The post SG50 intern — Han Shen!

We have a new intern! Introducing Han Shen, a recent University of Queensland graduate, who will be with us for the next three months helping out with Toddycats events and LKCNHM communications.

And just in time too, for Pesta UbinBalik Chek Jawa, and Festival of Biodiversity 2016!

As with Sankar and Lynn, we’ve asked Han Shen to write a self introduction. He’s wishing he has a good stint with us!


About Yourself

Hello! My name is Han Shen, I am the new intern with the LKCNHM! I am passionate about all things nature. This love for all things green and wild led me to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Conservation and Wildlife Management at the University of Queensland in 2013. I have been working in Canberra, Australia for the past 2 years monitoring kangaroos, reptiles (skinks, bearded dragons & occasionally snakes), frogs and native grasses as part of the Australian Capital Territory’s (A.C.T) kangaroo research & management program and discovering the intricacies of ecological interactions! I have also volunteered with the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra looking after marine creatures, reptiles and amphibians of various assortments! When I am in Singapore, I love to go out with friends and family to track in the far-flung pockets of green scattered all over the island.

What you are looking forward to

I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge on the treasure trove of Singapore’s biodiversity. I am also looking forward to working with nature enthusiasts at the Museum and being able to share and receive new insights on Singapore’s rich natural history. With this experience of working behind the scenes at the museum, I feel that this will equip and further grow my knowledge in environmental outreach and to help people appreciate nature through these events.

What you can see happening in the next few months

I can see myself being very busy with planning for all the exciting and upcoming events such as the Festival of Biodiversity. Likewise, I will be regularly helping to post events, interesting and unique discoveries on the Museum’s social media platforms and blogs. I can see myself running around and being involved with nature walks and other outreach events such as Ubin Day and getting enthused with sharing to the wider community about protecting and treasuring our local natural heritage.



Internship position open

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum seeks a full-time intern to help organise volunteer outreach activities for 2016

Duties and responsibilities

You will assist with the administration, communication, and implementation of outreach events organised by the museum, including event planning, publicity efforts, and logistics support, and volunteer coordination.

They include, but are not restricted to, Love MacRitchie activities, LKCNHM gallery guiding, Ubin Day 2016, Festival of Biodiversity.

Skill sets requirements

The ideal candidate should be interested in nature and the environment in Singapore, and is comfortable interacting with members of the public.

Enthusiasm and the ability to work independently is a requirement, as is basic design skills, experience in web publishing, and familiarity with google docs.

Interview date: From 1 Feb 2016 (to be confirmed)

Internship Information

Duration: 6 months from commencement of position.

How to apply: Send your CV (inclusive of personal statement to) to Dr. Joelle Lai at by 29 January 2016.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for the interview.

Missed that pangolin roadkill!

I had just gotten into the museum, ready to do preparations for the long-awaited Toddycats Retreat and planning for the upcoming Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium IV.

As I sat at the Front-of House of the Museum, I received a message on the Toddycats Interns chat. Siva had written, “I need someone to pick up a dead pangolin near Jalan Kampong Chantek.” I excitedly replied that I was free. Siva instructed me to get gloves, two trash bags to hold the carcass and a plastic bag to dispose the gloves in. I dropped everything and headed up to the office. Mr Chua, the Curator of the herbarium, was kind  enough to help me get all the necessary PPE and even gave me some face masks to wear while retrieving the carcass.

Once I had put everything into a ziploc bag, I rushed out and took a cab to Jalan Kampong Chantek. On the way, I read the email that Siva had forwarded to me.

A vigilant bicyclist had come across the pangolin roadkill along Dunearn Road, in between the turn-in to Jalan Kampong Chantek and a bus stop. He had taken this photograph.


Photo credit: Jimmy Tan. Original image can be accessed here

The cyclist had also informed NEA of the roadkill via the OneService Mobile App. I wanted to get to the carcass as soon as possible before it was cleared up by NEA. Pangolins are exceedingly rare creatures and every specimen is useful for research and outreach. And Sivasothi aka Otterman is still sore about missing a pangolin carcass despite rushing down to retrieve it, 16 years ago!

Alas, by the time I reached Dunearn Road, there was no pangolin to be found. All that was left was a recently washed patch on the otherwise dry road. I walked up and down the entire stretch to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.

Although I had failed to retrieve the carcass, I did manage to cobble together a PPE kit for future use.

