Wild City – six 45-mins episodes though which to discover wildlife in Singapore

This series about wildlife in Singapore has excellent footage, lovingly shot by the team from Beach House Pictures of whom Claire Clements proved to be an inspiring naturalist and wildlife filmmaker. And as an additional treat many episodes were narrated by David Attenborough.

Monitorlizard_wildcity

The Wild City (Singapore) episodes are mostly on Youtube as well now (remember to select HD before watching):

  1. Wild City: Urban Wild (2015) [link]
  2. Wild City: Hidden Wild (2015) [link]
  3. Wild City: Islands (2016) [link]
  4. Wild City: Forest Life (2019) [link]
  5. Wild City: Secret World (2019) [CNA link]
  6. Wild City: River World (2020) [link]

Do also catch wildlife animal rescues charity ACRES at work with Wild City Rescue (8 episodes) on MeWatch [link]

Share your memories of Prof D H “Paddy” Murphy, RIP

We announced the peaceful departure of Prof D H “Paddy” Murphy last Saturday, and have been touched by the memories everyone has shared. We would love to hear your stories of learning and exploring with him and invite you to use the form at https://tinyurl.com/paddymurphy-rip.

We will share the stories with his family and with the community through the NUS Biodiversity Crew (blog), which includes the many students past and present.

DHM memories

About Singapore’s primary & secondary forests (NParks video feat Shawn Lum)

This is an excellent video by NParks featuring forest ecologist Dr Shawn Lum, “Revealing Our Roots: Trees of Singapore”, who elegantly explains Singapore’s primary & secondary forests. I love the love the old footage interleaved into the explanation too.

As we gear up with the One Million Trees movement, it is important to appreciate the background against which we must sustain the 10-year effort.

This is now required viewing for all my students…

CLIck to join the One Million trees movement! OMT

That amazing news about the Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network

One night in 1990, I trudged in the mud of Lim Chu Kang mangrove and realised it was not as dark as it should be. Walking towards the light, I realised the southern half of that mangrove had been cleared. I would learn later this was for aquaculture, and rue the decision for space was available inland which would have been just as suitable.

Instead a invaluable mangrove visited even by mangrove researchers from around the world had disappeared, just like that. No one had known, nor did anyone speak of it. We’ve been vigilant ever since, grimacing in anticipation of an inopportune interest in that piece of land.

Then came the news in 2017 and 2018 that the mangrove and mudflats at Lim Chu Kang and Mandai had been set aside as nature parks. And now the news in 2020 about the Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network. It will take a long time to sink in. Many hands had worked towards this goal over at least three decades, an they hail from many sectors of society: the active activist advocating for the site, the student toiling to build the knowledge their research would contribute, the individual and volunteer who reminded everyone that these sites exist, the managers who had looked after these sites and many a policy minion from behind a desk far from the mud, who all battled to see this day.

Their hearts must have all been gladdened by the news – a network, no less! I hope they took some time to chat with friends and family about the news or just took a break from a typically hectic pace of life to reflect on this wondrous news.

SBNPN2020

The culmination of all that effort handed baton to current teams from NParks and URA and led by the indefatigable Desmond Lee at MND, to deliver an outcome few would have dreamt about! That tinge of wistfulness and sadness when we talk about the northwest mangroves has suddenly been lifted. We will not pass on a burden of grief to our youth. And everyone can feel proud of this effort of national stewardship which ultimately ensured the conservation of these mangroves and mudflats.

Now conservation requires much more than boundaries, and everyone in various communities still have their work cut out for them. But how wonderful it will all feel now, to work in celebration, without a dark cloud hanging over all of us!

Several old guard have passed on before this news, and they were activists and contributors from our local and international community. I remember them all with gratitude, fondness and love ❤️.

For now, let’s take a deep breath and revel in this news.

Glenn & Neil celebrate on Money FM with interview with Ho Hua Chew (NSS) and Adrian Loo (NParks) with “Sungei Buloh is Growing! ”
MoneyFMinterview

A peek at Pulau Ubin – sensitising novice visitors with video stories about life there

Pulau Ubin is a truly special place in Singapore with layers of biodiversity, culture, heritage and adventure stories. Since 2014, its role to the Singapore community was enhanced through engagement with various sectors of the community in the Friends of Ubin Network; see the FUN microsite. And since 2015, there is a lovely map!

Since 1998, NUS Toddycats (and its precursor The Habitat Group) introduced members of public to the island through the Pedal Ubin programme. In 2009, all those years of preparation to explain, guide, ensure safety and explore the island was imported into an undergraduate module, LSM2251 Ecology and the Environment.

