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N. Sivasothi,
a.k.a. Otterman,
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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Thu 22 May 2014

Submit your record of Lyssa zampa, the tropical swallowtail moth, in Singapore

Category : nature

The tropical swallowtail moth Lyssa zampa emerges in peak numbers every April to August. The numbers vary each year and are not always noticed, but 2014 appears to be a year of mass emergence, and may the largest since the mass emergence of 2005.

We have collated records of observations through Habitatnews since 2005 and welcome you to add your record of this phenomenon!

If you have seen Lyssa zampa,
please fill in the form at tinyurl.com/habitatnews-records
and send your photos to habitatnews@sivasothi.com.

Don't stop there - share the photos with your friends through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (nudge me at @sivasothi). Encourage them to spot Lyssa zampa around Singapore and submit their records too!

Thank you!

Sivasothi aka Otterman

Lyssa zampa at National Library Building, Level 10
Photo by Gan Su Lin, 22 Mar 2014


Posted at 12:13AM SGT by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Wed 09 Apr 2014

Wed 16 Apr 2014: 6.30m @ NUS LT25 An Evening of Biodiversity: "The Secret Lives of Mammals" (poster)

Category : events

Thanks to Yong An Nee of the Department of Biological Sciences for another one of her lovely posters which you can download here as a pdf. Remember, if you can join us on Wed 16 Apr 2014: 6.30pm - 8.30pm at NUS LT25, please register here!

20140409-EOB II poster for Habitatnews

Posted at 8:36PM SGT by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Tue 08 Apr 2014

Evening of Biodiversity 2014

Category : events

I am glad to announce "An Evening of Biodiversity: The Secret Lives of Mammals in Singapore” presented by six young graduates of the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. They share with us short stories about wild mammals from their recent student research and their hopes for Singapore's wildlife and heritage.

Come and be surprised by the stories about Singapore's wild leopard cats, small mammals, smooth-coated otters and the common palm civet. The graduates, Amanda Tan, Chloe Tan, Marcus Chua, Meryl Theng, Fung Tze Kwan & Xu Weiting do this as part of a desire to contribute to public awareness and the protection of our fragile ecosystems.

And they look forward to entertaining the audience!

An Evening of Biodiversity will be held on

Wed 16 Apr 2014: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Lecture Theatre 25 (next to the Science Canteen)
Science Drive 2
National University of Singapore
Please RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/eob2014-reg

Map: http://map.sivasothi.com
(Parking is available at Car Park 10 across the road)

Veteran vertebrate naturalist Yeo Suay Hwee of the Nature Society (Singapore) had these kind words for the group,

"I hope this kind of presentation become a tradition where I can see more and more young scientists and new graduates/undergraduates ready to contribute in protecting our fragile wildlife and the habitat."

I look forward to your company.

Do RSVP if you are able to join us and feel free to forward this invitation to family, friends and colleagues.

Thank you!


Sivasothi aka Otterman
N. Sivasothi
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore

About the talks

Small mammals have rarely been studied in Singapore and after over a decade Amanda Tan conducted a study of the diversity and abundance of small mammals around the Eco-Link. Once again the value of our unique, precious and fragile Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was demonstrated and the importance of the new forest connection with the Central Catchment realised.

Chloe Tan took small mammal exploration island-wide for the first time, documenting diversity in nine sites of varying forest quality. Eight species and three habitats later, she realised we cannot be hasty about connecting all our green areas - what were her concerns?

Sometimes we conduct surveys just for completeness. But on April Fool's Day no less, the eyes of a leopard cat gleamed at Marcus Chua from amidst the undergrowth. After more than four decades, three populations provide relief about the longevity of this rare species but new issues emerge for our attention.

The smooth-coated otter ("anjing ayer") returned to Singapore in 1998 exactly as predicted - Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, where these fish-eaters enjoyed prawns too! In the northeast, otters spread from Pulau Ubin through Punggol and eventually south to Marina Bay! Meryl Theng tracked the otters, not only by foot but through the enthusiastic and generous submissions of Singaporeans delighted at the return of this wild carnivore.