If you see a wild animal carcass, you can report it to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at

In Habitatnews 99-05 (Tue 19 Jan 1999), Sivasothi aka Otterman wrote:

—–> [1] Dead Pangolin sighted: Adam Road, Wed 13 Jan 99: 7.30am
“Saw a pangolin dead on the west side Adam Road (lower slip road) on the way to school this morning (7:20 am, 13 Jan. 1999) just before the new flyover ends going north. Near the BP station. [I. e. Adam road between BP Station and Arcadia Road].

Much blood–obviously hit by a vehicle. Could not stop because of time and heavy traffic. Could you please pass this info on to those keeping mammal data.” — R. Frazier, via email.

COMMENT: The Malayan Pangolin (Manis javanica), is a toothless, scale-covered, insect eating mammal, also known as the Scaly Anteater (Family Pholidota). It is an uncommon mammal found in the Central Catchment and elsewhere in scrubland. Termites are part of its diet, and it has strong claws which can dig into the hardened mounds.

I attempted to recover the body for the Raffles Museum but was there too late (about 10am); ENV cleaners had already been there. If you do see roadkills, please call the Raffles Museum (874-2876; leave your name and contact number for Siva) and we will try to recover the body, or at least the skull for preservation in the museum. This sort of data is invaluable.

You have to be quick in calling us in the morning, for ENV cleaners are active between 6am and 1pm. We will inform ENV of our specific interest for we have similarly missed the recovery of a Sea Cow (dugong) from Changi Beach.

When you do make your roadkill report, please ensure it is not a cat, dog or rat! And most importantly, keep your eyes on the road – it is more important that you complete your journey safely than to spot roadkills.”

The 4th Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium – 24 five-minute presentations and 30 posters! (Sat 01 Aug 2015)

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is pleased to announce the Fourth Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium (BoSS IV) to be held on Saturday, 1st of August 2015: 8.30 am – 4:30 pm. The symposium will be held at UTown Auditorium 2 (Stephen Riady Centre) at the National University of Singapore.

We are really pleased that our Guest of Honour will be non other than the Minister of State for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, who has been very active in this arena and always encouraging of youth engaged in biodiversity research and education.

BoSS IV showcases a cohort of young and passionate folks who have stepped up to study and champion various aspects of Singapore’s biodiversity in four, one hour-long sessions. 24 speakers will excite you through snappy five-minute presentations with news and developments in the field. And we just had to include a special update about the Singapore Whale.

The symposium tradition is maintained with two hour-long teas featuring 30 posters, and of course sumptuous food to promote interaction and collaboration! Programme details can be viewed at

There is a registration fee is $10 for adults and $6 for students (includes grad students!) Please register at, which has cash, electronic and cheque payment options.

Do inform colleagues, friends and acquaintances who may enjoy this interesting approach to getting quickly acquainted with some aspects of biodiversity research and education in Singapore.

Make a difference – Toddycats eulogised by Joseph Koh during NUS Life Sciences commencement!

Mr Joseph Koh, aka Spiderman of Singapore, is a distinguished alumni of the Faculty of Science who has been very active in conservation since retirement from a distinguished career in government service. As such, he has observed local natural history scene including the activity of undergraduates in public education. and research.

Joseph Koh NUS Commencement 10 Jul 2015

During the commencement ceremony for Life Science graduates, he talked about “Making a difference” and highlighted their efforts in nature conservation, through Toddycats and NParks.

Indeed just this year alone, we have seen them actively contributing to Ubin Day, the Festival of Biodiversity, numerous Year-Round Coastal Cleanups, Love MacRitchie walks, OtterWatch Bishan, Operation No Release, Bukit Timah patrol, Kent Ridge Heritage Trail and the Himalayan Mutt fundraiser. They do this as pure volunteers, as this is not an incentivised volunteer group.

Joseph had this to say about “Making a Difference”:

“My third life lesson is that we will be warmed with joy if we try to make a difference in whatever we do.

Here, I am not trying to preach that we should change the world, level up inequalities, touch the life of others, or do something to reduce global warming. These lofty ideals are good. We should contribute where we can.

To me, “making a difference” is simply a state of mind: we just need to resist our natural tendency to keep things going, to carry on business as usual.

It means we constantly remind ourselves not to fall into the trap of mindlessly following the crowd, mindlessly copying precedents, and mindlessly doing “more of the same”.

Such a state of mind has simply made my job, and that of many of my public service colleagues, more satisfying.

We were happy that we had not ended up as just another robotic gate-keeper, another defender of the status quo.

With this consciousness to make a difference, it became natural for us to constantly find new ways to work smarter, encourage our junior colleagues to think more creatively, inspire them to be more curious and more passionate, and get everybody to grow and blossom.

