Monday, October 22, 2012

Off on another adventure


I'm in the midst of final preparations for my trip to Japan as part of the DENSO Youth for Earth Action Global Programme. To refresh your memories, here's what happened during the Local Programme earlier in July.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mega Marine Survey Day 2: Pulau Ubin

I've just returned from my first field session with the Northern Expedition of the Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey; Ria has a post on the preparations that took place before the field trips commenced today.


Our base of operations is at Outward Bound Singapore (OBS), on the western side of Pulau Ubin.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Wallace Lectures - Marine Biodiversity: Known and Unknown


I attended the latest instalment of the Wallace Lectures. Conducted by Dr. Bertrand Richer de Forges, it was an overview about some of the amazing and mysterious deep-sea communities, many of which were only discovered in the last 50 years, as well as a discussion of how much more we still don't know about marine biodiversity.


Naturally, I live-tweeted much of the session, under the hasthag #WallaceBertrandRicherdeForges, and here are my tweets from that evening and photos of some of his slides, compiled as a Storify:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Prehistoric Rhinos - An Underrated Evolutionary Saga: World Rhino Day Part 2

Paraceratherium, a giant browsing rhinoceros from the Oligocene;
(By Kevin Yan)

Previously, I explained my great dislike for statements claiming that the 5 extant species of rhinoceros are prehistoric survivors. The rhinos we see today represent a single surviving lineage, a mere twig in the rhino family tree. This post will look at some of these actual prehistoric rhinos, and we'll see that over the last 50 million years, rhinos took on many different shapes and sizes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rhinos are not prehistoric survivors: World Rhino Day Part 1

Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis);
(Photo by International Rhino Foundation)

This coming Saturday, 22nd September, will be World Rhino Day. It is a day to highlight the ongoing poaching crisis that continues to threaten the survival of all 5 species of rhino, and to push for greater action to put an end to the needless killing over fallacious claims of rhino horn possessing medicinal properties.

While it seems that rhinos were not historically present in Singapore (except as captive specimens), I am particularly fond of rhinos, and have decided to do a series of post in the days leading up to World Rhino Day.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

International Vulture Awareness Day: Vultures in Singapore

Gyps himalayensis , Himalayan Griffon, in Tibetan "mkha' la 'khor མཁའ་ལ་འཁོར་"
(Photo by reurinkjan)

Today is International Vulture Awareness Day, and I thought it would be appropriate to write about records of vultures in Singapore.

But why do we need a day to celebrate vultures? As stated on the International Vulture Awareness Day website:
Vultures are an ecologically vital group of birds that face a range of threats in many areas that they occur. Populations of many species are under pressure and some species are facing extinction.

The International Vulture Awareness Day has grown from Vulture Awareness Days run by the Birds of Prey Programme in South Africa and the Hawk Conservancy Trust in England, who decided to work together and expand the initiative into an international event.

It is now recognised that a co-ordinated international day will publicise the conservation of vultures to a wider audience and highlight the important work being carried out by the world's vulture conservationists.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Green Drinks Singapore: Seagrass & Aqua Republica


I attended the August 2012 edition of Green Drinks Singapore earlier tonight. Not only did I learn more about the importance of seagrass habitats from Siti, but also listened to Chengzi share about an upcoming game that aims to teach people about integrated water resource management.


Naturally, I was tweeting away, and the following Storify is a compilation of tweets, mostly by Gladys and myself, as well as relevant links and further information.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Seringat-Kias


A small group headed out to visit Lazarus Island on one of the last early morning low tides of the year. While the rest headed towards the rocky shores of Lazarus Island, Kok Sheng and I decided to explore a lagoon located in the north of Seringat-Kias; James and I had previously checked out this area in April 2010. On that occasion, we visited that lagoon during the day, and it was raining, so we might have missed out on a lot of the marine life that lived in that lagoon. Hopefully, we would find a more interesting variety of critters this morning.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

World Elephant Day: Elephants in Singapore

Elephant at the Singapore Zoo;
(Photo by i359702)

Today (12th August) is the inaugural World Elephant Day, a day for the world to learn about and act on solutions to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. Many of us know that the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) can still be found in many countries in tropical Asia, including Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. However, did you know that there are relatively recent records of elephants in Singapore, albeit from our larger offshore islands?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Monitor Mayday

Malayan water monitor

I wasn't quite expecting to be involved in wildlife rescue today. But sometimes, you just happen to stumble upon a wild animal in distress, and you feel that sense of conviction that you have to do something to help.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sightings at Sungei Tengah

