Tue 25 May 2010
Ship collision and oil spill in the Singapore Strait
Category : marine
In 1997, the oil tanker Evoikos and he very large crude carrier Orapin Global collided in the Singapore Strait, resulting in the worst oil spill of Singapore's history spill of 28, 500 tonnes of heavy marine fuel oil form the Evoikos.
In 2000, the oil tanker Natuna Sea went aground at Batu Berhanti Reef in Indonesian waters (8km south of Sentosa Island) spilling 7,000 tonnes of Nile Blend crude oil.
In 2004, cargo ship MV Hyundai No. 105 collided with oil tanker MT Kaminesan in the Singapore Strait, six km south-east of Sentosa. The MT Kaminesan was carrying a large load of crude oil but fortunately this did not result in a spill.
This morning (0605h), the tanker MT Bunga Kelana 3 collided with bulk carrier MV Waily at about 6.10am in the Singapore Strait, 13km south-east of Changi East. The spill from MT Bunga Kelana 3 is estimated to be in the region of 2,000 tonnes of crude oil.
"MPA activated oil spill response companies which have deployed three craft equipped with oil spill equipment. Work is ongoing to contain and clean up the oil spill." [MPA News Release, 25 May 2010]
Mon 24 May 2010
Make Singapore an endearing home? How about we "cherish and safeguard our built and natural heritage"
Category : conceptplan
The Focus Group on Sustainability and Identity for the Concept Plan Review 2011 presented their "Summary of Preliminary Recommendations" on 6th May 2010 for pubic feedback. You can read the entire document and submit your feedback by 25 May 2010 at http://spring.ura.gov.sg/conceptplan2011/publicforum/
One question the focus group addressed was "Making Singapore an endearing home - Singapore is famous for being clean, green, safe, and meticulously planned. What is it about Singapore, however, that makes it special‚ endearing‚ to us, and how can we keep it that way?"
The focus group responded with two suggestions, here is the first:
CHERISH AND SAFEGUARD OUR BUILT AND NATURAL HERITAGE
Read the entire document and submit your feedback by 25 May 2010 at http://spring.ura.gov.sg/conceptplan2011/publicforum/
Tue 13 Apr 2010
"Trash Travels," the 2010 International Coastal Cleanup Report
Category : coastalcleanup
13 Apr 2010 - Ocean Conservancy releases Trash Travels: From Our Hands to the Sea, Around the Globe, and Through Time, the only global snapshot of the marine debris problem facing wildlife, economies and marine ecosystems. See the Ocean Conservancy page for a summary. To read the full report, download the 11MB pdf here.
Thu 25 Mar 2010
Fri 16 Apr 2010: 5pm-7pm @ NUS - "Zoological Explorations in Singapore"
Category : talks
In celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity 2010,
"Zoological Explorations in Singapore"
Fri 16 Apr 2010: 5pm-7pm
Venue: Lim Seng Tjoe Lecture Theatre (LT27)
Registration is required, please register at: http://evebiod.rafflesmuseum.net/
For the abstracts, please click the image above or see the
5:00 pm - Introduction and talk by Professor Tommy Koh
So, do they look like their animals?
Wed 21 Oct 2009
Mammal sightings in Singapore
Category : nature
Animal sighting records have always been an important resource - over time, these can contribute to public awareness and education, suggest student research projects and supplement research in conservation and management projects.
So any mammal record on land, sea and air is useful and large marine animals too - this includes turtles and interesting fish!
We would love to receive photos, of course, please send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This data will be shared with other vertebrate researchers and managers in Singapore. Highlights may be featured on Habitatnews from time to time (if the records are not confidential), e.g. http://tinyurl.com/habitatnews-mammal
Your contribution is greatly appreciated, thank you!
N. Sivasothi & Xu Weiting
Wed 05 Aug 2009
Summary of Natural History, Heritage and Map exhibitions
Category : events
"Two Minds, One Theory, An Exhibition"
Hunters and Collectors: The Origins of the Southeast Asian Collection
Vignettes in Time: Singapore Maps and History through the Centuries
For all this and more, see WildSingapore Happenings.
