Friday, July 12, 2013

Festival of Biodiversity 2013!

It's time for the Festival of Biodiversity!



I'll be busy volunteering at the Marine Exhibition, but if you really can't make it to VivoCity this weekend, or are not in Singapore, do look out for tweets from myself (@Varanussalvator) and others, via the hashtag #FestBiodSG.




Monday, June 24, 2013

Ecological musings


Bukit Timah;



As voting for this year's Singapore Blog Awards draws to a close, I'd like to end with some final thoughts.

When it comes to giving tips and points on doing your part for the environment, one tends to encounter the usual suggestions on the 3Rs, cutting down on the amount of waste generated, saving water and electricity, and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. These can all be summarised by this overarching concept:

Reduce your level of consumption of the Earth's finite resources.

Vote for me in the Singapore Blog Awards 2013!



In case you missed my previous announcement, The Lazy Lizard's Tales is a finalist in this year's Singapore Blog Awards. I'm one of ten bloggers competing in the Panasonic Best Eco-Challenge Blog category, and really need all your support. Here's how to vote:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Flashback: wildlife news in 1960s Singapore

WhaleSharkClifford
A 6 metre long whale shark (Rhincodon typus), shot by police after it was trapped at a kelong near Pulau Sebarok in 1964. This is the only record of this species in our waters;
The Straits Times, 7 June 1964

This year's theme for the Singapore Blog Awards is "60s Fever", and I thought it would be nice to take a look back at what it was like for Singapore's biodiversity in the 1960s.


Singapore's Master Plan from 1958. Some of the Southern Islands are not included in this map.


Singapore, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) Master Plan 2008. You can see how much our coastline has changed since 1958.

Singapore got wildlife, meh?



It's a question that anyone involved in nature outreach in Singapore is bound to encounter someday. Yes, despite this country being a small island that has undergone lots of development, lots of wildlife still survives or even thrives in Singapore! If you've ever pondered this question yourself, here's a video that was first screened at last year's Festival of Biodiversity.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chained to Our Roots (22nd-23rd June 2013): an appeal to protect Singapore's own rainforest

Chained to Our Roots - 1
Chained to our Roots - 2

Teresa Teo-Guttensohn, a Singaporean eco-artist and Dr. Vilma D'Rozario, Celine Low, and Andrew Tay, together with their group of nature-loving friends, will be part of an eco-performance where they will be chained to a tree for 24 hours, to appeal for the Cross Island Mass Rapid Transit Line to be re-routed such that it will not run through our precious rainforest at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

When: 3 pm Saturday, 22nd June to 3 pm Sunday, 23rd June 2013
Where: Speakers' Corner, Hong Lim Park

Festival of Biodiversity 2013: 13th & 14th July @ VivoCity!


Mark your calendars, for the Festival of Biodiversity is back!

After the success of last year's inaugural Festival, we're hoping to reach out to even more people, highlight the wonderful wildlife and important green spaces that we still have here in Singapore, and encourage people to play a more active role in protecting and conserving our natural heritage.

When: 13th-14th July 2013 (Saturday and Sunday), 10am-10pm
Where: VivoCity, Level 1 - Central Court B and West Boulevard

Do you know that Singapore is home to more than 400 species of marine fishes? Do you know that Singapore is also home to 250 species of hard corals, which is almost one third of the diversity found in the world? Do you know that species such as the horseshoe crab and the banded leaf monkey can be found in Singapore? Join us at the festival to explore and learn more about Singapore's rich biodiversity!

Join us in the many exciting activities we have in store for you at the festival, and find out how you can play a part in conserving our biodiversity. By participating in the festival, you can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Singapore's rich biodiversity, its benefits, and relevance to us in Singapore.
If you missed last year's Festival, here are some highlights:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Cross-Island Line: why does it have to go through a Nature Reserve?

HSBC Treetop Walk
(Photo by coolinsights)

Over the years, Singapore has lost more than 99.5% of its original forest cover. Whatever little that remains is now concentrated in a few key areas, and preserves much of our surviving native rainforest biodiversity. The Central Nature Reserves, encompassing the forests of Bukit Timah and those surrounding the reservoirs in the Central Catchment Area, form the final refuge of many plant and animal species that have since vanished elsewhere on the island. As Nature Reserves, they receive the highest level of protection that any green space in Singapore can have.

And yet, as many of us in the nature community found out earlier this year, even being gazetted as a Nature Reserve does not grant immunity from urbanisation and development.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The marvels of nature macro photography: a workshop by Nicky Bay

WARNING: Do not continue reading this post if you are entomophobic or arachnophobic. If you do not know what these terms mean, carry on. You'll find out if you actually are.

