Dr Jane Goodall visits Singapore – JGIS hosts a public talk and dinner (6th August 2017)

Dr Jane Goodall is visiting Singapore, 6th – 8th Aug 2017 and theme for her visit is “Living in Harmony with Nature & Wildlife”.
The following public events are hosted by the Jane Goodall Institute of Singapore.

  1. Public talk, “One Nature, Together: Conversations with Dr. Jane Goodall” [http://www.sistic.com.sg/events/cnature0817]
  2. Dinner, “Living in Harmony: A Night of Inspiration with Dr. Jane Goodall” [http://janeinsg.peatix.com]
  3. Root & Shoots Conference (closed already), “Youth Environmental Stewardship for a Sustainable Future”
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Just launched – #OCBCCares Fund for the Environment (deadline 30 Nov 2017)

Individuals and groups passionate about environmental sustainability with plan of action can be funded by a new fund, the #OCBCCares for the Environment Fund. Besides funding, training will be provided by OCBC Bank staff volunteers in key related skills of project management, financial planning, budgeting know-how and presentation skills – to help you prepare robust proposals and structure projects.

Applicants are invited to submit proposals for initiatives that

  • are realistic and scalable
  • provide direct and tangible benefits to Singapore
  • deliver visible outcomes that have a sustainable impact on our environment
  • benefit a broad segment of the community

Targetted project outcomes include:

  • The adoption of environmentally responsible behaviour or habits among residents in Singapore
  • Successful efforts to conserve, recycle or minimise waste of environmental resources including water, energy, natural habitats and food
  • Biodiversity conservation initiatives, including habitat enhancement, habitat restoration and species recovery
  • Resolution of pressing local environmental sustainability issues
  • A stronger call, from ground-up, for the community to make lifestyle changes and adopt more environmentally responsible habits.

A team of us are evaluating proposals:

  • Koh Ching Ching, OCBC Bank
  • Sueanne Mocktar, National Environment Agency (NEA)
  • Lena Chan, National Parks Board (NParks),
  • Tan Nguan Sen & Linda de Mello (PUB)
  • N Sivasothi (NUS: DBS & RVRC)

Prospective applicants, do take note to apply by 30 Nov 2017 and take note of the training workshop for a robust proposal on Thu 24 Aug 2017: 4.00 – 7.00 pm @ OCBC Bank. Please read the details carefully here, and all the best!

Yes, no more excuses; this fund manpower too!

Want to take action for nature and the environment? Join the Biodiversity Youth Forum, Sat 12 Aug 2017 (120 places)

The Biodiversity Youth Forum (BYF) @ SBG, Sat 12 Aug 2017

Who is this for? All aspiring young conservationists aged 16 – 30 are welcome!
No level of experience required, sign up here.
Special Guest: Second Minister for National Development Mr Desmond Lee will join us!

Are you interested in nature conservation but don’t know where to start? Are you already active but want to contribute further, to policies and decision making in biodiversity conservation? Are you wondering if your actions can contribute to the local conservation scene and even the aspirations of the United Nations?

Join the youth facilitators and mentors at the Biodiversity Youth Forum (BYF) on 12th August 2017. In line with Singapore’s Nature Conservation Masterplan (NCMP), and in fulfilment of our commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Biodiversity Roundtable* is launching this youth forum to empower youth leaders in biodiversity issues in Singapore.

At Biodiversity Youth Forum (BYF), you will

  • meet and connect with like-minded individuals and groups
  • learn about the Convention on Biological Diversity, Singapore’s Nature Conservation Master Plan and how you can/already play a role in them
  • find out how you can get your voices heard and contribute more effectively to conservation
  • identify and seek mentorship and training

Event details:

*The Biodiversity Roundtable is an initiative spearheaded by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and National Parks Board (NParks) under Singapore’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. The Roundtable comprises about 32 representatives from various sectors of the biodiversity community in Singapore.

