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.
Ventral aspect of the Green Iguana carcass. Photograph by Ian Chew.
Roadkill Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) at Upper Thomson
Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Old Upper Thomson Road; 8 January 2017; 1700 hrs.
Observation: A carcass of a Green Iguana was found on the road. It may have been run over by a vehicle. Its snout-vent length was approximately 20 cm. The total length was 35 cm, but the tail was incomplete, possibly due to a prior injury.
Remarks: Green Iguanas are not native to Singapore. Adult and juvenile individuals, very likely abandoned pets and their progeny, have been recorded in the western and northern parts of Singapore, including Bukit Batok (Tay, 2015), Jurong (Low et al., 2016), Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (Chua, 2007) and Kranji Reservoir around Sungei Tengah (Ng & Lim, 2014; Khoo, 2016). This appears to be the first published record in the central part of the island, at the edge of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
Chua. E.K., 2007. Feral Iguana attacks Varanus salvator at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Biawak. Quarterly Journal of the International Varanid Interest Group. 1 (1): 35-36.
Khoo, M. D. Y., 2016. Green Iguanas at Kranji Reservoir. Singapore Biodiversity Records. 2016: 185.
Low, M. R., D. P. Bickford, M. Tan & L. C. Neves, 2016. Malayopython (Python) reticulatus. Diet. Herpetological Review. 17 (1):148.
Ng B. C. & K. K. P. Lim, 2015. Green Iguana at Sungei Tengah. Singapore Biodiversity Records. 2015: 51.
Tay J. B., 2015. Green Iguana at Burgundy Crescent. Singapore Biodiversity Records. 2015: 188.
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.
Fig. 3. Flattened and dried carcass of Boiga jaspidea.
Fig. 4. Flattened and dried carcass of Dasia grisea.
Fig. 5. Head of Dasia grisea carcass.
Photographs by Law Ing Sind
Dead White-bellied Blind Snake (Typhlops muelleri), Jasper Cat Snake (Boiga jaspidea), Brown Tree Skink (Dasia grisea) at Upper Peirce
Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, access road to Upper Peirce Reservoir Park, off Old Upper Thomson Road; 27 August 2016; evening.
Observation: A juvenile Typhlops muelleri of about 10 cm total length (Figs. 1 & 2) was found dead in water in a drain. It is believed to have drowned. A male example of Boiga jaspidea of about 1 m total length (Fig. 3), and an adult Dasia grisea (Figs. 4 & 5) are both flattened and dried roadkills found plastered on the surface of the road. They have probably been dead for more than a day.
Remarks: The three species of reptile herein recorded are recognised as rare in Singapore. Boiga jaspidea and Typhlops muelleri are classified as ‘critically endangered’ while Dasia grisea is regarded as ‘endangered’ (Lim, 2008: 264-265).
All three specimens have been deposited at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore, with Boiga jaspi
dea catalogued as ZRC 2.7225, Typhlops muelleri as ZRC 2.7226 and Dasia grisea as ZRC 2.7227.
Lim, K. K. P., 2008. Checklists of threatened species – fishes, amphibians and reptiles. In: Davison, G. W. H., P. K. L. Ng & H. C. Ho (eds.). The Singapore Red Data Book. Threatened Plants & Animals of Singapore. Second edition. Nature Society (Singapore). p. 263-266.