Mon 27 Jul 2009
Exhibition of Singapore Maps @ NLB, 01 Aug - 31 Oct 2009
Category : heritage
1st August - 31st October 2009, Level 10, Exhibition Area, National Library Building
"This exhibition depicts Singapore as seen through cartographers, geologists, mariners, military generals and town planners. Beginning with the arrival of the British and merchants from the nascent East India Company, to military strategists of Imperial Japan and postwar city planners, Vignettes in Time provides snippets of little-known histories.
Organisers: National Library Singapore & Singapore Heritage Society
Fri 29 May 2009
300 entangled horseshoe crabs rescued at Mandai Besar mangrove
Category : marine
Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda is one of four species of horseshoe crabs in the world. It is found in the inshore waters of the Indo-West Pacific and associated with the mangrove-mudflat ecosystem. In Singapore waters, from eyewitness accounts alone, their numbers have depleted significantly since the 80's. This is not unexpected given the massive quantity of habitat loss and increased pollution over the past three decades along the Johor Straits.
They still are found in the mangrove-mudflats of north-western Singapore, off the Johor Straits. However, nearshore fishing is unregulated, and Mandai mangrove and mudflats are not provided with any special protection by the law. It's fate appears to be undecided as yet. Meanwhile something else threatens its ancient denizen.
Telsons poking out of the net give an indication of the number of trapped animals in this section of a long net
Frequently over the past decades, monofilament gill nets have been left behind over several tidal cycles in several mangrove patches in north-west Singapore. These poorly frequented areas without popular access are commonly only visited only by recreational fishermen and researchers. Fishermen normally harvest fish caught in a gill net after a single tidal cycle as the dead fish would rot very quickly. However, many nets I have encountered are unattended for days and are regarded as "ghost nets". Entangled fish will die once exposed but arthropod mangrove residents, can survive trapped in the net for several tidal cycles. Eventually it is the heat of the sun during the exposed low tide or starvation that kills them.
In several instances, I have found entire lengths of "ghost nets" with the still-trapped carcasses of animals in an advanced state of decay. In other instances, I have been fortunate enough to detect them early enough to release the living indiviudals. A few of such instances are featured in Habitatnews over the years, e.g. in March 2005 and July 2008. Members of the Nature Society Singapore Horseshoe crab research and rescue team scour Kranji mangroves on a quarterly basis to release trapped individuals as well [link].
Given the reduced population size of these Xiphosurans ("sword tail"), the the impact of indiscriminate capture by gill nets has been heightened and it tragic to see the senseless slaughter of these animals, mirroring the larger-scale problem in the world's oceans.
Two nights ago (27 May 2009) I chanced upon a gill net and the sound of horseshoe crabs struggling to be free at about 11pm. My labmates from Ecolab and myself had been in the area for about four hours and were leaving as the tide rose. Regretfully, we left behind the trapped horseshoe crabs.
I reassured myself that the incoming tide would keep them relatively safe, even if they could not bury themselves.
The next morning I returned alone to release the animals, thinking it would be a one or two hour job as was usually the case. Instead I discovered I had badly miscalculated the numbers trapped in the darkness of the previous night. And I had come directly without help or breakfast! But it was getting hot so I decided I'd best just work as fast as I could.
Mandai Besar mangrove, 27 May 2009
In the end it took five hours (8.45am - 1.45pm) to remove some 300 mangrove xiphosurans from a 100 metre gill net. They were in relatively good condition, being able to struggle reasonably vigorously. There was no mortality except for predator attack (possibly heron) on a two mature gravid females. Otherwise the other females were not full of eggs.
I cut the net into several sections and dragged them into different lengths of a stream through some thigh-deep mud. I turned the thick bundles over every couple of hours (or when I thought the carapace looked alittle too dry) to ensure that all the individuals were kept wet. Thankfully there were intermitted clouds that reduced that stress on the animals. I cut out an individual at a time, removing the entangled net with the help of a pair of scissors.
I tried to keep the cuts to a minimum to reduce littering the mud with short lines. By first removing the main tense filaments restricting the animal, the scissors was then used like a pair of forceps to pull loose any line entangled amongst its segmented legs. This often required cuts at either ends to remove knots before pulling a line free with the scissor tip - it helped that I was using a narrow-point scissors with a slightly dulled blade tip.
