Friday, April 30, 2010

TC and NEA have yet to solve pigeon population problem

 TC and NEA have yet to solve pigeon population problem
STOMPer Welt is disappointed that even after previous feedback about the increase in pigeon population here, the problem still remains.

The STOMPer said in an email:

"I wrote to NEA and Marine Parade Town Council previously about the increase in the pigeon population but unfortunately, the problem still exists.

"Nobody is interested to solve this problem.

"The picture here was taken at the same place (Block 67, Marine Drive) on 30 Apr 2010.

"Why must we wait till the problem worsens before the relevant authorities can take necessary action?

"I am trying very hard to make Singapore a more lovely place to live.

"I am disappointed in the response from the relevant authorities."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park

 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park
STOMPer Chestnut spotted these litter which were apparently from a nearby McDonald's outlet at West Coast Park. The STOMPer feels that McDonald's should let its staff pick up after their customers in the park to prevent this from happening again.

The STOMPer said:

"These photos were taken at West Coast Park.

"As McDonald's has set up a 24-hour outlet right next to the park, many people who spend their evenings or early mornings there would order take-aways from there to eat in the park.

"From the photos, it is obvious that these McDonald's patrons only care about enjoying their time in the park.

"They do not give a hoot about clearing their mess when they leave.

"In my opinion, the person who enables and encourages such uncivilized behaviour is Uncle Ronald McDonald!

"Hence, the owners of this McDonald's outlet should bear their share of social responsibility in keeping the park clean and green.

"I suggest that McDonald's can arrange for its staff to make routine rounds in the park to pick up after their customers, just like how they do within the restaurant."

 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park
 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park
 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park
 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park
 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park
 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park
 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park
 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park
 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park
 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park
 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park
 Patrons of nearby McDonald's leave a mess in West Coast Park

Related news: Young males are the biggest park litterbugs (29th April 2010) (Mirror)
Over 8,300 fines slapped on park litterbugs, mostly men (29th April 2010) (Mirror)

I don't see why the staff of McDonald's have to be responsible for cleaning up after others outside of their premises. After all, I personally think that more of the blame lies on those who are too lazy, irresponsible, and stupid to use a bin in the first place.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monkeys invade school, terrorising students and teachers

Monkeys invade school, terrorising students and teachers
Students and teachers of a local school are vexing over the sudden invasion of some quick-thinking monkeys from a nearby park, STOMPer Sonyboy says.

The primates have been able to evade capture attempts by the authorities and are causing the school a lot of problems as a result.

In an email, Sonyboy says:

"These Monkeys were found in a local secondary school last Saturday (April 24).

"Apparently, these monkeys came from the nearby park and must have made their way to the school at night.

"The school has already contacted SPCA to capture them. However, the plan has failed several times because of the monkeys' fast reaction when they see the authorities trying to capture them.

"I am urging the authorities to hunt these monkeys down as soon as possible because they have caused a lot of inconvenience to the school and its students, especially females and teachers.

"The cleaners also have to keep mopping the floor since this happened to maintain a high standard of cleanliness".

Monkeys invade school, terrorising students and teachers
Monkeys invade school, terrorising students and teachers
Monkeys invade school, terrorising students and teachers
Monkeys invade school, terrorising students and teachers

Looks like this troop of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) has gotten itself into quite a bit of trouble.

Caught on camera: Rat scurries across supermarket's dairy section

 Caught on camera: Rat scurries across supermarket's dairy section
STOMPer Sharon was surprised to see a rat scurrying across the supermarket's dairy section while she was shopping for ice-cream at Cold Storage in North Point yesterday.

When contacted, Sharon said:

"I saw a rat ran across the dairy section counters just as I was about to buy my ice-cream.

"This happened at about 4pm yesterday. There were a few Cold Storage staff looking into the rat problem but they did not stop us from taking any pictures.

"I always shop at Cold Storage for its fresh produce but now, I wonder how clean can this place be?"

 Caught on camera: Rat scurries across supermarket's dairy section
 Caught on camera: Rat scurries across supermarket's dairy section
 Caught on camera: Rat scurries across supermarket's dairy section

Based on the apparently large size and heavy build of the rat in the photo, I would hazard a guess and say that it is a brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). This is the familiar urban rat seen in cities around the world, and goes by many other names; common rat, sewer rat, and Norwegian rat have all been used at one point or another to refer to this species.

