In 2013, I was delighted to feature a photo of Annette the Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) of the Hindhede troop, catching forty winks. The then pregnant Annette reminded us of the day to day exploits of our local native primates go through, not unlike ourselves.
Researcher Amanda Tan had shared that image over twitter as she prepared for field studies in Thailand for her graduate work. Similarly, another of Singapore’s ‘monkey girls’, Sabrina Jaafar, shares stories of her encounters with various individuals and troops during her work with monkeys through Facebook.
These primate workers had transformed their study subjects into well-loved individuals who have been followed by many of us, who sit far away in our offices, dreaming of the forest. And their stories have guided my students as well.
The urban animals tough, resourceful or adaptable enough to survive alongside us in urban Singapore face many challenges. Long-tailed Macaques in Singapore face being trapped and killed which has eliminated one-third the population in some years. The native monkeys also face an onslaught by fast traffic on small roads adjacent to nature reserves. Sabrina has chronicled several such tragedies and other primate researches I talk to have noted broken bones and other injuries in study subjects over the years. Her words have not gone unnoticed.
In 2012, naturalists local and overseas were upset to read of the death of Nad, the reigning queen from the Hindhede troop. It was wretched, and should not have happened that close to the nature reserve when cars should be travelling carefully. Then last week (8th February 2017), I discovered that yet again, an avoidable death had occured – Annette, like Nad before her, was mercilessly killed by a speeding car, on a small road next to the nature reserve.
Sabrina and Amanda penned these thoughts, which they agreed to share.
A 25-year-old man has been hospitalised after hitting a Wild Boar (Sus scrofa vittatus) with his motorcycle on the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) on Sunday night (Nov 13) – in the second road accident involving the porcine creature this year (2016).
Both times, both Wild Boars died.
The accident on Sunday happened at around 7pm on the BKE heading towards the Pan Island Expressway, after the Dairy Farm Road exit, reported Chinese evening newspaper Shin Min Daily News on Monday.
It said the motorcyclist, who was not identified, had lost control of his bike after trying to avoid hitting the animal.
He skidded and landed in the right-most lane of the expressway.
The man was subsequently warded at the intensive care unit of the National University Hospital and was said to still be unconscious as of Monday morning (Nov 14), with bandages on his head, face and left hand.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it received a call about the accident at 7.18pm and dispatched an ambulance to the scene.
A 48-year-old cabby, who wanted to be known only as Mr Zhang, told the Chinese paper the Boar was about 1m long and appeared to have run out from the forested area on to the BKE.
This is believed to be the second road accident involving a Wild Boar this year (2016).
In April another motorcyclist, identified as 49-year-old senior manager Mr Krishnan, fractured his right shoulder after running into and killing a Wild Boar on the Seletar Expressway.
In May, a boy was hospitalised after being injured by a Wild Boar near Edgefield Plains in Punggol.
This is a Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), Singapore’s last surviving wild cat.
Bukit Regency Condominium is located across the road from Bukit Timah Nature Reserve; although Leopard Cats have not been recorded from this area in recent years, it’s not surprising that a population might still survive in the forests. On the other hand, it’s also not impossible that this particular individual was an illegal exotic pet.
Clouded Monitor (Varanus nebulosus)
Bukit Drive, 15th June 2015
This Clouded Monitor was seen on a road at the edge of Hindhede Nature Park. It had most likely been run over by a passing vehicle.
Two eggs were also found on the road close to the carcass. If they did come from the Clouded Monitor’s body, it suggests that this individual was a gravid female. It’s possible that the eggs were forced out of the body from the impact of a vehicle, maybe even the same vehicle that had killed the lizard itself.
Whether the Clouded Monitor is a subspecies of the Bengal Monitor (Varanus bengalensis) or a distinct species is still a matter of some debate; some sources still lump the two of them together.