Macro Photography Workshop Poster

My friend Nicky Bay is holding a couple of workshops on macro photography, and I thought it would be great to help publicise these workshops. More details are provided in his blog post.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fun Learning with Panasonic: Go Eco, Get Crafty


(Photo from Panasonic Singapore)

I have plenty of old t-shirts from different stages of my life, from the P.E. attire that I wore in secondary school and junior college, to those that I received for participating in freshman orientation activities in university. And there are loads of others that I just don't wear anymore, simply because I've outgrown them, or the print has faded.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Chek Jawa with special guests

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The Naked Hermit Crabs spent an enjoyable Friday morning with some special guests on the Chek Jawa Boardwalk.

Hazy Friday

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The haze is back! Oh dear. This was the view that greeted us this morning when we'd reached the top of the Jejawi Tower at Chek Jawa. Much of Pulau Tekong is obscured by the thick haze, and we can't even see the hills of Johor beyond.

A quote worth sharing...

Just a quick post, but I saw this in my Facebook news feed, and thought that this was worth sharing.


"If you really think the environment is less important than economy try holding your breath while counting your money."
- Dr. Guy McPherson

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday (20th June 2013), 7-10pm: Nature and the Big City by The Leafmonkey Workshop

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The forest and the city: the view along the Southern Ridges;
(Photo by PKPix)

Nature and the Big City

How can we have nature in Singapore city? What is the history and process of urban planning and development in Singapore? How can we manage the trade-offs between conservation and development?

When: Thursday, 20th June 2013, 7.00pm - 10.00pm
Where: Civil Service College, 31 North Buona Vista Road, Singapore 275983

More info here

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Singapore's Underwater Meadows: a talk by Dr. Len McKenzie



Earlier this evening, I attended a talk by Dr. Len McKenzie of Seagrass-Watch. As mentioned in my earlier post about seagrasses, Dr. Len has had many years of experience working on this threatened marine ecosystem, and I learnt a lot from him.

Friday (14th June 2013), 7-9pm: "Do the Math" Movie Screening



Join 350 Singapore and EcosystemSG for this free movie screening about the rising movement to change the terrifying maths of the climate crisis and challenge the fossil fuel industry.

When: Friday, 14th June 2013, 19:00-21:00
Where: EcosystemSG, No. 3 Jalan Kledek, Singapore 199259 (near Bugis MRT Station)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Seagrasses of Singapore (Part 3)

A4 Poster: TeamSeagrass--crazy about seagrasses!
(Click to enlarge)

In my previous post on seagrasses, we explored some of the reasons why seagrass meadows are important habitats, and also looked at some of the threats that seagrasses face. In this final part of the series, I'll show you some local efforts to better understand seagrasses so that we can protect them.

Seagrasses of Singapore (Part 2)

Various seagrasses
The leaves of various seagrass species found in Singapore;
(Photo by Ria Tan)

In the previous post, we took a look at seagrasses, some of the places in Singapore where you can find them, and also went through the ten species of seagrass recorded in Singapore in recent surveys. In this post, we'll find out why seagrass habitats are so important, and some of the threats they face.

Seagrasses of Singapore (Part 1)

Seagrass meadows of Cyrene overlooking Jurong Island
Lush seagrass meadows of Cyrene Reef;

In my earlier post on World Oceans Day, I mentioned seagrass meadows as one of several marine habitats that can still be found in coastal areas of Singapore. But what are seagrasses? Why are they important? And what can we do to protect them?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

World Oceans Day: Protect the Ocean (Part 2)



In the previous World Oceans Day post, I talked about some of the threats that the ocean faces, why the sea is important to us here in Singapore, and how our marine environment has changed in recent times. Despite the development and destruction of many of the habitats that once existed here, marine life has managed to survive, and in some places, even thrive.

World Oceans Day: Protect the Ocean (Part 1)



Today is World Oceans Day, a day where people around the planet celebrate and honour the body of water which links us all, for what it provides humans and what it represents.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

World Environment Day - Think.Eat.Save



Today is World Environment Day, and this year's theme is related to food.

How is food relevant to the environment, you may ask.

