Author Archives: otterman

Let’s be conscious consumers – choose RSPO-certified “haze-free” palm oil! [pmhaze.org campaign]

The People’s Movement to Stop Haze pmhaze.org notes the most popular restaurant chains in Singapore use palm oil and not RSPO-Certified cooking oil. We are thus contributing to the haze with the demand for oil palm products which are not attempting to minimise impact to the environment.

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NUS Toddycats! supports PM.Haze‘s call to be conscious consumers by selecting products that uses RSPO-certified “haze-free” palm oil — palm oil produced responsibly by companies which do not engage in haze-causing activities such as burning and deforestation.

You can support the call to switch to RSPO-certified palm oil. Head over to pmhaze.org to sign the petition and learn more.

Happy National Day from mangrove cleanup volunteers!

Read about the 2016 Pre National Day Mangrove Cleanup at the ICCS blog.

Celebrate National Day with a coastal cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove

Every year, volunteers with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) celebrate National Day with a coastal cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove. This year we will be working on Saturday 6th Aug 2016: 8.00am – 10.30am.

To join us, Sign up here by 1st August 2016!
Transport will be provided from Kranji MRT to the cleanup site @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove

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For more details, see the ICCS blog.

Sun 05 Jun 2016 – Journey to the East with Pedal Ubin! (30 places)

Sun 05 Jun 2016: 8.00am – 12.00pm – NUS Toddycats, volunteer guides of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum are offering Pedal Ubin’s Journey to the East for Balik Chek Jawa.

This event is part of the month long 2016 Pulau Ubin Open House, now rebranded as Pesta Ubin – check out the truly amazing list of activities offered by the community to the public on Pulau Ubin.

The Pedal Ubin team will head to Chek Jawa with 30 participants to enjoy the special open house planned there by the community and will include a guided tour of the boardwalk and the fun activities at House No. 1. On the way we cycle through the sensory trail, past old plantations, old kampongs, forest, quarries and mangroves, stop for a coconut or two and hear stories of Ubin’s wildlife, past heritage and present conservation efforts.

This ride is partly on dirt roads with slopes so is slightly technical ride, and not suitable for very weak cyclists. Participants must be at least 12 years old and can rent their own bicycle on Pulau Ubin, from shops in front of the Wayang Stage.

More details and for registration, see Eventbrite.

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This is the 15th year of Pedal Ubin. It was run from 1998 – 2009 and restarted in 2014 for the annual Pesta Ubin.

Discover Pulau Ubin during Pesta Ubin, 14 May – 12 June 2016!

“Pesta Ubin” is the 5th iteration of Ubin Day and offers a wonderful array of activities by more than 30 groups who enjoy nature, heritage, adventure and recreation activities on Pulau Ubin. Many events are offered free of charge to share the joy of this unique island with Singaporeans.

For more details, see the Pesta Ubin blog and facebook pages.

Pesta Ubin 2016

The festival starts on the 14th of May 2016 with a Chek Jawa boardwalk tour, a basic mountain-biking course, and an evening at the Wayang Stage, explorations of the western tip, a specialist heritage tour, and learning kampung cooking in a 100-year old kampung house! The truly marvellous array of activities continue until mid-June!

This festival is a ground-up exercise coordinated by WildSingapore which facilitates the offerings of various groups.

The Ubin Way

A unique feature is a code of conduct the groups subscribe to, called the Ubin Way:

  1. Greet each other with a smile, a “Hello” or “How was your day on Pulau Ubin?” Respect the culture and get to know the people of Ubin, and each other.
  2. Do not litter – and pick up litter that we see. Bring it back to the mainland.
  3. Be gentle with wildlife – no balloons release, avoid noisy activities, be considerate during photography, don’t pluck plants or harm animals. At night, do not blind animals with the glare of strong lights.
  4. Minimise our footprint – avoid bottled water, styrofoam, plastic bags, useless freebies, pamphlets and single use items
  5. Encourage participants to patronise local businesses and share news about activities on the island.

To contribute an activity or volunteer, see the About page.

NUS Toddycats will be in action with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore booth and Pedal Ubin.

Operation No Release 2016 – an annual exercise to prevent the release of the wrong animals in the wrong place!

As in previous years, NUS Toddycats are participating in Operation No Release (ONR) this May 2016. Volunteers will be engaged in public surveys and providing advise to visitors as needed, in support of NParks and PUB officers at 17 sites around Singapore.

Joelle Lai with Chen En (ACRES) participated in the pre-event publicity about ONR and fielded questions in Mandarin quite well on “Hello Singapore” (12 May 2016) on Channel 8 – start at 12:25 mark on Toggle. Joelle thanks Mu Lao Hu, Chiawei Lin, Alvin Wong, Ivan Kwan and Marcus Ng for help with her script.

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NParks says up to 90% of animals released into the wild die within a day because they are unable to fend for themselves.

The first round of duties were conducted last weekend and Alvin Wong who was at Venus Drive on Sunday says students are particular effective in obtaining responses for the public awareness survey!