Field frog

I'd spent the evening at the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) Wildlife Rescue Centre, and as I walked out towards Old Choa Chu Kang Road to take the bus, I stumbled upon a few examples of local amphibians and reptiles along Lorong Pasu and Sungei Tengah Road.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sharing Singapore with visiting scientists


Several marine scientists from all over the Asia-Pacific are in town for a workshop on marine biodiversity in the South China Sea. I was able to spend a day helping out with the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) as a guide, sharing about Singapore's natural heritage to specialists from the region. (Edit: Mei Lin was a participant as well, and shares more about the workshop in this post)

Friday, July 20, 2012

DENSO Youth for Earth Action


For the last 3 days, I have been involved with DENSO Youth for Earth Action (DYEA), an international programme to support youths in Japan and ASEAN who are passionate about doing something for the environment in their home countries.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Visiting the ACRES Rescue Centre


To recognise the contributions and efforts of its supporters, the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) organised a get-together at its headquarters at Jalan Lekar. I had a great time chatting with friends and other like-minded individuals who are concerned about animal welfare, and was glad to finally get the chance to visit the Wildlife Rescue Centre, which was opened in 2009.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hello from Singapore! (@HellofrmSG)

If you've been spending time on Twitter lately, you might have seen the rise of a new phenomenon known as rotation curation, in which a Twitter account sees a change in the person tweeting (or the curator) on a regular basis (usually weekly).

Monday, July 2, 2012

Raccoons in Singapore? Mistaken identity, and the local trade in exotic small mammals

Which one is native to Singapore?
(Left: Photo by kwokwai76)
(Right: Photo by flipkeat)

It's a running gag among nature enthusiasts in Singapore that many members of the public are ignorant of our own wildlife, and that even common native species are bound to get confused with species not found locally. As a result, our monitor lizards become "Komodo dragons" or "iguanas", agamid lizards are "chameleons", sunbirds are mistaken for "hummingbirds", egrets and herons are "cranes" or "storks", our otters are "sea otters", and these are the most obvious errors we've heard of so far.

It is saddening that many people seem to be more familiar with wildlife found in other parts of the world. Perhaps it's because of the prevalence of wildlife documentaries focusing on ecosystems and species found on other continents, or the infusion of American pop culture. Faced with a small, vaguely cat-like mammal in their gardens or on their rooftops, with a dark eye-mask, it's not surprising that some local residents think that they have seen a common raccoon (Procyon lotor), when in fact this is a species native only to North and Central America. In most cases, any reports of "raccoons" in Singapore are likely to be misidentified common palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus).

STOMPer's plea to park users: Please throw your litter into rubbish bins

STOMPer's plea to park users: Please throw your litter into rubbish bins

The Serangoon stork

Mouth of Sungei Serangoon, which has since been dammed up to create the Serangoon Reservoir;
(Photo by Food Trails)

Hello from SG (@HellofrmSG), Singapore's very own rotation curation project on Twitter, has just been launched, and our very first curator is journalist and history buff Eisen Teo (@eisen).

As part of his self-introduction, Eisen shared the etymology of the name of his neighbourhood, Serangoon:

(Note: an alternative explanation is provided in the 27th March 1950 edition of The Straits Times)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rhythm with Nature @ Gardens by the Bay


The Gardens by the Bay are finally open, and apparently saw more than 70,000 visitors over the first 2 days of its opening. I was part of that crowd on Saturday evening, as I had managed to win a pair of free tickets to catch local singer-songwriter Corrinne May, who was performing as part of Rhythm With Nature. Thanks Timberland Singapore for the tickets (and the shoes), which I had won as part of their Earthkeepers 101 blogging contest.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thoughts on Roadkill, Part 2: Invasives & Non-natives

On Monday, the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) posted the following image on their Facebook page:

Green Iguana
Green iguanas are native to Central and South America. It is saddening and shocking to sight such exotic wildlife here in Singapore, smuggled in to meet the demand for reptiles as illegal pets. This poor adult male Iguana was found run over and dead on the roads on Sungei Tengah road, right in our neighbourhood - Another victim of the illegal wildlife trade being abandoned to fend for himself.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thoughts on Roadkill, Part 1: A video collection

Monitor Lizard Crossing Sign
Road sign on Sentosa;
(Photo by scubawatters)