So twice a year, NUS undergraduates have visited Pulau Ubin to scrutinise the terrestrial habitats on the island and observe birds through bird counts of species and abundance. The class size has varied from 200 at the start to 80+ in recent years. And next Saturday, the 23rd batch visits the island. And typically, for two thirds of them, it will be the first or second time!

This year the students will have move in distanced groups of five, and function more independently of their TAs, in order to avoid congregating, as part of COVID-19 mitigation. We will prepare students with a lab practical to ensure they have a more fulfilling time on the island. they are introduced to the island through maps, photos of avian life and habitats, taught to use a binoculars and we discuss the methods they will use for bird counts.

There are some articles to read, but videos are excellent to sensitise them to several aspects about the island. Several short and good videos have been published about the lure of the kampung feel, nature and various people who work and live in Pulau Ubin. Here I list 15 videos of good quality, all enjoyable, and mostly (11 of 15) less than five minutes long. They were posted online between 2013-2019.

  1. “Welcome to Pulau Ubin” (Hiking guide; NParks, 2016) [3:59]
  2. “Cycling In Pulau Ubin – What to Look Out For” (NParks 2016) [4:09]
  3. “Pulau Ubin – the last rural land left in Singapore,” feat Subaraj Rajathurai (The Telegraph 2014) [2:32]
  4. “Life on Ubin,” feat Subaraj Rajathurai (Ethnographica, 2016) [23:29]
  5. “Exploring Pulau Ubin’s ecology: More than just a place to escape to,” by Audrey Tan and Marl Cheong (The Straits Times, 2020*) [7:15] *updated 10 Nov 2020
  6. “The Boat Operators of Pulau Ubin.” Heritage in Episodes Season 2 (NHB Root.sg, 2013) [7:46]
  7. “The Boatmen of Ubin,” (Today, 2018) [3:24]
  8. “Living in Pulau Ubin till the end,” feat Mr Ahmad Bin Kassim (Today, 2015) [1:02]
  9. “Pulau Ubin’s ‘Ah Ma’,” (Today, 2015) [1:28]
  10. “Pulau Ubin ‘is the place that saved us’ WWII survivor,” feat Ahmad Kassim (Today 2017) [2:06]
  11. “The Pulau Ubin Crab Hunter,” feat Satay (Our Grandfather Story 2018) [3:18]
  12. “A Day In The Life Pulau Ubin’s Postman,” feat Harom Jomahat (The New Paper 2017) [3:37]
  13. “A Journey To Pulau Ubin, In Search Of A Lost Home,” feat Nor Syazwan Bin Abdul Majid (Our Grandfather Story, 2019) [3:20]
  14. “Singapore Islands returning home to Pulau Ubin – The Islands That Made Us,” feat Ah Liang (CNA 2019) [10:25]
  15. “Pulau Ubin Singapore” (Koh Yiwei 2013) [4:26]

I am also glad they will see and hear our iconic and beloved friend of nature, Subaraj Rajathurai, RIP.

SubarajRajathuraiPhoto from The Telegraph (2014) 

Registration is open for the Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk – Sun 16 Feb 2020

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk 
with the NUS Toddycats, volunteers of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore.

UntitledImage

Sun 16 Feb 2020: 7.00am – 12.00pm from NUS

The heroic account of the Malay Regiment at the Battle of Pasir Panjang left a strong impression on us, and there few of us have come together to humbly commemorate the Malay Regiment’s defense of the ridge every year since 2002.

Guides will share with the public stories about the battle, the geography, history and the flora and fauna of the area which drew us to explore the ridge decades ago which led us to gradually learn of its history.

Our commemorative route takes us from the battle front at the National University of Singapore to Kent Ridge Road and through the Gap to Kent Ridge Park and ends at Reflections of Bukit Chandu (note that this is closed in 2020).

All are welcome, just register at Eventbrite.

You must be able to wake up and join us at 7.00am at NUS’ University Cultural Centre and be physically fit enough to walk 5km (with some stairs) at a moderate pace over five hours. 

Please read the other details and guidelines for preparation on the Eventbrite page.

Are you a Nature Newbie who wants to contribute? Sign up with the Biodiversity Challenge 2019!

BFF2019

Empower: Attend the BFF Seminar & Workshop on Sat 23 Feb 2019 [sign up here: link]

Equip: Attend five curated field trips offered by mentors, log your experience in a field journal and attend a reflection session.

Engage: Attend a Festival of Biodiversity (FoB) 2019 preparation workshop (in May) and engage the public at FoB on 25 & 26 May 2019.

Enable: Conduct Acts of Nature to contribute towards Singapore as a more enlightened space for Human-Wildlife Coexistence.

From the Biodiversity Friends Forum team.