Young people ‘the best hope’ for nature conservation

LOUISA TANG Today Online 7 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE — Amid constant public pressure to build more homes and develop land in Singapore, some important things must be done to maintain green spaces and build sustainably, at a governmental and societal level.

These include youths getting involved in conservation discussions, parents taking their children to parks and teaching them about nature, and government agencies collaborating to ensure green policies are enacted, Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said yesterday.

“The key is to make sure that greenery and conservation are mainstream elements of land use planning in Singapore, and it has been the case since Day 1,” Mr Lee said at a talk marking the 10th anniversary of the Jane Goodall Institute Singapore (JGIS).

During a panel discussion, which also involved renowned primatologist Dr Goodall, Nature Society Singapore president Shawn Lum and JGIS vice-president Andie Ang, Mr Lee also emphasised the “critical” role of youths in going green and being “active participants in conservation”.

“We should let young adults have the chance to learn about biodiversity,” Mr Lee noted at the event held at Mediacorp’s MES Theatre. “When children are outdoors, there are tremendous opportunities for them to learn about native wildlife and extract valuable lessons.”

Dr Ang added that letting children go on nature trails and being comfortable with nature is also key to teaching them about animal conservation.

Nearly 5,000 native wildlife species exist in Singapore, and 10 per cent of land is set aside for nature reserves and green spaces such as parks.

With that in mind, the Government is “making a big push to build infrastructure not only efficiently and economically but also in a way that’s more green and sustainable”, Mr Lee said.

He further cited cases of wild animals encroaching into homes and public spaces close to green areas. In April, for example, a monkey bit a resident in the Segar Road area, which had been plagued by instances of monkey incursions.

The cluster of flats face Zhenghua Nature Park, which was recently expanded to provide a larger green space for residents and increase the green buffer for the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

“How can we co-exist with nature? ... Public pressure to develop will always be there. The next generation needs to understand how precious our biodiversity is,” Mr Lee added.

Dr Goodall, who founded the Roots and Shoots programme, which brings together youths as young as preschoolers to university students to work on environmental projects, said in her speech that young people give her “the most hope” for conservation efforts.

Roots and Shoots now has a presence in more than 100 countries.

“It’s the most exciting time for young people who want to learn about nature today. You can study things that were said not to exist in my day, and all the time finding out new things,” she said.

Yesterday’s discussion also touched on issues ranging from ecotourism to the use of plastic bags.

Mr Lee said policy changes on plastic bags are coercive and can be done, “but everyone has to go out and advocate this kind of lifestyle (of not using plastic bags)”.

Singapore's conservation efforts get thumbs up from top primate expert Jane Goodall
Jose Hong Straits Times 7 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE - Singapore's conservation efforts received the stamp of approval from top primate expert Jane Goodall, who said these are steps in the right direction.

But despite the rising awareness of environmental issues in the country, more can be done to reduce the conflict between humans and animals, she added.

For instance, she said people must stop feeding the long-tailed macaques that are found in many parts of the island. Doing so introduces them to human food, and drives them to harass humans and enter their homes in search of food.

Dr Goodall said if people left them alone for two or three years, and no one was feeding them, young monkeys would stop associating humans with food.

She said: "They will not even think that it's important to go and raid a house, and they won't know the taste of human food."

That way, there would be no need to resort to culling, she added.

"It's good that there still are monkeys here, so we have to use our brains to find ways to live in harmony with them," she said. "But we can't live in harmony with animals if we're killing them. I mean, culling is murder."

She added that the monkeys "have their own emotions... they feel fear and pain", so there is a need to find other ways to deal with them.

For instance, she saw grizzly bears in an Alaskan national park that have never eaten human food. The bears ignored people, even if they strayed to within 5m of the bears.

Dr Goodall said something similar could happen in Singapore.

She also applauded innovative steps like the wildlife connector, Eco-Link@BKE.

Eco-Link@BKE links the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve with the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, allowing animals to cross over.

Dr Goodall is a British primatologist and a leading expert on chimpanzees. She is in town to mark the 10th anniversary of the Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore), which is named after her. The institute aims to raise awareness of issues like conservation, animal welfare and the environment.

Dr Goodall, speaking to reporters at Hotel Fort Canning on Monday (Aug 7), said she did not have a detailed understanding of Singapore's conservation efforts but she knew that the awareness of environmental issues in the country has grown since the institute was set up.