(Photo by andrewsteeleuk)

Supposedly once native to the plains of China and Mongolia, this species has become extremely successful, colonising every continent except for Antarctica. Selective breeding of the brown rat has also given us the laboratory rats that are so vital in research, as well as the fancy rat varieties kept as pets.

Left: Laboratory rat;
(Photo by jepoirrier)
Right: Fancy rat;
(Photo by P a c i a)

Unlike many other rat species, the brown rat is a poor climber. It is an excellent swimmer, which has helped it to colonise many parts of the world, stowing away on ships and boats and disembarking or swimming for shore whenever an opportunity presented itself.

(Photo by natalija2006)

(Photo by Armando Caldas)

As can be expected, this species is very flexible and adaptable, and readily feeds on whatever food is available, whether it is trash, grain, birds' eggs (or even adult birds), or molluscs. This adaptability has inadvertently created ecological disasters for many species ill-prepared against such an adaptable and intelligent predator.

Predation, competition, and disease spread by the brown rat and other non-native commensal rodents has devastated the fauna and flora of many islands. In recent years, Campbell Island in New Zealand and Rat Island in Alaska have stood out as 2 examples of successful rat eradication efforts to restore threatened native wildlife, especially birds.

(Photo by Armando Caldas)

The story of Christmas Island is particular ironic, in that 2 species of native rat, Maclear's rat (Rattus macleari) and bulldog rat (Rattus nativitatis) became extinct at the turn of the 20th century, not long after the black rat (Rattus rattus) was introduced to the island. It is strongly suspected that the native rats were wiped out by disease spread by the foreign invader.

Apart from the brown rat, there are several other rat species that may be encountered in Singapore. I briefly discussed these species in this post from last year.

Among those other rat species which may be found in urban Singapore are the Asian house rat or Tanezumi rat (Rattus tanezumi) and Polynesian rat (Rattus exulans).

The Asian house rat was once confused with the black rat (Rattus rattus), which has been widely introduced around the world. The Asian house rat itself is possibly native to the Himalayan region, China, and Indochina, but has apparently been introduced to the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, Philippines, and various island groups in the western Pacific.

Genetic research has indicated that many populations of black rat actually form a separate species, which has been split off and given the name of Asian house rat. Whether or not the black rat itself is found in Singapore remains to be seen, and requires further study; both species do not hybridise readily, even in places where both species are sympatric.

Like the brown rat, the black rat itself also goes by many names; some synonyms include house rat, roof rat, and ship rat. It is considered to be a poor swimmer, but a much better climber compared to the brown rat.

(Photo by Doug Greenberg)

Where both species meet, especially in temperate parts of the world, the larger brown rat is said to be more aggressive, displacing the black rat. Apparently, if both species are occupying the same building, an interesting partitioning of niches occur; the more terrestrial brown rat occupies the sewers and ground floors, while the more arboreal and agile black rat colonises the ceilings and upper floors. In the tropics, however, the black rat is generally more common and more widespread than the brown rat.

(Photo by Sexecutioner)

Formerly native to the Indian subcontinent, the black rat is also the rat species responsible for the spread of the Black Death across Eurasia during the Middle Ages. Fleas carrying the plague bacterium (Yersinia pestis) after biting infected rats transmitted the disease to humans, resulting in the death of millions of people. Even today, the threat of plague epidemic is still ever present, with the last major outbreak occurring in India in 1994.

(Photo by nrdsquash)

The Polynesian rat is probably native to mainland Southeast Asia, and has followed Polynesian settlers as they populated far-flung island chains; it is now found throughout the western Pacific, from the Philippines and New Guinea to New Zealand and even as far as Hawaii and Easter Island. Compared to the brown rat and black rat, it is much smaller in size.

There are numerous other commensal rat species found throughout Asia; these include the Indochinese forest rat (Rattus andamanensis), rice-field rat (Rattus argentiventer), lesser rice-field rat (Rattus losea), Himalayan field rat (Rattus nitidus), and Himalayan rat (Rattus pyctoris), not to mention several species of mice (Mus spp.) and the bandicoot rats (Bandicota spp.).