Adopting environmentally-friendly practices in our daily lives can take on many different forms - whether it means reducing your energy consumption, reusing items like bottles and containers, or simply sorting your trash so that some of it can be recycled. But how many of us have really paused to think about the environmental impacts of the food we eat?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Of Boar and Men: My article on POSKOD

IMG_5816

Chek Jawa is home to many creatures large and small, but few other animals manage to thrill and excite visitors like the resident herd of friendly wild boar (Sus scrofa vittatus). Feeding has made some of the pigs very used to humans, and it is now common to see sows with piglets out in the open, allowing people to get very close to them. Such habituation has its benefits, and there have been countless peaceful interactions between wild pigs and humans, but there is an uneasy tension. With some of the wild boar starting to approach people to beg for food, are people at risk of being harassed or even attacked? And are visitors aware of how to behave appropriately around wildlife so as to allow this coexistence to continue? I write about this interesting relationship between humans and wild pigs in my first article for POSKOD.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'm a finalist in the Singapore Blog Awards 2013!

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Knobbly sea stars on Cyrene Reef;

The Lazy Lizard's Tales is a finalist in this year's Singapore Blog Awards!

I'm one of ten bloggers competing in the Panasonic Best Eco-Challenge Blog category.


My profile picture is that of one of the resident wild pigs of Chek Jawa.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Review: Sony Xperia Z



Note: I was recently invited to test the Sony Xperia™ Z and write a review, which is up on the Sony Mobile SG Facebook page. I don't usually do product reviews for this blog, but because I find that this is a device suitable for people who spend a lot of time outdoors, I thought it's appropriate that I share it here as well.

A smartphone can be an essential tool while hiking in the forest, whether as a backup camera, GPS, getting the latest updates on the weather, or simply sharing your adventures with friends via social media. As someone who loves the outdoors, spends a lot of time close to water, and relies heavily on my smartphone to stay connected, one of the biggest headaches I often face involves keeping my phone safe and dry, regardless of the terrain and weather. Sure, there are waterproof cases for many smartphone models out there, but these can be expensive and cumbersome. And one can never know when ziploc bags might spring a leak.

When I first heard about the Xperia™ Z, the main feature that caught my attention was its supposed water-resistance. Given that I have a tendency to get caught in the rain, or have my gear immersed in a stream or lake, I knew I had to put it to the test.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Happy birthday, Sir David Attenborough


(Comic by Bird and Moon)

Sir David Attenborough turns 87 today (8th May), and I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to the man who has played an integral role in stoking my fascination for the natural world.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pulau Ubin: Explanation, and Final Remarks


A house at Kampung Melayu, Pulau Ubin;
(Photo from TODAY)

After the kerfuffle over the last few days, with lots of voices of indignation and outrage being expressed on many different platforms, and even an online petition, there's finally a clarification about what was thought to be plans to evict some of the residents on Pulau Ubin.

I am glad that there is finally some explanation, and even happier that it was not the worst-case scenario that many of us had feared. Still, in light of all this information, there are some points to be made.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Should we care about Pulau Ubin? Seeking views and comments

Kampung
One of the houses at Kampung Melayu, Pulau Ubin;
(Photo by Pod Boy)

Yesterday's post on the planned eviction of some of the residents on Pulau Ubin received a lot of attention. I haven't been able to keep track of what others are saying about the whole matter, especially on Facebook and various online forums, but I'm glad to see that a number of people care about what happens to Pulau Ubin.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Eviction of residents at Kampung Melayu, Pulau Ubin: What's happening?

Kampong house at Kampong Melayu
Kampung Melayu, Pulau Ubin;
(Photo by Ria)

Pulau Ubin is often described as the last remnant of a Singapore that has all but vanished everywhere else, a place bypassed by the decades that feels as it must have done in colonial times.

Of course, this is largely a myth: the Ubin I now visit on a frequent basis is quite different from the Ubin I visited as a child in the 1990s. Change is constantly taking place on Ubin, even if we're not always immediately aware of it; familiar faces vanish, buildings change hands and exterior decor, and trees fall as a result of both storm and chainsaw.

But sometimes, there are signs of even greater upheaval lying in wait, hints of policies that some fear will destroy or irrevocably alter the Ubin that so many of us have grown to love and appreciate.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Year of the Snake!


Schneider's dog-faced water snake (Cerberus schneiderii), Pasir Ris;

According to Chinese astrology, this year is associated with the Element of Water, so it's supposed to be the Year of the Water Snake.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Storks at Seletar

A few weeks ago, Singapore saw the arrival of a species of stork previously unrecorded from our island, the Asian openbill (Anastomus oscitans).

(Update 19th March 2013: A paper with details about the behaviour and movements of the small flock of Asian openbills in Singapore has just been published in Nature in Singapore)

openbill stork
Asian openbills, Seletar West Link;
(Photo by ltk2505)