Category Archives: mangrove

Otters and crocs @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve – Toddycats gear up for Festival of Biodiversity in May

We are counting down to Festival of Biodiversity 2017 which is a month away! This annual celebration of Singapore’s biodiversity by members of the Biodiversity Roundtable of Singapore with NParks will present the two day event at at Serangoon NEX on 27-28 May 2017: 10.30am – 10.30pm.

To prepare our crew, Toddycats’ seniors are conducting three training sessions (two field trips and a lab session) which fittingly began on Earth Day last Saturday 22 Apr 2017 at our precious mangrove reserve, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. The field trips will help bring the magic of our natural areas to the shopping centre to encourage

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With undergrads slogging away for the exams, the cosy session of 12 Toddycats was split into four small groups, each led by an experienced Toddycats senior – Amy Choong, Alvin Wong, Marcus Ng, and Theresa Su & Xu Weiting.

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What’s in the water? Theresa sharing form & function stories of halfbeaks and archer fishes from the main bridge.

Some groups were really lucky in the post-drizzle and saw the elusive black spitting cobra, a family of six smooth-coated otters and an estuarine crocodile.


A family of six otters having their brunch at the Main Pond. Photo by Alvin Wong

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The two hours were filled with many observations and personal stories about the mangrove denizens, reminding us of the importance of mangroves , which we will share with the FOB2017 visitors.

Bring family and friends to FoB2017. Toddycats alone have recruited 50 volunteers to ensure we always have fresh faces eager and ready to share stories with visitors on the 27 & 28 May 2017. And there will be many nature groups there, with talks at the library by various working groups. A wonderful way to discover biodiversity in Singapore. See you there!

Festival of Biodiversity 2015

Sat 01 April 2017: 7.30am – Join us for a very muddy World Water Day mangrove cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang!

Join NUS Toddycats for the third year-round coastal cleanup at Lim Chu Kang. We are determined to clear this area of marine debris and plan to get muddy as we venture deeper into the mangrove this time. Working alongside us on the beach will be volunteers from NUS SAVE.

Transport is provided for 40 people (be sure to choose the right ticket), read all the details (itinerary, safety, site details) at the Eventbirite registration page.

Year Round Coastal Cleanups by the ICCS Otters!

Every year, the ICCS Otters coordinate the annual International Coastal Cleanup Singapore, held on the 3rd Saturday of every September. This event brings together some 3,500 individuals every year from all around our island, all with a desire to do rid our beaches and mangroves of marine trash! 

Besides the annual cleanup, we also organise Year-Round Coastal Cleanups (YRCCs) at various coastal locations around the island to relieve many of these habitats of trash.

Many of these non-recreational beaches and mangroves hold a vast amount of biodiversity despite their heavy trash load, and coastal cleanups play a role in protecting marine life from hazardous trash. These cleanups also provide an insight to participants about the extent of trash deposited in our ecosystems, a such scenes are often shielded from the eyes of everyday Singaporeans.


Taken during the Earth Day Coastal Cleanup – 18 Apr 2015


Taken during “Operation WE (coastal) Clean Up!” – 3 May 2015

By May this year, ICCS has organised 5 YRCCs, reaching out 245 volunteers altogether. These include:

  1. Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup @ Tanah Merah 7 beach (TM7)(NUS RVRC) – Sat 26 Feb 2015: 8.00pm – 12.00pm [prep 1/2; prep 2/2; report 1/3; report 2/3; report 3/3]
  2. World Water Day Coastal Cleanup @ Sungei Pandan mangrove (SP2)(open to public) – Sat 21 Mar 2015: 4.00pm – 6.00pm [announcement; recce; report 1/2; report 2/2]
  3. Earth Day Coastal Cleanup @ Pasir Ris 6 Beach (open to public) – Sat 18 Apr 2015: 4.00pm – 6.00pm [announcement; recce; report]
  4. “Operation WE (coastal) Clean Up!” @ Lim Chu Kang Beach (open to public) – Sun 3 May 2015: 4.00pm – 6.00pm [announcement; report]
  5. World Biodiversity Day Coastal Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang Beach (open to public) – Sat 16 May 2015: 4.00pm – 6.00pm [announcement; report]

We’ve still got a full calendar ahead of us in the next few months, and if you’d like to join our efforts in the fight against marine trash, mark these dates down! Do look out for an announcement with detailed information on the event and a sign up sheet that we release two weeks before every cleanup.

  1. World Environment Day Coastal Cleanup @ Tanah Merah Beach 7 (open to public) – Sat 06 Jun 2015: 8.00am – 12.00pm [announcement]
  2. Youth Day Coastal Cleanup  @ Sungei Pandan (open to public) – 1 Sat 11 Jul 2015: 12.00pm – 2.00pm
  3. National Day Coastal Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach & mangrove (open to public) – Fri 07 Aug 2015: 8.00am – 12.00pm

Join a group of passionate individuals determined to make a difference in the environment! To keep updated of all our events, do follow us on Facebook ( and our blog, or join our mailing list!

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Taken during the World Biodiversity Day Coastal Cleanup – 18 May 2015.

Roundup of Sungei Buloh Anniversary Walk

It was a rainy Saturday morning, but that did not dampen our spirits for the 21st Sungei Buloh Anniversary Walk!

This year, the anniversary marks another momentous occasion. Sungei Buloh is now ever more accessible to visitors with the opening of the new Kranji extension.

To celebrate with Sungei Buloh, we hosted two activities – a show and tell booth at the new education centre, and an early mangrove walk.

For our early morning walks, 105 spots were filled up within two days of our email invitation to the NUS staff community!

