About UsHomeIssuesOrganizationsSolutionsBlogJoin ADVOCASEA
HomeRegional WorkshopNewsContact usJoin ADVOCASEA

Issues

Overexploitation
Over-harvesting of animals and plants is the harm caused by overexploitation of species. For example, overfishing does not only affect individual fishing communities and threaten certain fish species, but causes imbalances in the whole marine system. As human life depends on the existence of a functioning planet Earth, careful and thoughtful use of wildlife species and their habitats is required to avoid not only extinctions, but serious disturbances to the complex web of life.

Suffering Unseen

Hose's civets are blackish-brown, with a long body and short legs. Its underparts are greyish or yellowish-white. As they are very elusive animals, the exact status of Hose's civets is uncertain. It is likely, however, that they have been adversely impacted by human activity such as logging throughout their range. Low population densities could make them vulnerable to the region-wide habitat loss and degradation associated with logging and development. Because of this, the IUCN has listed them as Vulnerable. In Sarawak, Malaysia, they are listed as protected.

Nationally Extirpated

Several larger-bodied mammals have been nationally extirpated through over-hunting including the Javan Rhinoceros, with no confirmed sightings in the Cardamoms or Cambodia since the 1980's and the Indochinese tiger, which was declared functionally extinct in Cambodia in 2016. The Indochinese leopard was found to have declined in abundance by 72% between 2009 and 2014 in the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary, Eastern Cambodia, most probably due to widespread snare hunting, and is now under threat of national extirpation. In 2000, of the 67 mammal species recorded in the Cardamom mountains, 26 were threatened or near-threatened according to the IUCN Red list, with the greatest threat coming from commercial hunting.

Displaced Orang Utans

Between 2013 and 2018, authorities in Aceh, which is home to the Leuser Ecosystem, one of the last great orangutan habitats left on Earth, seized 40 of the apes that were being kept as pets. The practice of taking young orangutans from the wild nearly always involves the poachers killing the mothers. Conservationists also say there needs to be a halt to forest-clearing activities to stop orangutans from being pushed out of their habitats. They also say forests that have already been degraded need to be restored and protected, so that rescued orangutans deemed ready for release back into the wild can have a new home safe from human threats. “Degraded forests should be immediately restored instead of converting them into oil palm plantations, so that wildlife habitats aren’t reduced,” said Teuku Muhammad Zulfikar, a coordinator at the NGO Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL).

Issue Title 37

The organisation’s early concerns, which remain central for BirdLife today, included the protection of migrating birds, the identification and protection of the areas where birds congregate in large numbers, and the most important sites for threatened birds.

Shrinking Habitats

Seabirds typically nest in colonies on islands, islets and cays, often with several species utilising the same area. Many former seabird breeding sites in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, have been diminished or destroyed, primarily due to habitat destruction and development as a result of rapidly growing human populations that rely primarily on coastal and marine economies.
Illegal Wildlife Trade
Illegal wildlife trade involves the exchange or sale of wild animals or plant resources. This can include live animals and plants, animal body parts such as skins, scales and feathers, and any product made from or including a wild animal or plant. It is devastating wildlife species across the globe and thus negatively impacting various areas of life. This illicit trade is considered as a large business operated by dangerous international networks and is trafficked much like illegal drugs and arms. Due to its very nature, it is extremely challenging to obtain accurate reporting for the value of the illegal wildlife trade. TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network estimates that it runs into billions of dollars.

The Forest Farmer in Trouble

The helmeted hornbill, one of 57 hornbill species in Africa and Asia, is found only in the lowland forests of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, southern Thailand. Hornbills are vital to the survival of Southeast Asia’s forests. As “farmers of the forest,” they disperse seeds by regurgitating or defecating them, helping to replenish trees over several square miles. It’s an especially important task now, given how much primary forest has been cleared by commercial enterprises. Widespread logging also is reducing habitat for Asian hornbill species and threatening their ability to nest.