“I was on ONR duty on Sunday morning session. Three Nanyang Junior College students and myself were attached to NParks officer Sunia Teo, our I/C. The NYJC students conducting the ONR survey were polite and approachable – the public were less inclined to flee from students in uniform conducting surveys! The students did a good job and were a credit to their school.”

This year, many students participated to help conduct surveys. 60 students from NYJC alone are participating in ONR at different locations around Singapore.

To learn more about the issue of animal release, watch this SPH Razor video from 2013 (Part 1 and Part 2) and read the fact sheet from Wild Singapore.

The team at Venus Drive (photo by Alvin Wong)
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Singapore, 06 May 2016 – The National Parks Board (NParks) and PUB, Singapore’s national water agency will be carrying out ‘Operation No Release’, an annual initiative that aims to spread public awareness on the dangers of releasing animals into parks (including ponds), nature areas and reservoirs on 7-8 and 14-15 May (see Annex for full list of locations).

Besides keeping a lookout for any sign of animal release at parks, nature reserves and reservoirs, the agencies will educate and advise members of the public on the harmful impact of releasing animals into the wild.

2 “Animals that are bred in captivity or captured from the wild deliberately to be sold are seldom equipped with the skills they need to survive in the wild,” says Mr Wong Tuan Wah, Group Director of Conservation, NParks. “Upon release, they would find it difficult to fend for themselves, especially in an unfamiliar environment and many are unlikely to survive. The ones that manage to adapt to their new surroundings may outcompete native species for resources, disrupting the delicate ecological balance.”

3 “Reservoirs and reservoir parks are important habitats for a wide variety of freshwater flora and fauna. The release of non-native species may introduce novel parasites and diseases into our native environment and waters, which may have impact on freshwater ecosystems and water quality. We strongly urge members of the public not to release animals into our reservoirs and waterways,” said Mr Ridzuan Ismail, PUB’s Director of Catchment and Waterways.

4 Ms Jessica Kwok, Group Director of AVA’s Animal Management Group reminds pet owners that a pet is a lifetime commitment. “It is irresponsible and cruel to abandon pets. Pets may not survive in the wild as they usually lack the natural instincts and ability to find food or fend for themselves. Pet owners who are unable to look after their pet anymore should find a suitable home for their pet. They can also approach an animal welfare group for help to re-home their pet,” she said.

5 First-time offenders caught releasing animals may be charged under the Parks and Trees Act and could be fined up to $50,000, jailed up to six months, or both.

Annex: List of parks, nature reserves and reservoirs taking part in Operation ‘No Release’ 2016

  1. Bukit Batok Nature Park
  2. Bedok Reservoir
  3. Dairy Farm Nature Park (includes Singapore Quarry)
  4. Jurong Lake
  5. Kranji Reservoir Park / Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
  6. Labrador Nature Reserve
  7. Lower Peirce Reservoir Park
  8. Lower Seletar Reservoir Park
  9. MacRitichie Reservoir Park
  10. Marina Reservoir
  11. Pandan Reservoir
  12. Punggol Reservoir
  13. Pulau Ubin
  14. Serangoon Reservoir
  15. Springleaf Nature Park
  16. Upper Peirce Reservoir
  17. Upper Seletar Reservoir Park

The 15th Battle of Pasir Panjang Anniversary Walk, Sat 13 Feb 2016

Sat 13 Feb 2016 – The Pasir Panjang guides took 36 members of the public on a five-hour commemorative walk from 7.00am to 12.00pm, tracing the events of the Battle of Pasir Panjang in World War II, and adding the layers of heritage which surround the area.

Thanks to the participants for their lovely company and the guides for their excellent service – Kok Oi Yee, Alvin Wong, Kenneth Pinto, Airani S, Quek Kiah Sen, Wendy Sim, Yap Von Bing, Lai Chee Kian and N. Sivasothi.

147 photos of the walk on Flickr here.

This is the 15th year of the walk, which initiated in 2002 in response to the lack of awareness about the Battle of Pair Panjang at the time, and of natural and other heritage of the area.

The walk up the ridge from University Cultural Centre, past NUS Museums
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The trail board outside NUS Museums
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Yusoff Ishak House, where we are reminded of the moniker,
the “National University of Stairs
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Lai Chee Kien introduces the architecture of NUS
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Kok Oi Yee, Quek Kiah Shen and Wendy Sim share stories about
the many traditional uses of Kent Ridge plants.
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Yap Von Bing explains the interaction of wildlife with ridge vegetation
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Visiting the 1946 outpost in small groups,
here with guides Kenneth Pinto and Alvin Wong
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At KE7, a traditional picture with the traffic mirror!
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The 1952 visit of Princess Marina of Greece, aka Duchess of Kent
and how Kent Ridge got its name, recounted by Airani S.
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At Kent Ridge Park, the story of the Battle continues
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Thanks everyone for the wonderful company!
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