It was great to see the first participant show up at 7 AM, 30 minutes ahead of our stipulated meeting time of 7:30AM. Most participants streamed in between then and 7:45 AM, and I was able to send the first group off with Siva at 7:25 AM, and subsequently, one group was flagged off with a guide every 5 minutes.


Guides Ivan, David, Adrian, Alvin and Oi Yee having a light moment before our participants arrive.

Alvin with the second group of the morning.

Alvin with the second group of the morning.


Chee Kong with his group on the main bridge.

Back at the new extension, things got busy with with our booth, with Tze Kwan and Weiting helping to keep a lookout and many enthusiastic Toddycats in attendance! MoS Desmond Lee graced the event and was ‘ambushed’ by Jhar, Audrey, Cherry, and Le Min, eager to share with him stories of mangrove critter!

It is a double celebration for us as Sungei Buloh and Otterman share the same birthday.

All in all. it was a great day out, despite the rainy weather. We will be back next year!

For more photos, see our flickr album!


Sungei Buloh walk with FASStrack Asia students

Last Saturday, Toddycats Alvin, Sarah, Kar Mun and Katie took 40 students taking part in the FASStrack Asia summer school programme for a morning walk at Sungei Buloh.  Hailing from US, UK, Vietnam, Turkey,  Canada, Australia, Mexico, Europe, Japan, China, Taiwan, as well as NUS, it was a good opportunity to introduce to them the wild side of Singapore. It was also a very good way for them to get used to our local weather and get over jet lag!

Despite the 35 degree heat, it was an engaging walk enjoyed by the participants, with Alvin’s group lucky enough to catch sight of  two crocodiles! Besides the two crocs, monitor lizards and skinks were among some of the wildlife spotted at SBWR that morning. Each group focussed on different topics based on the interest of the students and guides, and according to Alvin, his group was particularly fascinated with Nephilia spiders and their webs!

We’re glad everyone had a good time and it was a good start to their five weeks of summer school here in Singapore 🙂

Photo by Alvin Wong

Veteran Sungei Buloh guide  Alvin welcoming everyone to the Reserve.

Veteran Sungei Buloh guide Alvin welcoming everyone to the Reserve.

Photo by Alvin Wong

More pictures at the FASStrack Facebook page.

Sungei Buloh celebrates 20 years: Join in the festivities with Toddycats this Saturday 7 December 2013!

The Raffles Museum Toddycats have been organising Sungei Buloh Anniversary Walks every December since 1997, to celebrate the official opening of Singapore’s first wetland reserve at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserves. It is a little different this year – SBWR turns 20 and a slew of activities have been organised by the Reserve to mark this milestone starting from 7 December.

There will be free guided walks, face painting, origami, and exhibitions organised throughout the month.

For the first weekend, we have been invited by Nparks to set up a show and tell booth within the yet to be launched new public gallery to share with members of the public the wonder critters that reside in the mangroves.

Toddycats in action: Show and Tell at the 15th anniversary bash.

Do join us for a morning of fun and celebrations!

For more information, visit  SBWR’s webpage.

Toddycats clear 223kg of trash at ICCS Berlayar Creek Mangrove!

29 September 2012 – Raffles Museum Toddycats! were joined by three Keppel Club staff for the International Coastal Cleanup, Singapore at Berlayar Creek mangroves. Raffles Museum Toddycats were deployed here for the first time after four years at Pandan mangrove from the first cleanup in 2008.

Armed with trash bags, booties and data cards, 18 of us responded to our mission and spent an intensive 90 minutes removing marine debris of all sorts from the delicate mangrove site. Given the fragile environment of Berlayar Creek, we had to be extremely meticulous when manoeuvring through the aerial roots of the mangroves which is why ICCS Coordinator Sivasothi had entrusted this site to Toddycats.

Moving around the mud was a challenge for first-timers, as one of the volunteers experienced getting both her feet stuck in the mud. Fortunately, after several attempts and help from other volunteers, she was finally free.

Toddycats hard at work!

It was an hour of hard work picking and cataloguing marine debris before we proceeded to move all the trash (including the bulky items) up the steep slopes and to the weighing point. The trash were then weighed for an indication of the marine debris load present at the site. After weighing was completed, all the trash was despatched to the Trash Disposal Point for pickup later.

First timers or no, this could be challenging as the TDP was a distance away, but all the volunteers put in their best effort and cleared a total of 23 bags of trash weighing 223kg (excluding many bulky items)!

The typical trash encountered during our cleanup included 130 plastic bags, 104 broken glass bottles, 56 food wrappers, containers, ropes and fishing lines. Other more unusual finds were tyres, lipsticks and numerous golf balls! A detailed breakdown of the marine debris we cleared is available online at the ICCS Results page.

Toddycats clearing bulky marine debris!

Toddycat Randolph Quek removing several entangled gill nets

During the cleanup, the intertidal wildlife present motivated us to remove harmful, non-biodegradable trash from their habitat. We were also heartened by the appreciation of the people visiting the area. Members of public approached us with questions and thanked us for our contributions to the environment

Even the little mangrove inhabitants seem to be grateful for our efforts!

We were glad to do our bit for the environment and inadvertently help raise public awareness about the problem of marine trash!

If you would like to contribute more, there are also a series of year-round cleanups being coordinated. To find out more, check out the ICCS website and blog.

223kg of marine debris cleared from Berlayar Creek mangroves!

Thank all volunteers for their hard work in ensuring the success of Raffles Museum Toddycats’ ICCS 2012 Berlayar Creek mangrove cleanup! Enjoy photos from this event on the ICCS Flickr page.

We look forward to your participation at ICCS 2013!

Well done Toddycats!