Save our Tigers

Most declining tiger populations are threatened primarily by habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching and wildlife trade, declining prey base and human-tiger conflict.

Issue Title 16

Climate change, wildlife protection and environmental issues in general both locally and internationally.*

Issue Title 17

The Cardamom Rainforest Landscape is a critical part of the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot which supports populations of >55 IUCN Threatened species of vertebrates and serves as the region’s most important watershed, climate regulator and carbon sink.

Issue Title 27

SPS began as a response to a large-scale illegal wildlife trade case dubbed in the media as the “rape of the Philippine Seas.”
Wildlife in Captivity
Hundreds of thousands of wild animals are kept in captivity in zoos, safari parks and marine parks throughout the world, many living in the most appalling conditions, with no enrichment or stimulation, causing both physical and psychological suffering. Change For Animals Foundation maintains that the keeping of wildlife in captivity for the purposes of entertainment is not ethically justifiable, and is committed to raising awareness of the plight of these animals, whilst lobbying for the strengthening of laws to safeguard the welfare of wildlife in captivity.

Tiny Bears in Great Danger

Malaysia is a known source and consumer of bear bile products in Asia, and sun bears are persistently poached to meet the demand for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Surveys of TCM outlets in the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak were conducted in 2018 and 2019 as part of continuing efforts to monitor the availability of bear bile products in the country. Despite being illegal, the trade in bears and their parts persists, although with fewer TCM outlets offering such products in comparison to numbers reported in previous studies. In 2012, 42% of TCM outlets in Sabah and 35.4% in Sarawak were found to contain bear bile products. The threat of illegal trade, combined with loss and degradation of suitable habitat and food resources as well as conflict with humans, puts sun bears at considerable risk.

Suffering Unseen

Hose's civets are blackish-brown, with a long body and short legs. Its underparts are greyish or yellowish-white. As they are very elusive animals, the exact status of Hose's civets is uncertain. It is likely, however, that they have been adversely impacted by human activity such as logging throughout their range. Low population densities could make them vulnerable to the region-wide habitat loss and degradation associated with logging and development. Because of this, the IUCN has listed them as Vulnerable. In Sarawak, Malaysia, they are listed as protected.

Issue Title 37

The organisation’s early concerns, which remain central for BirdLife today, included the protection of migrating birds, the identification and protection of the areas where birds congregate in large numbers, and the most important sites for threatened birds.

Poached to Extinction

The threats that gibbons are facing from habitat degradation are strongly exacerbated by pressure from the flourishing illegal wildlife trade for pets, entertainment, and traditional medicine. All but one species of gibbon are now listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered on IUCN's Red List, and without targeted conservation efforts several species of gibbons may face imminent extinction.

Issue Title 67

Exploitation of wild animals.*
Incidental Killings
Incidental killing of non-target species, such as dolphins and seabirds, when they are caught in fishing gear. It is estimated that over a quarter of the global marine fisheries catch is incidental, unwanted, and discarded. Incidental killing of animals also happens on land when crude traps are set (for example, for musk deer or duikers). These cause damage and death to a variety of animals besides the intended ones.

An Extinction Crisis

In the jungles of southwest Vietnam, a lone rhino once wandered. She was the last of her subspecies and this was her home. The last rhino spent her days roaming across thousands of hectares, a much wider range thought natural for these herbivores. But then again, she had the run of the place. There were creeks and rivers where she could wallow and there was plenty of food. But one day, a hunter peered at her through the sights of a semi-automatic weapon — and pulled the trigger. As that gunshot cracked out in echoes across the forest, the extinction of the Javan rhinos in Vietnam was sealed.