These commensal rodents can be serious pests in agricultural areas, and can pose a significant health risk. Here in urban Singapore, they fulfill a role as scavengers, feeding on our food waste, and in turn are prey for carnivores such as reptiles and birds of prey; research has shown that rats are the main prey of urban reticulated pythons (Broghammerus reticulatus). Like it or not, rodents are part and parcel of urban life, and controlling their numbers is often very much linked to how we manage and dispose of potential food sources.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Neglected garden in Sengkang overgrowing with weeds

 Neglected garden in Sengkang overgrowing with weeds
STOMPer abchua spotted the untidy state of this garden, below the HDB flats in Sengkang, and hopes that it will be taken care of soon.

In an email, the STOMPer said:

"I happen to pass by this garden near Blocks 408 and 409 along Fernvale Road in Sengkang.

"I noticed that the garden was overgrowing with weeds.

"It seemed like no one had taken care of it at all for the past few months.

"I hope that the town council will look into this soon."

 Neglected garden in Sengkang overgrowing with weeds

Monday Morgue: 26th April 2010

Coastal horseshoe crab (Tachypleus gigas)
Pasir Ris, 2nd March 2010

Wild Fact Sheets
A Guide to Seashore Life

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cars totally wrecked by fallen tree at Sungei Kadut

 Cars totally wrecked by fallen tree at Sungei Kadut
STOMPer Kevin sent in these photos of two cars badly damaged by a fallen tree at Sungei Kadut.

Said the STOMPer:

"A tree hit by lightning fell onto these two cars.

"Both cars were totally smashed up.

"It happened on April 24."

 Cars totally wrecked by fallen tree at Sungei Kadut
 Cars totally wrecked by fallen tree at Sungei Kadut
 Cars totally wrecked by fallen tree at Sungei Kadut
 Cars totally wrecked by fallen tree at Sungei Kadut

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Overgrown plants around this overhead bridge creeps me out

 Overgrown plants around this overhead bridge creeps me out
STOMPer Weak heart claims that he prays for divine protection every time he crosses this bridge as the plants are so overgrown that he fears that snakes or spiders might slither out and attack him.

In his email to STOMP, the STOMPer wrote:

"These pictures were taken at the overhead pedestrian bridge that links the Ghim Moh HDB estate to East Sussex Lane.

"This bridge spans the KTM land and I have to pray for divine protection each time I cross this bridge.

"The branches from the trees hang down until they almost reach your head and the bougainvillea plants grow until part of the bridge is blocked.

"I always have this morbid fear of snakes and spiders slithering down the branches to attack my head and body.

"My fear is compounded when the sun sets and the street lamps are turned on.

"I hope the branches can be trimmed off to allay my fear of creepy slimy creatures that lurk in the branches especially at night."

 Overgrown plants around this overhead bridge creeps me out

Seriously, I have no idea why this particular idiot submits such nonsense time and time again, and why STOMP always willingly posts such dreck.

My sympathies if you are genuinely so afflicted by all these phobias, but really, I'm not buying your nonsense anymore. I call bullshit on you and all your fictitious phobias.

I mean, would you look at all that he has posted to date?

"As one who is achluophobic, I fear the eclipse of the sun, a moonless night and a car park enshrouded in darkness. I hope these creepers can be removed soon."

"Whenever I wait here for the bus to arrive, I have a sense of trepidation that there might be hornets and snakes lurking in the bushes. I hope the creepers could be removed for public safety."

"Since young I was diagnosed as ophidiophobic and arachnophobic and these creepy creatures make my blood run cold. I hope these creepers could be removed so that I have peace of mind whenever I cross this overhead bridge."

"Whenever I cross this bridge, I have an ominous feeling that some spiders, worms, caterpillars or snakes might be lurking in the branches. The branches of this mango tree have grown until they touch the railings and this compounds my fear of creepy crawling insects. From young I have been arachnophobic, scoleciphobic and ophidiophobic and I hope LTA will send its workers to cut off these protruding branches."

"This palm tree near the bus stop bears flowers twice a year and during the flowering season, swarms of bees are attracted to the flowers. I hope the Town Council will not plant such trees in housing estates as they attract bees."