JoinBiodiversityYouthForum12Aug2017

Walk with primates – Raffles’ Banded Langur Working Group 3rd Volunteer Information Session Sat 18 Jun 2017: 1.00pm – 2.30pm @ SBG

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Dear friends,

The Raffles Banded Langur Working Working Group initiated 6-month long surveys for the primate with the help of volunteers in the past year. Two six month survey cycles have been completed and you can be part of the 3rd cycle!

A briefing session results from the previous surveys will be conducted on Sat 18 Jun 2017: 1.00pm to 2.30pm at the Function Hall, Singapore Botanic Gardens. Sign up to attend briefing session: tinyurl.com/3rd-RBL-session

From:
Andie Ang, Ph.D.
Chairperson
Raffles’ Banded Langur Working Group
www.facebook.com/RBLWG

Exercise by briskwalking the Southern Ridges

Torpidity will ruin us so here we go again!

In an effort to get some baseline walking done, and in particular, to help other lethargic NUS staff members, Kenneth, Weiting and I met to discuss possibilities. We had led some walks last year, and had always meant to restart the series.

2017 03 08 13 58 24

Two lunch time chats later, and after roping in Joleen and Airani, we decided we can begin with five Friday evening walks, just one a month, on the following dates:

  1. Fri 24 Mar 2017: 5.30pm
  2. Fri 28 Apr 2017: 5.30pm
  3. Fri 19 May 2017: 5.30pm
  4. Fri 30 Jun 2017: 5.30pm
  5. Fri 28 Jul 2017: 5.30pm

To register, visit the Eventbrite page.

What citizen science opportunities are available for environmentalists in Singapore?

Recently, NParks has made an effort to provide volunteering opportunities for the public and schools under the citizen science banner.

There are other opportunities in nature and the environment in Singapore (citizen science or otherwise) which are advertised through these avenues:

  • Wild Singapore Happenings, this blog carries a curated list of events maintained by Ria Tan which is particularly useful for families. This is actively updated and has categories such as forest, mangroves, walks, for kids, etc. link
  • Habitatnews (since 1998) is a mailing list I manage which highlights major events suitable for the general public – link
  • Ecotax (since 1998) is a mailing list I have maintain for technical seminars (mostly during office hours) and job opportunities – link

Other public data submissions for science projects (dates indicate project origin or when web forms were first provided ):

  • Mammal Records in Singapore (forms since 2009) – submit your records of mammal sightings in Singapore to http://www.sivasothi.com/mammal/
  • Dead Animal Reports in Singapore (since 2014) – submit records of dead animals at https://lkcnhm.net/dead-wildlife/ (note: for injured animals, please call ACRES Wildlife Rescue’s 24-hour hotline, 9783-7782
  • OtterWatch (Facebook page since 2010), submit your photos of otter sightings in Singapore here  –https://facebook.com/OtterWatch/
  • Common Palm Civet of Singapore (Facebook page since 2013), submit your photos of civet sightings in Singapore here  –https://www.facebook.com/singaporecivet/
  • Records of Singapore’s flora and flora (forms since 2010), for specific project submissions in conjunction with Habitatnews; so far used for Red Jungle Fowl (2010), Lyssa zampa (since 2005, ongoing) and mass flowering events http://tinyurl.com/habitatnews-records
  • Singapore Flowering (Facebook page since 2014) – post photos to this Facebook page to document flowering in Singapore, as we try to understand trends, identify flowers, raise awareness (also #sgflowering on twitter) – https://facebook.com/floweringinSG
  • International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore (since 1992), a data gathering, trash removal exercise conducted here and internationally in September, with data collation by Ocean Conservancy – http://coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg/

    Farewell dear Annette, queen of the Hindhede troop – yet another macaque killed on a small road adjacent to the nature reserve

    In 2013, I was delighted to feature a photo of Annette the long-tailed macaque of the Hindhede troop, catching forty winks. The then pregnant Annette reminded us of the day to day exploits of our local native primates go through, not unlike ourselves.

    Researcher Amanda Tan had shared that image over twitter as she prepared for field studies in Thailand for her graduate work. Similarly, another of Singapore’s ‘monkey girls’, Sabrina Jaafar, shares stories of her encounters with various individuals and troops during her work with monkeys through Facebook.

