on 24th July 2013

Appeal to Singapore’s Land Transport Authority to re-route the proposed cross-island MRT line away from the MacRitchie forest – sign the petition HERE.

“In all my years of exploring Singapore’s forests, I must admit that I have only encountered the native Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica) in its natural habitat just once or twice. Each and every encounter with this unique mammal is always unforgettable, as they are mostly shy and elusive by nature.

“I will always remember that magical night in January 2010, when we chanced upon this enigmatic creature in search of food (ants and termites) within the MacRitchie forest. This mature individual was preoccupied with demolishing an underground nest that it had just discovered (above).

“Despite the little forest that is left in Singapore, we are indeed privileged to have Pangolins still wandering about the Nature Reserves. Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Pangolins have not been so fortunate. Due to increasing demand for the Pangolin’s meat and scales, uncontrolled hunting and rampant trafficking of this mammal has escalated in our neighbouring ASEAN countries. In the last 15 years, there has been a probable decline of 50% in Pangolin populations in the region. As such, the species has been categorised as Endangered under the IUCN Red List LINK

“Just recently, the first IUCN-SSC Pangolin Specialist Group Conservation Conference was conducted here, hosted by Wildlife Reserves Singapore from 24th to 28th June 2013.

“A public seminar was held on 28th June (above), with presentations by four key personnel actively involved in pangolin conservation. They included (below, from left to right) Chris Shepherd, Jonathan Baillie, Dan Challender and Razak Jaffar.

“In the presentation by Dan Challender, it was revealed that more than 218,000 pangolins had been seized between the years 2000 and 2012 in South and Southeast Asia! The vast majority of this was en route to China as the final destination.

“In the presentation by Razak Jaffar, we were reminded that the key threats faced by Pangolins in Singapore are: (a) loss of habitat and (b) road mortalities. How true indeed, as we witness green areas being potentially reduced and replaced by plans for road, rail or residential developments.

“At the public seminar, a large-format poster summarising the plight of Pangolins was also on display (above).

“Indeed, Pangolins in Singapore deserve all the protection that we can give them, with the Central Nature Reserve remaining their stronghold. In order to remind yourself and inform others about our local Pangolins, please feel free to download this A4-sized poem poster pdf at this LINK. You may print this out and paste it up anywhere, from your classroom to your bedroom, in your office cubicle or on the notice board. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about this native endangered species and helping to spread the message.”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
5th July 2013

Earlier Posts:
1. Saving MacRitchie forest: A youngster’s view LINK
2: Introduction LINK
3: Flying Lemur LINK
4: Mammals LINK
5. Fragile frogs and tender tadpoles LINK
6. Refuge for reptiles LINK
7. Eco-performance LINK
8. You can’t see the wood from the trees LINK
9. Sanctuary for spiders LINK
10. Chained to our roots LINK
11. Plants LINK
12. Birds and their status.LINK
13. Mushrooms LINK
14. Butterflies, jewels of the forest LINK

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

9 Responses

  1. In our study of tagged pangolins, we monitored a female pangolin with young. The female pangolin made use of dens associated with large trees (DBH > 50cm). Thus, it appears that pangolins may require mature trees to support their denning needs during the reproductive phase. More details are available in the article:

  2. I’m a fan of your blog. I spent a summer in Singapore 20 years ago as a steudnt, and had the opportunity to visit some of the sites you feature. I love the diversity you’re finding, and am intrigued by the colugos, which I had hoped to see but had no luck. It’s great to know there are so many. (At least it seems a lot to me, given the size of Singapore and human footprint there.) Quirky creatures in many ways, including how they cling to trees.Thanks very much for the vicarious thrills.

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