Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) @ Festival of Biodiversity, Nex, Serangoon Central, Serangoon
The Blacktip Reef Shark is one of the species of sharks that can still be found in Singapore waters, and is sometimes seen in shallow waters around our reefs in the Southern Islands. Juveniles often enter lagoons at high tide to feed on fishes, crustaceans, and cephalopods.
This pup, which was on display at the NUS Toddycats! booth at the Festival of Biodiversity, was one of thirteen juvenile sharks found entangled in a series of gillnets that had been laid in a shallow lagoon at Lazarus Island, along with 2 Blue-spotted Fantail Ray (Taeniura lymma), 18 other fishes belonging to 15 different species, 44 crabs belonging to 8 different species, as well as a single Spider Conch (Lambis lambis). It’s a graphic example of how fishing gear can kill marine animals indiscriminately if not used in a responsible manner. Not all of the animals captured in the net were suitable for human consumption, and although the owner of the nets claimed that they had only been left out for a single night when he returned to retrieve them, the highly decomposed state of some of the animals suggested that the nets had been present in the lagoon far longer than that. Protection of our marine resources such as reefs and seagrass meadows will not only involve safeguarding certain locations against impacts such as coastal development, but also creating marine protected areas and regulating potentially destructive practices.
The Festival of Biodiversity has come to an end, but the work to raise awareness about Singapore’s biodiversity continues. There are many organisations and groups involved in the ongoing efforts to not just inform the public about our nation’s biodiversity, but to also get them involved in cherishing and playing an active role in protecting our natural heritage.
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