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 https://lkcnhm.net/dead-wildlife/.

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.”


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