Nationally Extirpated

Several larger-bodied mammals have been nationally extirpated through over-hunting including the Javan Rhinoceros, with no confirmed sightings in the Cardamoms or Cambodia since the 1980's and the Indochinese tiger, which was declared functionally extinct in Cambodia in 2016. The Indochinese leopard was found to have declined in abundance by 72% between 2009 and 2014 in the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary, Eastern Cambodia, most probably due to widespread snare hunting, and is now under threat of national extirpation. In 2000, of the 67 mammal species recorded in the Cardamom mountains, 26 were threatened or near-threatened according to the IUCN Red list, with the greatest threat coming from commercial hunting.
Animal Poaching
"Animal poaching" is when an animal is killed illegally. It usually occurs when an animal possesses something that is considered valuable (i.e. the animal’s fur or ivory).

At the Brink of Disappearance

During a patrol, the Sre Ambel Station rangers recently confiscated seven live monkeys, 16 turtles and two kilograms of monkey meat, according to a Wildlife Alliance Facebook post. The wildlife was likely heading for a restaurant or the pet trade, the Facebook post explained on March 18. With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) believed to have originated in a wildlife and wet market in the city of Wuhan in China, it was expected that illegal wildlife trade would decrease in view of the pandemic triggered by COVID-19. But this does not seem to have been the case. “If anything, we are noticing an increase in poaching and smuggling, rather than the much hoped-for decrease that everyone was expecting,” Suwanna Gauntlett, CEO and Founder of Wildlife Alliance, said on May 19. “Our Wildlife Alliance rangers on ground are witnessing more poachers coming into the forest with guns and snares,” she said. The main hotspot is the Vietnam border, which also has a high-level of illegal deforestation and poaching, she added.

Endangered Gentle Giants

Thai elephants have been highly praised and nationally proclaimed throughout history, but very little has been done to protect them. The threats against Thai elephants come only from human exploitation. Direct threats include poaching for ivory and elephant calves, and illegal logging or roaming the city streets for money. Indirect threats involve mismanagement and shortsighted policies, such as deforestation for agriculture, industrial plantations, dams or road constructions and commercialization of the forest reserve areas.

An Extinction Crisis

In the jungles of southwest Vietnam, a lone rhino once wandered. She was the last of her subspecies and this was her home. The last rhino spent her days roaming across thousands of hectares, a much wider range thought natural for these herbivores. But then again, she had the run of the place. There were creeks and rivers where she could wallow and there was plenty of food. But one day, a hunter peered at her through the sights of a semi-automatic weapon — and pulled the trigger. As that gunshot cracked out in echoes across the forest, the extinction of the Javan rhinos in Vietnam was sealed.

Most Endangered Primates

Golden-headed langur or Cat Ba Langur, belongs to the subfamily of the leaf-eating monkeys, which exists only on Cat Ba Island of Vietnam. This subspecies is probably the most endangered species of the Asian colobines and has the smallest distribution among the langur species. Cat Ba langurs are classified as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List and listed as the world’s 25 most endangered primates from 2000 to 2012. Poaching for traditional medicine and bush meat has been the main cause leading to small, isolated subpopulations and low population numbers. As a result of hunting, langur population was dramatically declined from approximately 2,400 – 2,700 in the 1960s to only 52 - 54 individuals in 2001, and most of the groups are already in reproductive isolation with no opportunity to exchange group members.