I know I sound very callous and insensitive, but please do us all a favour and just stay at home. This way there won't be any trees, bushes, or creepers with imaginary horrors threatening your apparently fragile constitution.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

'Dirty S'poreans' throw litter into canal

 'Dirty S'poreans' throw litter into canal
STOMPer Miranda was on her way home from school when she spotted floating cans of soft drinks and tissue in a canal. She wonders if this is the work of Singaporeans.

She said in an email to us today (Apr 20):

"While on my way home from school, I walked past a canal. It was disgusting.

"I saw floating cans of soft drinks and even tissues!

"Is this the work of Singaporeans?!"

 'Dirty S'poreans' throw litter into canal
"Indeed, in Singapore where our catchments are largely urbanised, every individual in Singapore has a role to play in keeping our waters clean. In the Marina catchment for example, any litter thrown in the drains in housing estates as far as Ang Mo Kio, Bishan and Paya Lebar will end up in the Marina Reservoir. I hence encourage every one of us to play our part, and make a conscious effort to keep our waters clean."

- Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Please tell me if you see Rambo

 Please tell me if you see Rambo
STOMPer ramram is desperately looking for his pet lory, Rambo. It flew away on Sunday (18 April) at about 10am.

The STOMPer said in an email:

"Rambo, my lory flew away on Sunday (18 April), at around 10am in the area of Tampines Street 83.

"If you see him, please call me at [censored].

"I'm desperately looking for him."

Rambo is probably a black-capped lory (Lorius lory), a species native to New Guinea and surrounding islands.

(Photo by jormungund)

If this particular bird is not retrieved, and manages to survive in the wild, it will add to the growing list of exotic parrots recorded in Singapore. So far, there is only 1 record of black-capped lory in Singapore, an individual seen at the Singapore Botanic Gardens in 2000.

(Photo by kampang)

While only a small handful of non-native parrots have established breeding populations here in Singapore, there is always the chance that for other species, enough individuals may escape to eventually form a breeding pair. Parrots are highly popular as pets, and combined with the number of captive wildlife facilities we have here, escapes are more or less inevitable. What matters is whether enough birds escape to reach critical mass, such that the birds are able to breed and form a self-sustaining population.

This has happened with the rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus), which has been recorded breeding in Singapore.

Originally native to a large area of Australia, Maluku islands, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, the rainbow lorikeet is now considered a fairly common introduced resident.The Bird Ecology Study Group dedicated a short series of posts on the rainbow lorikeet, its status as a pest in Western Australia (where it is not native), and the possibility of it becoming a pest in Singapore.

(Photo by air17)

Lories and lorikeets are characterised by the unique brush-tipped tongue, which they use for feeding on nectar and soft fruits. The group as a whole is native to Wallacea, New Guinea, Polynesia and Australia.

Besides the black-capped lory and rainbow lorikeet, the chattering lory (Lorius garrulus) from the northern Maluku islands has also been recorded in Singapore, with an adult female seen at the grounds of Singapore General Hospital in 1951.

(Photo by gwashley)

The red lory (Eos bornea), which hails from the southern Maluku islands, is present in sufficient numbers to be considered a common escapee throughout Singapore. Sightings are concentrated around the Botanic Gardens and the vicinity of Bukit Timah Road, Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Sentosa; sightings elsewhere have been one-off and are likely to be fresh escapees. The first record is of a pair seen at Woodleigh Park in 1987. Breeding is suspected.

(Photo by ♥ Airey)

One of the photos in this post not only shows a record of a red lory in Singapore, but also indicates the presence of the dusky lory (Pseudeos fuscata) from New Guinea in Singapore.

(Photo by sypix)

One of the comments also reveals that mixed flocks of lories have been seen in Singapore, comprising a mixture of species such as red lory, dusky lory, blue-eared lory (Eos semilarvata), blue-streaked lory (Eos reticulata) and violet-necked lory (Eos squamata).

Blue-eared lory, endemic to the island of Seram in the southern Maluku islands;
(Photo by Carlos Urdiales)

Blue-streaked lory, a species native to the Tanimbar islands;
(Photo by allereb)

Violet-necked lory, native to northern Maluku and Raja Ampat islands;
(Photo by Saad1995)

These exotic birds are colourful and endearing, but it remains to be seen if they pose any threat to native birds, especially where it comes to competition for food and nest-holes.