Mon 27 Nov 2006
Wed 29 Nov 2006: 6.30pm - Nest fidelity & Conservation of Bintan's Turtles
Category : marine
IOSEA Year of the Turtle Seminar
Multi-Purpose Hall, Pierce Road (see map below)
I: "There's No Place Like Home: Investigating Nest Site Fidelity in Leatherback Sea Turtles (Dermochelys coriacea)."
II: "Bintan Resorts Turtle Conservation Initiative: identification of issues and preliminary results."
Host: Jeffrey Low
Talk 1: "There's No Place Like Home: Investigating Nest Site Fidelity in Leatherback Sea Turtles (Dermochelys coriacea)"
By Eric Nordmoe
About the talk - Do nesting leatherback sea turtles have a favourite spot on the beach? While there is general consensus that a female leatherback typically returns to nest at her natal beach, there is less certainty about whether she displays fidelity to a specific location on the beach. As leatherback populations in many areas of Asia are declining, the answer to this question may have important implications for sea turtle conservation methods. Using individual nest site selection data collected over 13 seasons at a nesting beach in Central America, I will discuss applied statistical modeling work investigating whether leatherbacks do indeed exhibit "nest site fidelity," the tendency to repeatedly nest at or near the same location on their nesting beach. Possible implications for conservation efforts in Asia will be considered.
About the speaker - Eric Nordmoe is an Associate Professor of Statistics at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. After completing his bachelorŐs degree in economics at the University of Chicago in 1981, he worked in the market research industry for seven years. He returned to academics and completed at PhD in statistics at Northwestern University in 1993. He was a lecturer in Singapore with the department of economics and statistics at NUS from 1993 to 1996.
Since 1996, he has been with Kalamazoo College in the US teaching introductory and advanced statistics courses and carrying out research in statistics education and applications. In 2002, he began collaborating with a student and a biologist colleague studying leatherback sea turtles nesting in Central America. He was delighted to find that his experience developing models to study brand loyalty in market research applied directly to the problem of investigating site fidelity in sea turtles.
Since 2002, he has been actively involved in the application of statistical models to the analysis of sea turtle nesting data. He has continued this work during his sabbatical year 2006 as a visiting scientist with NIE/NTU with the immensely valuable support of his host, Professor CH Diong.
Talk 2: "Bintan Resorts Turtle Conservation Initiative: identification of issues and preliminary results"
By Ranan Samanya
About the talk - An effort to bring back the good old days of the turtles in northen Bintan Island, Indonesia, was initiated by Bintan Resorts back in 2004.
Potential landing sites were determined, and a hatchery was set-up. Several issues encountred during the course of time were identified, and the paths being taken to overcome them are discussed. Preliminary results of the three years work in turtle survey and hatchlings releases are also explained.
The IOSEA Year of the Turtle Committe, Singapore is a partnership between several government bodies, university institutions and non-governmental organisations in Singapore: NIE/NTU, Underwater World, BWV, WildSingapore, AVA, NParks, NSS and NUS RMBR.
National Biodiversity Reference Centre,
National Parks Board
Mon 31 Jul 2006
Sea Turtles to be released in the South China Sea for satellite-tracking
Category : marine
See the Channel NewsAsia article.
In commemoration of the Indian Ocean - South East Asia (IOSEA) "Year of the Turtle", Underwater World Singapore (UWS) has collaborated with the National Institute of Education (NIE)/Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to launch a Sea Turtle Conservation Gallery and released 12 sea turtles fitted with satellite-tracking devices.
Dr C H Diong, a professor with National Institute of Education/NTU, will be releasing the 12 turtles fitted with tags into international waters in the South China Sea in an effort to study aspects of their biology and migratory behaviour.
If the turtles look a mite restricted, not to worry. They are in a cargo ship right now, heading out to the South China Sea. By the late morning of Tuesday, 1st Aug 2006, they will be released and be free-swimming once again.