Poached to Extinction

The threats that gibbons are facing from habitat degradation are strongly exacerbated by pressure from the flourishing illegal wildlife trade for pets, entertainment, and traditional medicine. All but one species of gibbon are now listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered on IUCN's Red List, and without targeted conservation efforts several species of gibbons may face imminent extinction.
Waste Disposal
It’s easy to throw something in a trash can. We don’t usually think about our local landfills unless complaining about the smell when we drive by them, but the average person generates 4.6 pounds of trash per day. This trash ends up in two places. It’s in landfills or it ends up in environmental habitats and the ocean. Waste disposal poses a threat to not only the Earth and its environment but humans as well. When waste is in the ocean, the ocean dwellers mistake it for food or get tangled up in it. When waste is disposed of via burning or nuclear, it emits hazardous toxins in the air, which people breathe in. People can limit this crisis by reducing the amount of waste. By choosing to use products that can be recycled or placed in a compost pile, every household can reduce their waste.
Overpopulation
Human population continues to grow rapidly worldwide. Humanity entered the 20th century with 1.6 billion people; right now, we're about 7.5 billion. Estimates put us at nearly 10 billion by 2050. Growing global populations, combined with growing affluence, is putting ever greater pressure on essential natural resources, like water. Most of the growth is happening on the African continent, and in southern and eastern Asia.
Soil Degradation
Overgrazing, monoculture planting, erosion, soil compaction, overexposure to pollutants, land-use conversion - there's a long list of ways that soils are being damaged. About 12 million hectares of farmland a year get seriously degraded, according to UN estimates.
Deforestation
On land, wild animals are being hunted to extinction for bushmeat, ivory, or "medicinal" products. At sea, huge industrial fishing boats equipped with bottom-trawling or purse-seine nets clean out entire fish populations. The loss and destruction of habitat are also major factors contributing to a wave of extinction - unprecedented in that it is caused by a single species: humans. The IUCN's Red List of threatened and endangered species continues to grow. Not only do species inherently deserve to exist, they also provide products and "services" essential to human survival. Think bees and their pollinating prowess - necessary for growing food.
Air Pollution
Overloading of the atmosphere and of ocean waters with carbon. Atmospheric CO2 absorbs and re-emits infrared-wavelength radiation, leading to warmer air, soils, and ocean surface waters - which is good: The planet would be frozen solid without this. Unfortunately, there's now too much carbon in the air. Burning of fossil fuels, deforestation for agriculture, and industrial activities have pushed up atmospheric CO2 concentrations from 280 parts per million (ppm) 200 years ago, to about 400 ppm today. That's an unprecedented rise, in both size and speed. The result: climate disruption.
Environmental Degradation
Environmental degradation is the disintegration of the earth or deterioration of the environment through the consumption of assets, for example, air, water and soil; the destruction of environments and the eradication of wildlife. It is characterized as any change or aggravation to nature’s turf seen to be pernicious or undesirable.
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the environment. These harmful materials are called pollutants. Pollutants can be natural, such as volcanic ash. They can also be created by human activity, such as trash or runoff produced by factories. Pollutants damage the quality of air, water, and land.
Resource Depletion
Species-rich wild forests are being destroyed, especially in the tropics, often to make way for cattle ranching, soybean or palm oil plantations, or other agricultural monocultures. Today, about 30 percent of the planet's land area is covered by forests - which is about half as much as before agriculture got started around 11,000 years ago. About 7.3 million hectares (18 million acres) of forest are destroyed each year, mostly in the tropics. Tropical forests used to cover about 15 percent of the planet's land area; they're now down to 6 or 7 percent. Much of this remainder has been degraded by logging or burning. Not only do natural forests act as biodiversity reserves, they are also carbon sinks, keeping carbon out of the atmosphere and oceans.
Climate Change
Species-rich wild forests are being destroyed, especially in the tropics, often to make way for cattle ranching, soybean or palm oil plantations, or other agricultural monocultures. Today, about 30 percent of the planet's land area is covered by forests - which is about half as much as before agriculture got started around 11,000 years ago. About 7.3 million hectares (18 million acres) of forest are destroyed each year, mostly in the tropics. Tropical forests used to cover about 15 percent of the planet's land area; they're now down to 6 or 7 percent. Much of this remainder has been degraded by logging or burning. Not only do natural forests act as biodiversity reserves, they are also carbon sinks, keeping carbon out of the atmosphere and oceans.

Lack of Conservation

Wildlife Conservation Society’s Dr. Madhu Rao, reports that “Things are now changing rapidly for Myanmar, which will soon experience increasing economic growth and the myriad cascading effects of climate change on its forests and coastlines. The opportunity to protect the country’s natural heritage with a strategic and multi-faceted approach is now.”

