animal Science and Veterinary from National Pingtung University of Science and Technology. Pingtung, Taiwan, B. Sc., M. Sc., and Ph. D. majoring in Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana,  USA. 
Dr Wong is the Chief Executive Officer and the founder of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah,  which he founded in 2008. 
Dr. Wong has been recognized and awarded for  his work on sun bears, including being honoured as  a wildlife hero featured in the book, “Wildlife Heroes” in 2012.
He was  conferred “Member-Order of the Defender of State in Penang in 2014, and was   recognized as“My Country Hero” by the Government of Malaysia and awarded  CNN Hero in 2017.
 Registration: MNSKB Members, please register with Secretariat at mnskuching@gmail.com
Date:Thursday 19 October 2017
Time: 7.30-9.30 pm
Venue: Islamic Information Centre (Lower Baruk)

Cynthia Lobato
Committee Membe

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Film evening

Dear Members and Friends,

We are pleased to announce that MNSKB will be holding a film evening on Saturday, 7 October at the Islamic Centre from 7 to 9:30pm. To register to attend this evening of films, reply to this email, mnskuching@gmail.com

Come and enjoy and learn more about the powers of nature.

Love Life
Love Nature

Powerful Tools: Films

Day / Date: Saturday, 7 October 2017
Time: 7pm to 9:30pm
Venue: Islamic Centre, Jalan Ong Tiang Swee, Kuching

The Goethe –Institute of Malaysia in collaboration with Ministry of Education, Schulen, German-Malaysian Institute, Malaysian Nature Society, Pasch Schools, and The Association of Science, Technology and Innovation put together a large number of award winning films on nature and issues that surround it. The films entertain, educate and extend messages about the natural world. They capture the beauty and power of nature, together with threats.

About the Films
Three German productions, of the 20 award winning films, will be shown in Kuching. The films are aimed at the upper secondary level and up to adults.

Biomaterials – Patented Solutions directed by Jakob Kneser, highlights the amazing properties of the complex structures produced by nature that have technical applications.

Rare Earths directed by Christian Schidlowski, asks questions about the future of rare earths. These are basic materials needed for the production of today’s green technologies such as solar panels.  

Wild Germany – The Chiemsee directed by Jan Hatt, is about Bavaria’s largest lake, its history and the sensitivity of the cycles of nature to man’s interventions.  

Show Schedule

7pm: Biomaterials – Patented Solutions and Rare Earths
8:15: Biomaterials – Patented Solutions and Wild Germany – The Chiemsee

To register for this evening of films, reply to this email at  mnskuching@gmail.com.

See you at the movies.

Love life
Love nature

Thursday, September 21, 2017

There is so much rubbish!

The clean-up
Saturday, May 20, 2017 dawned brightly, with a promise of a clear, but hot day - that it was – for all the volunteers from Kuching and farther abroad, as well as for the villagers of Kampung Bako, who had joined Kuching North City Council’s (DBKU) clean-up of this coastal village.   
Approximately 50 Malaysian Nature Society Kuching Branch (MNSKB) volunteers, and others from Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), joined those of the organiser DBKU, including the Deputy Director, Haji Hasbi Suhaili, along with another 50 people from Kampung Bako to gather rubbish from the lanes of this village.  
Visitors normally head straight to the Bako National Park, a 30-minute boat trip, without visiting this potentially attractive village nestled along the edges of the smaller channels of the Bako River as it empties into the South China Sea.
Volunteers were split into teams, each with a village leader, and then headed off, armed with gloves, tongs and multiple bags for the rubbish. Most areas around homes had been cleaned so the crews set to work picking up rubbish along the lanes.
In all honesty, picking up other people’s rubbish is not fun; but the team spirit among diverse individuals and the common goal, a cleaner Sarawak, kept us going. As the gigantic biodegradable rubbish bags filled, they were left at wharfs along the river to be collected.

DBKU has, in the past, organised clean ups of many coastal villages, including Bako and MNSKB participated in this one under its 5-year initiative, Trash2Gather.
Ms Alcila Abby, MNSKB committee member and beach cleaner, is the will behind Trash2Gather. It began when Alcila, along with a few friends, decided to clean the beaches cleaning around Lundu.
 “I started 3 years ago in 2013 and each time I went out with my team of volunteers, I got about 100kg of rubbish, mostly plastic off the beaches.” said Alcila on November 16, 2016, when she spoke enthusiastically during a Wednesday evening session of ShareMyPassion - a free weekly talk in Kuching.
“I believe that we need to start someplace and cleaning beaches was a good idea. We didn’t have any support and I bought gloves and bags with my pocket money.” Unfortunately, cleaning beaches and other coastal areas is an endless task because rubbish – plastic bottles and bags, Styrofoam packaging, and sofas . . .  – come and go with the tides as they rise and fall each day and often visitors leave their rubbish behind. Litter thrown along the streets is likely to end up in drains, which then empty into the rivers and then into the sea and this adds to the problems.
Costs that come with using waterways, either intentionally or unintentionally, as landfill sites can be high and varied. Horrific pictures of sea animals starving to death is one of them. Examples include the gigantic leatherback turtles, ancient riders of the waves, which see plastic bags and mistake them for jellyfish, their favourite food. Albatross chicks have succumbed because they mistake bits of plastic for edible sea life.  But plastic also presents less easily understood threats to people, animals and the environment.
Floating plastic, which is mostly small, becomes concentrated in in 'convergence zones' or ocean gyres found in all oceans – Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and covers wide areas.
Scientists have found evidence that microplastics (pieces <5mm and="" are="" being="" chain="" fish.="" food="" guts="" in="" incorporated="" into="" it="" of="" remains="" span="" style="mso-spacerun: yes;" that="" the="">  Not only does the consumption of plastic accumulate in the food chain, but it can lead to a sickly population and reduces the quantity of activity.  
Although plastic is considered to be an unchangeable or inert material, additives that are added to adjust the properties of the mater are not. These chemicals have been linked to hormonal imbalance, and have negatively affected the function of organs such as the kidneys and liver. In addition, some have been linked to cancers.
Other costs associated with debris include loss of income to the tourism industry, along with marine-related industries such as fishing and shipping. Most countries, including Malaysia, have in place the legal framework and systems to deal with refuse and its collection.