Where will they go hence? Diong and others will be monitoring the sea turtles and hopes to share approximations of their positions on the internet.
The turtles were of three species - the Loggerhead Caretta caretta, Olive Ridley Lepidochelys olivacea and Green Chelonia mydas. Two loggerhead turtles were brought to Underwater World Singapore as hatchlings from Nagoya, Japan. After nine years of captivity, will they eventually head back to Japan? More details soon.
Meanwhile, Prof Leo Tan's welcome address included a whimsical comment on the persistent arrivals of mature female turtles to lay eggs in Singapore, after the 20-40 years it has taken them to mature. Singapore has a lot to offer even to migrating sea turtles, let alone our youth!
Sat 29 Jul 2006
"God gave us such a beautiful gift. Why are we destroying it?" - PM Malaysia
Category : malaysia
"Lay off Sipadan." By Elizabeth Looi. The Star Online, 27 Jul 2006.
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lashed out at Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman for going ahead with the RM4.5mil clubhouse project at Pulau Sipadan despite his objection.
Thanks to Hey Adrienne! via Little Straycat.
Fri 14 Jul 2006
Two dead turtles, guts choked with marine rubbish (Australia)
Category : coastalcleanup
"Turtles choked with marine rubbish." University of Queensland News Online, 12 Jul 2006.
A recent spate of small turtles washing up on Australia's eastern shores has highlighted concerns about marine debris by scientists and animal welfare groups.
Note: If you feel motivated to do something about it, the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore is looking for volunteer coordinators!
Fri 14 Jul 2006
Sat 15 Jul 2006: 3pm - "Dolphins, Turtles and Otters"
Category : marine
Woodlands Regional Library, 3.00pm, Sat 15 Jul 2006. "Dolphins, Turtles, Otters and Other Secrets of Singapore!"
"Trekking in the mangroves, I spied a Smooth otter swimming silently through a river channel. Resting on sand ledge, a crocodile took in the warm rays of the sun. Dolphins burst through the waves,sea cows grazed the sea grass offshore and turtle hatchlings struggled over sand to reach the waves and safety of the sea."
Join zoologist N. Sivasothi a.k.a. Otterman, Research Officer, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research as he reveals these unbelievable scenes and more secrets of Singapore's marine life.
Free admission and no registration is required. Organised by Eco@Woodlands, National Library Board. Contact: National Library at 6332 3255
Tue 20 Jun 2006
Traffic Southeast Asia and WildAid commend Singapore's actions
Category : trade
"Singapore's Harsh Penalties Set Regional Precedent Against Wildlife Smuggling."
Kuala Lumpur, 18 Jun 2006 - Singapore's seizure of an illegal cargo of freshwater turtles on June 13 was the first significant confiscation since the island State's revised Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 2005 (ESA) came into force on March 1, 2006 [see report in The Straits Times, 17 Jun 2006].
Thanks to Loretta Ann Soosayraj (Communication Consultant, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia) for the press release; thanks to Nick Baker of Ecology Asia for the photo.
See also: "Wildlife Trade in Southeast Asia. WWF, 02 May 2006.
Sat 17 Jun 2006
"Jail and fined for shipping endangered turtles"
Category : trade
"Jail and fined for shipping endangered turtles." The Strait Times, 17 June 2006.
AN INDONESIAN boat captain was jailed for five months and fined $20,000 yesterday for transporting more than 2,000 endangered turtles without a valid export permit.
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!
Mon 01 May 2006
02 May 2006: 10am - Pilcher on "IOSEA Year of the Turtle: The Sea Turtle Crises and Singapore"
Category : marine
"IOSEA Year of the Turtle: The Sea Turtle Crises and Singapore"
Host: C. H. Diong,
All are welcome!