The common palm civet is a wild carnivore nestled in our backyard but surprisingly poorly understood. At Pulau Ubin, poop-specialist Fung Tze Kwan was surprised to discover that civets favoured the fruits of the common fish-tail palm and improved the growth of its seedlings! When adopted as the logo of the Raffles Museum, the toddycat was entwined with a palm leaf – little did we realise this poorly studied pair was linked in an ecological partnership which may prove to be relevant in habitat restoration in the future.

As wildlife spreads in this garden city, they feel the pinch of space too. As Xu Weiting studied wildlife-human interactions, orphan civets needed care and the protocols which arose went online and helped civets elsewhere in Southeast Asia too! This furry animal is not always greeted with delight, sometime conflict arises. Awareness of these neighbourhood acrobats has helped to transform fear to delight and a hope in the hearts of young researchers of a future of greater co-existence.

Posted at 11:18PM SGT by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Wed 12 Mar 2014

Heron Watch - participate in the second island-wide survey of resident herons of Singapore

Category : events

Singapore's second island-wide count of herons will be conducted on Sat 05 Apr 2014, from 7am - 10am. The public is invited to participate by contributing sightings of herons in our neighbourhoods, canals and wooded parks.

Learn about herons, differences with similar looking birds, and their habits and biology at a training session on Sat 29 Mar 2014 at Singapore Botanic Gardens. All are invited to learn, just sign up by email with Yap Xinli (YAP_Xinli@NParks.gov.sg).

This assessment is important as Singapore's heron habitats face a variety of disturbances. So establishing a baseline is important. Large public participation in simultaneous counts with consistent methods will help establish a snapshot estimate of the bird population in Singapore.

Read about the first census conducted last year - "Where have all the herons gone?" By Grace Chua. The Sunday Times, 10 Dec 2013 [pdf].

Posted at 4:48PM SGT by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Mon 03 Feb 2014

Sat 15 Feb 2014: 7.00am - The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk

Category : events

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk
Sat 15 Feb 2014: 7.00am - 12.00pm

With the Raffles Museum Toddycats,
volunteers of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research,
Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, NUS

It is 13th February 1942, the Japanese troops which have stormed through Malaya have invaded Singapore.

Approaching Singapore City from the west, a seasoned Japanese army is forced to engage the small force of the Malay Regiment on the high ground of Pasir Panjang Ridge.

A fierce battle ensues amidst the confusion from the aerial bombardement, burning fuel, loss of communications and the early deaths of senior officers trying to keep their men coordinated.

The soldiers of the Malay Regiment battle on for nearly two days and a company is wiped almost to the last man by the numerically superior Japanese on the eve of Chinese New Year.

The next day, on 15th of February, 1942, General Percival marches down Bukit Timah Road to surrender to General Yamashita of the Japanese Imperial Army at the Ford Factory.

The National University of Singapore is built on parts of old battle ground and still contains a WWII military outpost that strategically oversees Jurong, Bukit Timah and Singapore City. In 1954, the ridge was renamed 'Kent Ridge,' and the old stone marker commemorating this event can still be seen today.

The accounts of the battle on Kent Ridge left a strong impression on the Pasir Panjang Heritage Guides, and thus we commemorate the Malay Regiment's defense of the ridge every year. We will share with you stories about the Battle of Pasir Panjang, the geography, history and the flora and fauna of the area that first drew us to explore the ridge decades ago and how the ridge got its name.

Our route takes us through the National University of Singapore, Kent Ridge Road, The Gap and Kent Ridge Park. We end at Reflections of Bukit Chandu, which is managed by the National Heritage Board.

Everyone is welcome if you can wake up early enough and are physically fit enough to walk some 5km at a moderately quick pace and climb some stairs.


  • Please register so we have an idea of numbers, your contact and emergency contact and are able to contact you about last minute updates.
  • Fill in the form at: http://tinyurl.com/bpp2014-reg
  • Meet us at the University Cultural Centre at 7.00am [map: http://tinyurl.com/map-nusucc]
  • This is a five hour walk and it can be hot in parts so please bring at least one litre of water and some sandwiches or snacks. It can always rain so do bring an umbrella too!


Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk, 13 Feb 2011
To explore the map, visit Google Maps

Posted at 8:49PM SGT by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Fri 25 Oct 2013

Register (free) for the Climate Change Challenges in Cities Workshop, 18-19 Nov 2013 @ NUS LT32

Category : events

All are welcome - practioners, students and the curious alike. Organiser Amy Choong says,

"I invite you and your colleagues to attend this workshop on Climate Change Challenges in Cities. For more information on the programme and speakers, and to register, please go to climatechangechallengescities.wordpress.com.

This workshop is free but please register so that we can cater the right amount of food. Please help forward to your colleagues if they are interested in this topic. Thank you and I look forward to seeing you."

Find out more and register at: http://climatechangechallengescities.wordpress.com


Posted at 6:51PM SGT by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Thu 01 Aug 2013

The "Marine Life and the Impact of Plastics" lecture (Sat 03 Aug 2013) and the Post-National Day Mangrove Cleanup (Sat 10 Aug 2013)

Category : coastalcleanup

Sat 03 Aug 2013 @ NUS LT 32
"The Marine Life and the Impact of Plastics lecture"

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore Coordinator N. Sivasothi aka Otterman will regale the audience with fascinating tales of local marine life in Singapore including recent records and local programmes which help to protect these animals.

He will highlight the impact of marine debris and plastics in particular, drawing from a field of scientific research and data from cleanups from around the world. This is the 22nd year of the International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore, and he will discuss what the data tells us.

Should we give up? Is the problem insurmountable? Have we made any progress? Hear the discussion about local solutions, methods which have worked at cleanups and at practises at work.

Be a part of national effort to be considerate to the environment and to love Singapore a little more!

Saturday 03 August 2013: 9.00am – 11.00pm
Lecture Theatre 32 [map], National University of Singapore.

Take SBS Bus 95 from Buona Vista MRT.
park at Car Park 10 or University Hall, off Lower Kent Ridge Road.

Please REGISTER at tinyurl.com/iccs-lecture



NJC Green Seminar -25feb2011.key

NJC Green Seminar -25feb2011.key

ICCS2011_02-The impact of marine debris

ICCS2011_02-The impact of marine debris

ICCS2011_02-The impact of marine debris



NJC Green Seminar -25feb2011.key

ICCS Data 2011

Saturday 10 Aug 2013 @ Lim Chu Kang mangrove
The Post-National Day Mangrove Cleanup

Celebrate our National Day by joining the annual mangrove cleanup at Lim Chu Kang!

Saturday, 10th August 2013: 0745 (bus pick up) - 1100 (return)
Sign up by Wed 7th Aug 2013 at the
ICCS News webpage

Lim Chu Kang mangrove is a beautiful and unique patch of unprotected mangrove in Singapore, facing the Western Straits of Johor. The mangrove has educated decades of students and it holds many stories about animal and plant life and heritage in Singapore. In 2008, it was revealed that the Sungei Buloh Master Plan would include the Lim Chu Kang mangroves.

Trash from the Johor Straits deposits on this Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove regularly and various individuals and groups help to tackle this burden through organised cleanup throughout the year. The post-National Day Mangrove Cleanup is an important exercise which helps protect and maintain this precious patch of mangrove.

We'll provide gloves and transport, you come with a strong heart and eager hands to do a good job. For details and to sign up, check the announcement on ICCS News.

Objectives and Safety Briefing at Lim Chu Kang Road end

Get into action immediately!



Weighing trash

Disposal of trash
Pre-NDP Lim Chu Kang Mangrove Cleanup 2011

Summary of the morning's effort and debrief
Pre-NDP Lim Chu Kang Mangrove Cleanup 2011

Posted at 1:18PM SGT by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Mon 29 Jul 2013

Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat Workshop, 31 Aug 2013

Category : events

This workshop is being organised to share research highlights from various groups and individuals who have conducted scientific studies at Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat, past and present.

Mandai mangrove and mudflat, was the domain of mainly zoological research in the 90's. Since then it had become an area of scientific interest to a wider community of scientists and revealed studies in botany, zoology, ecology, geomorphology, geography and analytical chemistry.

The organisers hope this workshop can be a time for the community to share their work, past and present, with scientists, naturalists and anyone concerned about this significant ecosystem in Singapore.

