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Wed 24 May 2006

Hawksbill turtle hatchling rescue at East Coast Park

Category : marine

23 May 2006 - NParks was alerted by a member of the public at about 9pm - about turtle hatchlings crawling inshore and getting stuck in drains! Derek Yap of NParks called me and I called others and soon a bunch of NParks staff, the members of public who originally alerted us, staff and volunteers from Raffles Museum, Nature Society (Singapore) and Blue Water Volunteers joined hands to scour the area of hatchlings.

After three hours, we managed to salvage and release 76 from the track, drains and shore. Two died and one will be preserved and deposited into the Raffles Museum's Zoological Reference Collection.

I called resident turtle expert C H Diong from NIE/NTU; he was of the opinion a nesting site was nearby; but we were unable to find it. NParks staff will try to look for it again in the morning. He also suggested we release the hatchlings the same night, but allow them to crawl down a dark beach and head into the sea. Finding a dark beach in Singapore is not easy and we settled for Changi Beach extension which was relatively near.

It was wonderful seeing the hatchlings swim away but we wondered if they'd make it out to sea; the light pollution from the shore disorientates this animal that would otherwise follow starlight out to sea and relative safety.

It was heartwarming to note that the original group of youth who saw the turtles clambered all over the track had helped to collect the turtles, call NParks, find pails, clamber head first into the drain etc., and had even tried to return the turtles to sea. Their final act was possibly thwarted by the presence of artificial lights on shore that sent the hatchlings in the wrong direction in the first place.

The marine volunteers who were activated at sudden notice all turned up cheerful and eager to help. When we finished at about 1am, they thanked me for alerting them! Had there been more hatchlings, I'd have rounded up more than the dozen who came and I know they would have come enthusiastically just like these ones did. There are a lot of people out there with a lot of heart!

If any of the hatchlings survive the many trials of life at sea, they will eventually return to Singapore in about 30 years! Wonder what sort of shore will greet them then. And I wonder too, about their mother, who silently came ashore one night, without detection and laid he clutch.

Thanks for the date correction, Jeff Low. This was posted at 3.25am after I came back, and it was a struggle to stay awake long enough to string sentences together. Kept fallling asleep mid-sentence, waking up and getting it wrong all over again!

Posted at 9:11AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Wed 24 May 2006

Dinosaurs! Symposium, Thu 25 - Sat 27 May 2006: 2pm - 6pm

Category : talks

As part of the "Dinosaurs! A T. rex named SUE and friends" Exhibition jointly organised by NUS Faculty of Science and the Singapore Science Centre, a group of dino-hunting speakers have been brought down to add a personal touch to the exhibition with some real-life stories! This three day symposium is being held from Thu 25-Sat 27 May 2006: 2pm-6pm.

Entry to the symposium is free. The normal ticket charge to the exhibition appiles: $10/adult; $8/child (3-12yrs old). This allows you entry in to the rest of the Singapore Science Centre as well. To register, just email specialevents@science.edu.sg

The speakers are passionate experts with interesting experiences and stories:

Day 1: Thu 25 May 2006: 2pm - 6pm

  • Welcome by Dean FoS, NUS & Director, SSC
  • Peter Larson (Black Hills Institute of Geological Research) - "Controversy and Science in the Life of a Palaeontologist"
  • Christopher Brochu (University of Iowa) - "The Dead Speak: Lessons from a Tyrannosaur"

Day 2: Fri 26 May 2006: 2pm - 6pm

  • Peter Makovicky (The Field Museum) - "Sickle-clawed dinosaurs of the Southern Hemisphere."
  • Xu Xing (Institute for Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology) - "In search of BirdŐs Ancestors."
  • Peter Larson - "Variation and Sexual Dimorphism in Tyrannosaurus rex."

Day 3: Sat 27 May 2006: 2pm - 6pm

  • Christopher Brochu - "The Myth of the Living Fossil"; or, "Why Crocodiles Are Better Than Dinosaurs."
  • Panel discussion - "Future Directions in Dinosaur Research." Moderator: Peter Ng; Panel: Christopher Brochu, Peter Larson, Peter Makovicky, Xu Xing

Symposium details and speaker's background available at the Dinosaurs! webpage.

Ticket Discounts for NUS

  • NUS staff and students get a 10% discount on admission for a max of 5 persons per visit with your staff/student card.
  • Faculty of Science staff, students and alumni get 20% discount on admission for a max of 5 persons with a coupon obtainable from the FoS or department offices (if you need help, email me at: ).

For blog posts on the Dinosaurs! exhibition, see Raffles Museum News.

Posted at 5:11AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news