    These primate workers had transformed their study subjects into well-loved individuals who have been followed by many of us, who sit far away in our offices, dreaming of the forest. And their stories have guided my students as well.


    Photo by Amanda Tan, 2013

    The urban animals tough, resourceful or adaptable enough to survive alongside us in urban Singapore face many challenges. Long-tailed macaques in Singapore face being trapped and killed which has eliminated one-third the population in some years. The native monkeys also face an onslaught by fast traffic on small roads adjacent to nature reserves. Sabrina has chronicled several such tragedies and other primate researches I talk to have noted broken bones and other injuries in study subjects over the years. Her words have not gone unnoticed.

    In 2012, naturalists local and overseas were upset to read of the death of Nad, the reigning queen from the Hindhede troop. It was wretched, and should not have happened that close to the nature reserve when cars should be travelling carefully. Then last week (8th February 2017), I discovered that yet again, an avoidable death had occured – Annette, like Nad before her, was mercilessly killed by a speeding car, on a small road next to the nature reserve.

    Sabrina and Amanda penned these thoughts, which they agreed to share.

    Sabrina Jabbar wrote (8th February 2017),

    “The demise of animals whom you had studied and contributed to conservation, are always the hardest.

    Annette, the reigning queen of the Hindhede troop lost her life after being hit by a speeding car on Monday evening. She has been a significant study subject for many years and known by many of us as the prettiest girl with a very unique character. She has played such a vital role during the Monkey Guards project in 2015 and has helped all my Monkey friends in their individual study and survey. Annette used to dislike me as I was always walking in between her and the residential houses during the Monkey Guards project, so that she can’t enter. But over time, she has learnt to trust my intentions and it had led to some very remarkable milestones during the project.

    Residents grew fond of her when they watched videos of her comical antics. I treasured the friendship we had and it was always a pleasure to introduce her to residents and participants at the Monkey Walk. She tops my list as the most number of individual Macaque photo taken. It is really a shame for beautiful wild animals like Annette, who have to die in this manner. It is a great loss for her troop. Her daughter was sighted sniffing the site where the unfortunate incident took place.

    Till date, I cannot understand negligent drivers driving along the roads of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. I do not hope for much given the mindset of “complain so cull”, but may this help, especially to those who misunderstands them realize that the Macaques are unique individuals, and the passing of one can affect the group overall. And i will repeat time and time again – drive carefully around nature reserves. Is the need for speed really necessary?

    We will miss you very dearly, Annette. I will miss all your grunts and antics. Thank you for teaching me to take life as it comes. RIP pretty girl.”

    Amanda Tan, who is revisiting her tool-using long-tail macaque troop in Thailand, wrote (9th February 2017):

    “Annette, your beautiful face, charm, and devil-may-care attitude stood out immediately to me when I first visited the Hindhede group seven years ago. You were the first monkey I came to know, and the first to teach me about the colorful personalities and rich social lives of macaques, so often just seen as the “common” or “pest” monkeys. As I followed you and your group, I developed the passion for learning and sharing as much as I can about macaques, in the hopes of changing, or at least expanding perceptions of these easily overlooked primates. That has started me on this strange but incredible journey of studying monkeys, and it has truly enriched my life, with places, people, and experiences I would never have had otherwise. People often ask me, why monkeys, why macaques, why not chimps or orangutans? I wish they could have spent a day with you. RIP beautiful girl.

    Its useless now to hope for the driver who did this to feel remorseful, but I wish for everyone driving around nature reserves to drive slowly and responsibly. Watch out for monkeys and other wildlife. Each of their lives matter.”

    As the garden city evolves, our management of wildlife will need to mature as well. Fast cars along small roads adjacent to nature parks and nature reserves need to be slowed, by design, law and education. Buffers around these areas which were set aside as a refuge to nature must allow for the safety of both wildlife and park users. The one follows the other.

    Annette should have been around for many more years, to delight and educate many more students, researchers and residents. Rest well, my friend.

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    Photo by Joys Tan, who got to know Annette during her 2014/15 thesis work