And you don’t have to be in the government to make a difference for Singapore and Singaporeans.

Today, I can see that many passionate Singaporeans are already making a difference towards nature conservation through their voluntary work.

Some of them are here, sitting in front of me as part of the graduating class, or as young academic staff “arrowed” to attend this ceremony.

They organise and participate in river and coastal clean-ups. They blog about our jungle in jeopardy, the biodiversity of our seashores, and the plant life in our “city in a garden”. They volunteer as toddy-cats, or as NParks nature guides, helping out in biodiversity surveys and taking children, “uncles” and “aunties” out for nature walks.

Many of them brave the scorching sun, thunder storms, sinking mud, and for those doing marine surveys, wake up at two am in the morning just to catch the low spring tide before sunrise.

They may not realise it themselves, they are actually making a difference by igniting the passion of the next generation of Singaporeans to better appreciate and protect our precious natural heritage.

I salute all such people.”

The full text of Joseph’s speech can be viewed here: Joseph Koh NUS Commencement – speech, 10 Jul 2015.pdf.

Well done to all the undergraduates who have been contributing as volunteers in NUS Toddycats, NParks, BES Drongos, Naked Hermit Crabs and various other groups. Keep up the good work!

Toddycats are now preparing for the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium IV.

Photo by Dr. Jeffrey Low.

NUS Toddycats at the Festival of Biodiversity, 27-28 Jun 2015!

27 & 28 Jun 2015 – NUS Toddycats were out in full force at the Festival of Biodiversity – a team of 69 volunteers, doing eight shifts over two days engaged the public at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) and International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) booths at Vivocity from 10am to 10pm!

DAY 1 (27th June 2015)
At 7.30AM, the first shift of Toddycats arrived at Vivocity and in an hour, set up booths, put up posters and tables and arranged the carefully transported specimens from the museum.

The Festival was graced by MOS Desmond Lee, who launched the Marine Conservation Action Plan, to better protect Singapore’s marine ecosystems. After the Festival had been officially opened, Mr Lee walked around the Central Court to visit the booths!


The Specimen Transport Team at the LKCNHM Loading Bay


Toddycats engaging the crowd at the LKCNHM booth


Teaching children about Singapore’s amazing marine biodiversity!


One of the Toddycats sharing storis with MOS Desmond Lee about plant specimens.

After the official opening, the crowd continued to visit the booths. Toddycats regaled the public with stories about the specimens and answered questions.


The Common Palm Civet Intern, Claudia Ang, with the juvenile Civet specimen.

The Toddycats also had two Bug Boxes on display, to highlight bugs of Singapore and fascinating visitors with stories!


Bugs are cool!

At the end of Day 1, as we packed up, some Toddycats were still going strong after 12 hours!


Sofina Ng talks about the baby dugong to a visitor even as the specimens are being packed away!

Day 2 began with fresh faces arriving to help set-up! Re-energized, the volunteers continued to engage the public. The crowd was large and relentless. Many families and groups approached us with pertinent questions about Singapore’s biodiversity.


The crowd was relentless, but the Toddycats were up to the challenge!

Once again, volunteers were excited to share stories about wildlife in Singapore. Toddycats were also selling tickets for the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium IV.


Lynn Ng, the Toddycats-SG50 Intern manning the BoSS IV Booth!

Many people who were interested to find out more about recent happenings in Singapore’s Green Scene came by to buy tickets, and we look forward to seeing them at the event in a month’s time!

Toddycat volunteers themselves loved the specimens and displays.


Alvin Wong posing with the Bug Box!


Erin Tan, holding the massive fruit cluster of the Nipah Palm!

The Festival of Biodiversity was also an opportunity for Toddycats to meet up which one another again.


A Toddycats reunion!

At the end of the Day 2, the remaining volunteers packed up the specimens and took stock. But not before arming ourselves with a favourite specimen for a group photo.


NUS Toddycats have been active participants of the annual Festival of Biodiversity. Although always exhausting, it is one of the most meaningful outreach efforts we are part of. We certainly look forward to the Festival of Biodiversity 2016!

Packing for the Festival of Biodiversity @ Vivocity this weekend!

It’s finally here! NUS Toddycats head down to Vivocity tomorrow morning, bright and early with our haul of specimens from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

The interns have been busy pulling out additional specimens and ensuring all are in order for action this weekend and it’s all ready now!

Join us and many other nature groups on our massive annual public outreach with NParks in celebration of Singapore’s biodiversity, to (hopefully) more than 10,000 people over Saturday and Sunday, 27-28 Jun 2015.