Changing Oceans

According to a GIS-based assessment of Koh Tao by Robbie Weterings, the enormous reef recreation industry on the island has caused a lot of stress to the reefs. While it was expected that the divers from the large number of diving schools would cause damage to the coral, commercially organized snorkel trips appeared to be more destructive. Most reef areas that were stressed suffered from sedimentation and physical damage caused by snorkeling and diving.

Polluted Rivers

Deterioration in water quality, and pollution loads are rising, contaminating surface and groundwater are creating public health hazards. Solid waste from municipalities poses another threat to surface waters.

Illegal Logging

Between 1943 and 1993 much of the Vietnam’s forests were cleared, with forest cover declining from 43% to 28% (FCPF, 2018). Since then, forest cover has increased due to the expansion of plantations and natural forest regeneration. At the same time, remaining natural forests have become increasingly degraded through ongoing logging (Cochard et al., 2017, de Jong et al., 2006, Meyfroidt and Lambin, 2008).

Out of Space

Indonesia has become a dumping ground for vast quantities of the world’s unwanted plastic. Plastic is burned on a large scale to ease Indonesia’s overflowing rubbish dumps, while truckloads of waste are sold to local communities. The incinerated plastic causes respiratory problems for people who inhale its toxic smoke.

Heightened Floods

Currently the primary threats to the Leuser Ecosystem are illegal roads and deforestation. This is due to a global demand for products like timber and palm oil. Profits go to an elite and frequently to outside parties, as opposed to the local communities in Aceh. Moreover, the short-term financial gains are countered by significant socio-economic as well as environmental damage in the long-term. Flash floods and landslides are already causing massive losses to the lives and livelihoods of Aceh’s people as its forests are increasingly destroyed.

Underwater Junkyards

Eight ministries declared that Indonesia produces between 0.27 and 0.59 million tons of marine debris each year. Controversy arose when Jenna Jambeck’s study calculated that Indonesia produced around 1.29 million tons of marine debris each year, which is at least twice the government figure.

A Burning Issue

Much of the rainforest in Indonesia grows on carbon-rich peatland, the destruction of which adversely affects both biodiversity and the climate. The increasing demand for palm oil leads to expansion of this industry onto other cropland, secondary forests already logged for timber, and native tropical forests. This increasingly replaces tropical forests with monoculture crop systems, depletes biodiversity, destroys old growth rainforests and causes air pollution.

Coral Bleaching

Southeast Asian coral reefs have the highest level of biodiversity for the world's marine ecosystem. Coral reefs are a fragile ecosystem and highly vulnerable to overfishing, destructive fishing practices, pollution, and natural factors. Climate change is one of the natural factors that impacted coral reefs such as bleaching. Indonesia holds 12.5% of the world's total coral reefs area (±58.000 km2). Bali, part of The Coral Triangle is one of the popular areas in Indonesia and need to be closely monitored.

Issue Title 36

Lack of biodiversity protection in Singapore*

Zero Waste

Almost all of Singapore’s non-recyclable waste is incinerated, with the ash and some solid waste shipped to a man-made island nearby that doubles as a nature reserve. But that solution looks as if it is running short on time. The tip on Semakau island was supposed to meet Singapore’s dumping needs until as late as 2045, according to environment ministry documents. But with the use of disposable products growing at a rapid rate, the ministry’s most recent estimates show that Semakau could be full a decade earlier.

Challenging Environmental Issues

As low-lying Pacific nations explore the idea of building artificial land to survive climate change, a country less known as a victim of the phenomenon may be following in their footsteps. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong floated a number of solutions the city state could adopt to address the fallout from global warming. He said about S$100 billion (US$72 billion) would be needed over the next century to make these proposals a success and protect the country’s 5.6 million residents from rising sea levels.

