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

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Tue 01 Jun 2004

Priscilla of Chek Jawa is no more

Category : news

Priscilla first surprised me in the darkness of the early morning surveys at Chek Jawa in July 2001. A "tame wild boar"! Originally called 'Wei Wei", Chek Jawa (CJ) volunteers, unaware of her name, decided to call her Priscilla. So Priscilla the Pig it was!

This true resident of CJ was an old friend, turning up at every trip, venturing out even as far as the sandbanks to nuzzle out edible creatures in the sand. When she was missing, we'd ask each other, "Have you seen Priscilla today?"

During guiding trips, I'd keep my eyes open for her casual gait in the distance, so as not to be caught by surprise - then I could reveal her presence with a dramatic flourish. Jaclyn of SZG docents writes that Priscilla would either "sexily slink by you or thunderbolt [past] in the most boar-ish manner". Visitors would be completely distracted, loved the sight of her and would pose with her for photos! Joseph Lai called her the First Lady of Chek Jawa!

She charmed government ministers and other VIPs who visited Chek Jawa in 2001 and 2002 and earned a honourable position in the front page of the Chek Jawa guidebook. After the walk, the VIP group would slurp down Ubin coconut water, and the fleshy fruit would be chopped up for Priscilla to enjoy.

Sadly, rangers found her dead on 27 May 2004, roughly a year after she had been first reported as injured [pdf]. She was buried where she was found, next to the access to Chek Jawa's shoreline.

All of us, visitors and guides alike, will remember her with fondness. RIP Priscilla.

Posted at 9:10AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news