Disposing of Rubbish
The Trash2Gather initiative also aims to increase understanding of the legal framework and understanding of how for rubbish is disposed of. Thus, two talks; the first by Mr Peter Sawal, Controller of the National Resources and Environment Board (NREB), on 19 April 2017, and the second by Senior Executive (Business Development, Scheduled Waste), Mr Timothy Marimuthu, and Department Manager for Corporate and Social Responsibility, Ms Janet Balong of Trienekens (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd. on 5 May 2017.
Mr Peter shocked the full house with these facts:
·            2187 metric tons of waste are produced each day;
·            1.3 billion metric tons of waste are produced each year:
·            40% of the waste is organic and could likely be composted;
·            16% and 19% of rubbish are plastic and paper respectively;
·            on average that each person in Kuching produces 1.2 kg each day;
·            more waste than those in the rural areas.

Are you stunned by the staggering amount of rubbish produced each day or year? He noted that although NREB deals with the legal framework it does not collect or dispose of the rubbish.

Landfill Sites
Trienekens (Sarawak) Sdn. Bhd. currently collects municipal waste from residential and commercial areas in DBKU, MBKS, Padawan Municipal Council (MPP), and some areas under the Serian District Council. These wastes are disposed of at the Kuching Integrated Waste Management Park (KIWMP), at the Level 4 category sanitary landfill site in Sarawak.
The lowest, Level 1, sanitary landfill system is where wastes are dumped in the landfill in a controlled way. A Level 2 landfill site is surrounded by a bank and the refuse is covered each day by soil. Level 3 sanitary landfill is an improved version of Level 2, as it has leachate (liquid from the decomposing waste in the landfill) collection and recirculation systems. Level 4 sanitary landfill, like the one at the KIWMP, is equipped with leachate treatment facilities. The KIWMP sanitary landfill is also equipped with methane gas collection system which Trienekens harvest as renewable source of energy for its facility.
Mr Timothy described the systems at KIWMP are designed to  prevent contamination of the environment by the waste management and disposal systems. He shared that the sanitary landfill cells are equipped with multilayers liners to prevent leachate from contaminating the precious underground water resources. The leachate wastewater is then collected and treated at the leachate treatment plant which is monitored 24 hours a day. This process follows all the environmental lawas and regulations. The water is discharged once it is safe to do so.

Trienekens, currently, does not recycle rubbish on site, they do encourage the 5Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle, repair and refuse – through awareness activities with schools and other organisations. It runs recycling programmes with several schools in Kuching.
Sarawak, unlike many states in Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, and other places around the world, has not yet implemented laws that require all waste be separated at source (where it is produced). This type of law once implemented, would allow recyclable material such as paper, plastic and tins, to be collected at the door.  
But there are many ways that we can make recycling a part of our lives. But, we  need to be proactive and shoulder the responsibility. Who can forget the vans that circulate calling, “Old newspapers” in Malay and Mandarin? Some shopping centres have labelled bins for plastics, glass and paper; so, it is possible to use these. The Kuching city councils – DBKU, MBKS and MPP – have programs in place to enable recycling in their neighbourhoods.
However, one overwhelming effective way to reduce the amount of plastic waste is to say no to plastic. Use shopping bags and stick small items you purchase into your backpack or handbag. Bring your own container for takeaway food and carry chopsticks or forks and spoons – so as to avoid the waste of disposable utensils.
I think it would be useful to now consider the amount of rubbish produced in your household each week and how it is gotten rid of. Do you put out bins that are overflowing, or do you put out partially empty bins? How can we reduce the amount of waste? Can we take recycable materials to the collection sites; sell old newspaper; repair or reuse items? Can vegetable matter and food waste be decomposed and used as fertilizer in your garden?
Decide on one action that you could take to reduce the amount of rubbish and then act on it.
It is easy to believe that one person has no effect on the environment. But, there are over 7 billion people on the Earth. If we each took one small step, wouldn’t the positive effect on the environment not be tremendous?  We are part of the solution.