I had to be careful not to cut and injure a grasping leg or a telson - the latter looks like a twig so I kept saying to myself, "there are no twigs"! So the release was a very deliberate exercise and it was important to be vigilant while working quickly. Sand grains and the filaments were wearing into my skin and I was thankful the water was brackish and not salty.
As each animal was cleared of all filament, it was released away from the net to prevent re-entanglement - horseshoe crabs can move away quite fast in precisely the wrong direction sometimes! I bundled the net fragments away from the stream for collection later. Thunder crabs and forceps crabs were set aside as they require a much finer pair of scissors and would take too much time. Those I would bring back to the Systematics & Ecology lab at NUS for release and return later.
It was hot and I ran out of water but that spurred me to work faster before these creatures dried up. By creating sections, I turned a large job into a series of smaller jobs to encourage myself with intermediate success. By 10.30am (1 hour 45 minutes) I estimated that I had released over a hundred horseshoe crabs. By then I was sitting in the mud and pretty much covered with it as bending over and even squatting was too tiring.
As the tide rose, I went back to turn over individuals that had returned to a belly up position. I was encouraged when I saw some crawl off but did not examine them. As they were submerged, I cleared the cut nets and stuffed them into large plastic bags I found amongst the trash on the forest floor. Rain threatened but did not come, unfortunately. Eventually, the last individual was released about five hours after I had first started.
I dreamt of them later and woke up in the middle of the night hoping they were all okay.
Until the next ghost net appears.
Thu 21 May 2009
Envirofest 2009 and the handing over of The Blue Plan
Category : events
Sat 23 & Sun 24 May 2009 - Envirofest @ Toa Payoh Hub from 11am to 8pm will include the handing over of The Blue Plan, a proposal by civil society for an integrated and balanced conservation of Singapore’s Marine Heritage, to Minister Yaacob, the Guest of Honour at the official opening ceremony on Saturday 23rd May 2009 at 3.00pm. Everyone is welcome.
Envirofest is an annual celebration to share information about Singapore's biodiversity and environment with the public at large. Guiding and activities at the exhibition will be conducted from 11am to 8pm on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th May at the HDB Hub, Toa Payoh (above the MRT). Raffles Museum Toddycats will be down in force over the two days and about 40 of us will turn up for various shifts over the two days.
At 3.00pm on Saturday, 23rd May 2009, Envirofest will be declared open by the Guest of Honour, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), Dr Yaacob Ibrahim. Shortly after, the finalised version of the Blue Plan (which has been circulating for public comment) will be handed over to the Minister for the government's consideration. The Minister is also co-chair of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Sustainable Development (IMCSD).
This will mark the final act of the International Year of the Reef Singapore.
Entry is free and amidst the hustle and bustle of Toa Payoh Hub, friendly guides are on hand to escort and engage visitors to Envirofest around the arena as well at each exhibit. Free tickets and sign-ups for nature events around Singapore will be offered.
Envirofest is a happy collaboration between groups from the non-governmental community, government agencies, businesses and schools. This is also a good opportunity to learn about and from various biodiversity groups in Singapore who will be manning booths and introducing Singapore fauna and flora to the public with the use of specimens from the Raffles Museum, games and guiding. Throughout the day, you will be able to interact with passionate volunteers manning the various booths. This year the biodiversity guides will pepper a trail of ecosystems from terrestrial to mangrove to marine.
Find out more at: envirofest.wordpress.com.
Thu 23 Apr 2009
The Draft Blue Plan - released for public feedback
Category : marine
IYOR 2008 has released the Draft Blue Plan today. [Click to download]
"The Draft Blue Plan is a proposal to the Government and people of Singapore from the members and organizations that form “International Year of the Reef (IYOR) 2008 Singapore” – interested members of civil society concerned about the conservation and management of Singapore’s coral reef heritage. Contributions and advice from the leading marine biologists in Singapore have been incorporated. It was released on 23 April 2009. Members of the Public can download a copy of the Draft Blue Plan here.