About the name – NUS Toddycats! are volunteers with the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore. The name comes from the common palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), the last wild carnivore in terrestrial urbanised Singapore.
The logo of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (1999–2014) was that of a toddy cat on a palm leaf and the significance of this is explained here. With the change of the museum name in 2014, the name of this volunteer group was changed from Raffles Museum Toddycats! to NUS Toddycats!
The original toddycat drawing on the museum logo was based on an abandoned common palm civet kitten which was rescued from ants at an army camp and brought in to the then Department of Zoology in 1996. A few of us cared for the animal and gave this civet the name “Toddy”. Tragically he was killed by a dog.
About the programme – Toddycats! is meant to expose, develop, enthuse and apply individuals to programmes in conservation, education and research. The programme, originally conceived in 1999, meant to contribute towards capacity building of undergraduates in NUS, to provide them with an immediate means to contribute socially and meaningfully towards the greater good of nature and the environment in Singapore. The programme is now open to anyone who can fit our schedule, in the recognition of the diversity of people who would like to contrite and that all you need is enthusiasm and commitment!
The Toddycats! engage in public education through:
- Exhibitions – we introduce the layman to Singapore’s existing wildlife at public exhibitions using specimens from the Raffles Museum. On special occasions, we conduct guided tours at the Raffles Museum’s Public Gallery.
- Nature and heritage trails – these introduce the layman to natural history and heritage through guided walks (or rides) at Pulau Ubin, Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve and the Southern Ridges.
- Public seminars and symposia– we share exciting tales about Singapore’s biodiversity and heritage through informed, current and energetic presentations.
- Webpages & Blogs – to provide information resources online for all to use.
- Active partnerships with other groups, agencies and institutions on programmes, events and national strategies and action plans that achieve common goals.
- Coastal Cleanups – we coordinate the annual International Coastal Cleanup Singapore and Year-Round Coastal Cleanups.
Read more about our origins and public education strategy in this 2005 article “Toddycats! – the birth of the Raffles Museum Volunteers“.
To learn more, see our Programmes page.