About the talk
Populations subject to long-term conservation measures are starting to rebound. Governments are becoming more aware of management intervention needs. Scientists and conservationists have taken great strides in the past three decades to better understand turtles, to better conserve them. Our ability today, as the highest order of our planetŐs meta-ecosystem, to take mitigating steps in the decline of turtles has never before been so strong. What can each of us do? How can we have a positive impact in a similar far-reaching manner as the turtle harvests and make repairs for times past? This talk will explore some of the options and opportunities to interact with conservation initiatives which will benefit turtles in our seas, wherever they may be from.
About the Speaker
Nicholas has a PhD in marine turtle conservation from Southern Cross University in Australia, and has been in Malaysia for the better part of the last thirteen years. He spent seven of those based in Kuching, Sarawak, where among other things he published a book on Layang Layang and edited another on marine turtles of the Indio-Pacific. Dr. PilcherŐs work on turtles has spanned much of the globe, and today he is the Co-Chair of the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group, the worldŐs authority on sea turtle conservation and biology. He is married to a Sabahan, Carmen, and together they juggle the complex web of projects a the Foundation and the raising of their three children.
"The Indian Ocean - South-East Asia (IOSEA) 'Year of the Turtle - 2006' aims to unite nations and communities to celebrate marine turtles and to support their conservation. While increasing public awareness and understanding of the threats faced by marine turtles, the campaign will also highlight the work of dedicated organisations that are striving to conserve these ancient creatures and the habitats on which they depend. With a theme of Cooperating to Conserve Marine Turtles - our Ocean's Ambassadors, it is hoped the campaign will be a milestone in the conservation of marine turtles and their habitats of this vast region. The YoT campaign will begin officially on 1 March 2006, and will run through to the end of 2006.
In Singapore, a Year of the Turtle working group has just been formed. Comprising members from National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, National Parks Board, Underwater World Singapore and Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, it hopes to initiate a series of local events to promote awareness about sea turtles, marine conservation and local efforts.
Fri 10 Feb 2006
Campaign to reduce wastage of plastic shopping bags
Category : coastalcleanup
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore coordinators Wei Song (Zone Captain), Airani (Data Manager), Chen Kee (Zone Captain) and Angeline (Dy Coordinator) responded to a last minute call to action just last Saturday and redesigned posters and recruited Toddycats for an event by NEA tomorrow.
Vilma D'Rozario of the Nature Society (Singapore) had asked for help to promote the issue of marine plastic litter and its impact on wildlife at the National Environment Agency's launch of "Why waste plastic bags, choose reusable bags" campaign at Parkway Parade Shopping Centre on Saturday, 11 Feb 2006.
The ICCS team will be sharing a booth with long time partners Nature Society (Singapore) and Raffles Girls Secondary School. With the help of a few more Toddycats who will be taking shifts at the booth, they will inform and educate the public about the problem with trash on our shores. Look out for updates on their blog.
Is there a problem?
What the data tells us
The three most frequent types of marine litter are styrofoam debris, cigarette butts and plastic items! Currently shoreline activities and washout from drainage systems play a large part in contributing to the waste buildup.
Consumers - both the problem and the solution
The immediate factors that contribute to the consistent amounts of plastic bags found along our shores are:
The mantra of reuse, reduce and recycle, and adopting alternatives have to be emphasized to curb the problem of marine litter. It is hoped that we can create awareness, inculcate a sense of social responsibility and influence consumer's choice in order to direct change.
Death by plastic
"Marine trash, mainly plastic, is killing more than a million seabirds and 100,000 mammals and sea turtles each year." - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Sea turtles are also known to ingest plastic bags floating in the sea, mistaking them to be jellyfish, one of their main food sources, and dying as a result.
The strength of plastic materials also caused many marine animals to be trapped, entangled or strangled when caught in it, such as abandoned fishing nets, nylon strings, 6-pack drink holders.
The actions of humans have had a direct and negative impact on the natural environment for decades and this has been amplified by plastic.
Marine animals are unable to protest or sound out their plight to us and it is thus up to us to raise this issue and clean up the mess.