Saturday, September 21, 2019

Animals Too Suffer from the Haze

The choking haze caused by unbridled forest fires that is strangling countries in South-east Asia, notably Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, has caused misery to their populace. 

And that includes animals too.

On September 17, 2019, animal welfare group Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation reported that the haze has affected hundreds of apes in their rescue centers. 

"The thick smoke does not only endanger the health of our staff... but also it affects the 355 orangutans we currently care for", the foundation said. 

And about 37 orangutans have contracted mild respiratory infections from breathing in the severely polluted air. 

Reticulated pythons (Scientific name: Malayopython reticulatus), native to South and Southeast Asia, are also victims. 

On September 13, locals dragged out their dead bodies at a forest in Baamang Tengah in central Kalimantan, Indonesia. They had been burnt to death – their carcasses, measuring up to 10-metre long and 20-centimetre in diameter, were found by local residents fighting forest fires, according to animal welfare group CAN Borneo. 

The Facebook post revealed that pythons of this size are able to swallow goats and cows. And some of the reptiles were even found with their mouths wide open, leading one to imagine what painful and undeserving deaths they had endured. 

Similar sights were also encountered in Kota Samuda in central Kalimantan. 

This is a tragedy. 

On Thursday, I was at the EcoWorld @ BBCC Toastmasters meeting – and I was tasked to be an evaluator for an ice-breaker speech. 

But I was beaming with pride for Alicia Wong when she finally completed her tenth speech from the Competent Communication manual. Two years earlier, I had the privilege to listen to her maiden speech and how she struggled then. 

Today, she is a pillar of pluckiness, a column of confidence, an obelisk of true grit. I salute her because I admire her chutzpah.

Indeed, she is truly fully deserving of her CC title! Congratulations!

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