The presentations will be abstract-like, kept very short time to allow a diversity of work to be shared in a single day. It already promises to be full day passionate presentations! If you have queries, contact mandaimangrovemudflat@gmail.com

Everyone is welcome, so join us! Visit the webpage to sign up, at mandaimangrovemudflat.wordpress.com


Posted at 6:08PM SGT by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Thu 18 Jul 2013

Nature Society (Singapore) Cross Island Line: Discussion and Position Paper

Category : news

18th July 2013 - since the "Chained To Our Roots" event on 22-23 Jun 2013, a petition has been circulating which you can read and sign if it reflects your views, at tinyurl.com/lta-crl.

Today, we applaud the release of this position paper by Nature Society (Singapore):

Nature Society (Singapore) releases a discussion and position paper on the Cross Island Line - link

In January 2013, the Ministry of Transport announced plans for an MRT line called the Cross Island Line (CRL) that will be completed around 2030. Running about 50 km from Changi to the Jurong Industrial Estate, the Cross Island Line will be Singapore’s longest train line.

As unveiled, the CRL passes through the southern section of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR), near MacRitchie Reservoir, as it goes from Sin Ming to Bukit Timah.

The Nature Society (Singapore) (NSS) believes that engineering investigation and construction works for the Cross Island Line will severely degrade ancient, species-rich and highly complex ecosystems.

The Nature Society recommends that the design alignment be adjusted to avoid crossing the Reserve.

Of particular concern is the fate of primary forest remnants that the Cross Island Line will traverse if built as presented. Less than 0.2% remains of the lowland rainforest that originally covered most of Singapore. The remnants are too scarce and take too long to regenerate to risk damaging them.

In addition, the stream systems through which the Cross Island Line passes are especially vulnerable. Though these habitats are currently protected as part of a Nature Reserve, they are nonetheless now threatened unless the Cross Island Line is rerouted.

The Nature Society (Singapore)’s Discussion and Position Paper on the Cross Island Line is available from today for downloading from the Society’s website (nss.org.sg).

Questions on the NSS Discussion and Position Paper can be directed to crl@nss.org.sg or 6741-2036.

The NSS spokesperson for its position on the proposed Cross Island Line is Mr Tony O’Dempsey.

Download the full position paper from the NSS webpage.

NSS Cross Island Line

Posted at 8:41PM SGT by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Fri 21 Jun 2013

Chained to Our Roots petition & picnic: "Reroute the Cross Island Line to protect our oldest forests" - Sat 22 Jun 2013: 3.00pm @ Hong Lim Park

Category : events

"Chained to Our Roots" by Teresa Teo Guttensohn, is an art protest event with mass chaining to tree web chain to present an appeal LTA to re-route the proposed Cross Island MRT Line (CRL) which would otherwise damage some of our oldest forests in Singapore. The picnic and event will take place on Sat 22 Jun 2013: 3.00pm @ Hong Lim Park and is open to all Singaporeans and PRs only.

In January this year, LTA announced proposed new MRT lines to be built by 2030. To our considerable shock, scrutiny of the proposed 50km Cross Island Line (CRL) revealed it would cut through the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. No mention was provided of the potential problems of sedimentation, hydrological variation, edge effect and fragmentation.

The announcement was a complete surprise to all of us, and gave no indication to Singaporeans of the value of the protected nature reserve it was cutting through. It would seem we need to look no further than our nature reserves, to contend with forest loss.

Since then, LTA has initiated a conversation with naturalists in Singapore. But while the CRL remains a proposal to cut through the central catchment, individuals and groups realise realise they have to stand up to address this proposal to promote the realisation of the cost of this action.

Teresa Teo Guttensohn is an eco-artist from Singapore who has decided a letter will be an inadequate gesture to communicate the seriousness of this appeal. So she has organised an eco-picnic to be held at Hong Lim Park this Saturday 22 June 2013. Everyone is invited to attend and picnic with like-minded friends, and witness the eco-art performance at 3.30pm.

Teresa wil be tied to a tree for 24 hours.

Note that only Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents are allowed to attend the event.

Teresa Teo Guttensohn is also organising a petition to support her statement to LTA, which you can sign at the event:

"If you can't join us on Saturday, and would like to act for our rainforest, please read the link below and sign our online petition to LTA. Together, we can make a difference! Please act now."

Posted at 6:56AM SGT by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Read more ...

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