A call interrupted me during the coastal cleanup post-recce debrief this afternoon with the NUS Environmental Engineering students at Holland Village The phone call was from my just-graduated honours student Fung Tze Kwan, and I suspected an emergency of some sort.
True enough, a scaly anteater or pangolin (Manis javanica) carcass had been spotted by her classmate, Genevive Sew. Unable to contact me, Genevieve had informed NEA. When Tze Kwan got to me, I sent word to guard the carcass until I turned up and to prevent NEA cleaners from collecting the carcass as they’d turn it into ashes.
I grabbed trash bags from 7-11 nearby and hopped into a cab to scour Sixth Avenue for Genevive. We missed her, turned around and then I dashed across the road while she explained to the workers that we could clear the carcass. Traffic was speeding through Sixth Avenue so it was dicey work dodging traffic to grab that photo above.
The poor animal’s tongue was extended, it looked quite fresh and there was no smell. I learnt the Raffles Museum freezer was full so I headed to Life Sciences Lab 7 after dropping Genevive off at her dance ensemble practise at the University Cultural Centre. She had guarding the specimen for 45 mins – attagirl!
Location of carcass
Had the pangolin strayed from Holland Woods?
I popped the unfortunate pangolin into the Lab 7 freezer and turned down the temperature to freeze the carcass. I’ll dissect and preserve it next week.
This is the second specimen secured since semester ended, the previous one being the smooth-coated otter from West Coast Park in May this year. This one thanks to Genevive Sew!
We’d really all rather see these animals alive rather than dead but a carcass can contribute to research, education and ultimately the protection of others of its kind in our forests and shores.