Despite my morbid fascination with dead animals, I still get a little shudder every time I encounter roadkill. Maybe it stems from the fact that motor vehicles (through the actions of the people who operate them) can also cause serious injury and death to other people, so it's a twinge of empathy, acknowledging that it is a nasty way to get killed, and the grim realisation that it could just as easily be a fellow human being lying on the road. Not to mention the fact that despite near-universal knowledge and education on road safety, there is no indication that we will ever be able to eliminate vehicular traffic as a significant cause of human mortality. What makes one think that animals, being unable to comprehend the purpose of pedestrian crossings or road signs, would fare any better?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A word of thanks

I'm really pleased to see the support that Monday Morgue has received from many people, especially in the Singapore Blog Awards 2012. Although I did not have high hopes at first, I'm now able to count myself as one of the top three currently leading in votes for my category.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

World Oceans Day @ Tanah Merah


Yesterday was World Oceans Day, and in recognition of this day in which we are supposed to "celebrate and honour the body of water which links us all, for what it provides humans and what it represents", the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) team conducted cleanups of 2 stretches of coastline. I had signed up for Tanah Merah Site 7, the same place I had volunteered for earlier in April as part of a series of year-round coastal cleanup efforts. I have visited this shore infrequently every year, and it really is gratifying to see how the efforts of small groups of individuals have truly helped make a difference in reducing the amount of trash accumulating here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Monday, June 4, 2012

The fun of Storify

On 23rd May, I attended U@live Louis Ng: Speaking Up for the Voiceless. Featuring Louis Ng, Founder and Executive Director of the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES), it was an interesting insight into the motivations and personal journey of one of Singapore's foremost champions of animal welfare.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Catching up with the Festival of Biodiversity

If you missed the Festival of Biodiversity, you can get a glimpse of the fun and festivities through the many blog posts and photo albums that have been uploaded so far. Jocelyne has helpfully compiled them all over here on the Festival of Biodiversity blog.

Storify is turning out to be an excellent tool to collate information from many different online platforms, and Gladys and I worked together to create this Storify of the entire Festival of Biodiversity:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Vote Monday Morgue!

Me in my element: Guiding as a volunteer with the Raffles Museum Toddycats!.
(Photo by Boh Zuze)

It's been such a fun and fulfilling weekend at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, sharing interesting stories about Singapore's wildlife and wild places with members of the public. And I'm really pleased that my talk about the importance of documenting dead animals was very well-received. I'll write about my weekend soon enough, but now that the fun and festivities from the Festival of Biodiversity are over, it's time for Monday Morgue to focus on another significant event: the Singapore Blog Awards. If you recall, I'm currently a finalist in the Best What-the-Hell Blog category.

Voting opened on Monday, and everyone can cast one vote per category every day until 30th June. I hope that I'll be able get more support, not just from friends who are familiar with this blog, but also with new readers. A big thanks to Crystal and Jerome, who are finalists in other categories, and who have shown their support for Monday Morgue!

In the meantime, while I prepare a nice blog post to show you all about what happened at the Festival of Biodiversity, here's a short interview for the Singapore Blog Awards:

Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Showtime!

The Festival of Biodiversity begins tomorrow!

Many of us are busy making preparations for the weekend, with a wide range of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Besides doing booth duty as a volunteer guide with the Marine Exhibtion and the Raffles Museum Toddycats!, I also plan to participate in some of the film screenings, symposiums, and of course, not to forget my talk on Sunday.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yet more shameless self-promotion

Monday Morgue is a finalist in the Singapore Blog Awards 2012!

Yes, my spin-off from this blog is currently a contender in the Sold.SG Best What-the-Hell Blog category:

(No offence intended to fellow finalists in the same category)

Shameless Self-promotion

If you're free this coming weekend, do take part in the Festival of Biodiversity, happening at the Botany Centre in the Singapore Botanic Gardens!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Prickly Porcupines

There are porcupines on Pulau Ubin!

Robert Teo from the National Parks Board (NParks) shared this video showing a wild Malayan porcupine (Hystrix brachyura) being released, after it had been caught and kept as a pet by one of the villagers.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The growth of Monday Morgue

Wild boar (Sus scrofa vittatus) skull, Pulau Ubin
31st May 2009

Monday Morgue had a humble start. It began as a weekly feature over here on The Lazy Lizard's Tales, a way to provide filler material when I didn't have the time or energy to write proper blog posts, while giving me the chance to share random photos I'd taken of dead animals I encountered while outdoors.

Last year, I decided to split it off and have Monday Morgue hosted on its own dedicated site. At first, I toyed with Tumblr, but eventually settled on Posterous.

For some reason, Monday Morgue seems to have become quite a hit with many people.