A Need for Change

In Singapore, primeval rain forests have been whittled to less than 0.3 per cent. With rising temperatures and sea levels, and given the inter-connectivity between the well-being of humans and the health of nature and biodiversity, there is a need to seriously rethink what value the last wilderness areas mean in Singapore. It is crucial to act now to preserve them.

Local Threats

The use of cyanide to stun and capture live coral reef fish began in the 1960s in the Philippines to supply the growing market for aquarium fish. Despite the fact that cyanide fishing is nominally illegal in virtually all Indo-Pacific countries, the high premium paid for live reef fish, weak enforcement capacities, and frequent corruption have spread the use of the poison across the entire region. Since the 1960s, more than one million kilograms of cyanide has been squirted onto Philippine reefs

Plastic Torrents

Masses of plastic trash swirling in waterways, garbage clogging drainage canals and huge stinking dump sites are among the most visible manifestations of the waste crisis in the Philippines. A 2015 report on plastic pollution by the Ocean Conservancy charity and the McKinsey Centre for Business and Environment ranked the Philippines as the third-largest source of discarded plastic that ends up in the ocean.

Under Pressure

Philippines is struggling to conserve its marine life in the face of overfishing, destructive fishing practices, and growing plastic pollution. These human activities coupled with climate change have led to an unparalleled decimation of its marine biodiversity. According to a study published in the Philippine Journal of Science reports that reefs in the country’s territorial waters are no longer in excellent condition, and that 90% are classified as either poor or fair. Another 2017 report by the United Nations predicted that all 29 World Heritage coral reefs, including one in the Philippines, will die out by 2100 unless carbon emissions are drastically reduced.

Dying Reefs

According to a statement by the Southeast Asian Centre of Excellence (SEA CoE), many local, coastal communities do not understand or know what a coral reef actually is, how its ecosystem interacts with them, and why it is so important for their villages to preserve and conserve it. Unfortunately, these beautiful coral reefs are now at serious risk from degradation. According to scientists, 70 percent of the world's coral reefs may be lost by 2050. In the Philippines, coral reefs have been slowly dying over the past 30 years. 

The Earth Needs Saving

Cambodia is undergoing a rapid process of urbanisation. Between 1998 and 2018, the country’s urban population grew by an estimated 197% (National Institute of Statistics (NIS), 2016), a key factor in which have been the agricultural pressures engendered by climate change. Cambodia repeatedly cited as one of the most climate insecure countries globally (UNDP Cambodia, 2014).

Nature is Losing

Cambodia has one of the worst deforestation rates in the world, and the country's primary rainforest cover went from over 70 percent in 1970 to just three percent today. Cambodia's deforestation has been accelerating over the past decade due to industrial plantation expansion, logging and agriculture.

Reefs Under Pressure

Coastal development, including tourism-related development, is especially apparent Pulau Redang and Tioman Marine Parks in Malaysia. Large resorts including golf courses increase sediment loading in the sea. This sedimentation was linked with increases in percentage of dead coral cover near the development sites. The coral reefs at Pulau Tioman have also suffered from pollution and commercial coral collection.

We are Low On Gas

Environmental resources exploitation are important generators of economic growth but exploitation of environmental resources have led to a steady increase in environmental degradations. These issues are becoming more intense and frequent not only in Malaysia but for the region as a whole. This impacts the social wellbeing and quality of life.

We Could Lose it All

With the rapid economic growth of Malaysia, this can possibly result in the loss of a high-quality tropical environment. Air pollution and waste management is perceived of as key local environmental issues with industrial emissions that lead to local environmental degradation. Other issues include loss of critical habitat as well as river pollution.

Hungry Households

Over the course of 16 years, a high percentage of Orang Asli (OA) households in Malaysia has been found to be burdened with food insecurity. The first research related to food security among the Orang Asli (OA) was conducted by Zalilah and Tham who found that 82% of the OA households at Hulu Langat, Selangor were food-insecure. Some of the main challenges to achieving food security include the failure in agriculture, depletion of natural commodities, reduced demands of natural commodities, weather, and water issues.