Flanked by the institute's president Tay Kae Fong and vice-president Andie Ang, Dr Goodall said educating young people was key to creating a love for nature, which would in turn help people understand what they should do when they encounter wild animals.

Dr Goodall, who is here on a three-day visit, met Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee on Sunday (Aug6).

On Tuesday (Aug 8), her last day here, about 600 students and teachers are expected at take part in a conference that she will host.


Top primatologist tells her story to spur passion for nature conservation
Audrey Tan Straits Times 7 Aug 17;

Famous primate researcher Jane Goodall once brought home earthworms as a child and was caught trying to take them to her room.

The incident highlighted the love for nature she had even as a young girl. Today, at 83, the eminent conservationist travels all over the world hoping to share her passion.

Yesterday, Dr Goodall, who is in Singapore, spoke about the importance of nature conservation at an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the local chapter of the environmental group she founded, the Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore).

During her presentation, Dr Goodall shared the story of the earthworms. Surprisingly, her mother was not angry, she said.

Over the years, her mother, Vanne, and mentor Louis Leakey helped nurture her inquisitive spirit. It led to Dr Goodall going to Africa to study chimpanzees, and discovering that nature conservation is a cause worth fighting for.

That inquisitive spirit is something Dr Goodall and her organisation want to mould in people all over the world through its various programmes. For instance, the Singapore institute conducts bimonthly walks in places such as MacRitchie Reservoir Park and the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve to raise awareness about the primates in Singapore's forests.


There are no chimpanzees here, but the Republic has two native species of monkeys - the cheeky long-tailed macaque, and the elusive, critically endangered Raffles' banded langur.

Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, in his speech yesterday, said nature conservation does not come without challenges in tiny Singapore.

In this space, the Republic has to incorporate infrastructure that is required and consider people who may not be comfortable with wildlife, said Mr Lee. But the key to nurturing a "biophilic city" - a city rich in biodiversity, in which its inhabitants can coexist - is education.

The National Parks Board and nature groups such as the Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore) conduct outreach activities such as free walks to help people learn more about the life thriving in Singapore's nature areas, said Mr Lee.

"Singapore is a city in a garden, and this is something we should be proud of and treasure. To succeed, our conservation approach needs to be different from bigger countries - proactively biophilic, community- based and grounded in science."

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Student on why Jane Goodall inspires him str.sg/janeg


Jane Goodall promotes nature conservation in Singapore
Celebrated primate researcher aims to nurture an inquisitive spirit in others

Audrey Tan, The Straits Times 7 Aug 17;

Famous primate researcher Jane Goodall once brought home earthworms as a child and was caught trying to take them to her room.

The incident highlighted the love for nature she had even as a young girl.

Today, at 83, the eminent conservationist travels all over the world hoping to share her passion.

Yesterday, Dr Goodall, who is in Singapore, spoke about the importance of nature conservation at an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the local chapter of the environmental group she founded, the Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore).

During her presentation, Dr Goodall shared the story of the earthworms.

Surprisingly, her mother was not angry, she said.

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Over the years, her mother, Vanne, and mentor Louis Leakey helped nurture her inquisitive spirit.

It led to Dr Goodall going to Africa to study chimpanzees and discovering that nature conservation is a cause worth fighting for.

That inquisitive spirit is something Dr Goodall and her organisation want to mould in people all over the world through its various programmes.

For instance, the Singapore institute conducts bimonthly walks in places such as MacRitchie Reservoir Park and the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve to raise awareness about the primates in Singapore's forests.

There are no chimpanzees here, but the Republic has two native species of monkeys - the cheeky long-tailed macaque, and the elusive, critically endangered Raffles' banded langur.

Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, in his speech yesterday, said nature conservation does not come without challenges in tiny Singapore.

In this space, the Republic has to incorporate infrastructure that is required and consider people who may not be comfortable with wildlife, said Mr Lee.

But the key to nurturing a "biophilic city" - a city rich in biodiversity, in which its inhabitants can coexist - is education.

The National Parks Board and nature groups such as the Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore) conduct outreach activities such as free walks to help people learn more about the life thriving in Singapore's nature areas, said Mr Lee.

He said: "Singapore is a city in a garden and this is something we should be proud of and treasure. To succeed, our conservation approach needs to be different from bigger countries - proactively biophilic, community-based and grounded in science."


Primatologist Jane Goodall delivers talk at Mediacorp
Elizabeth Neo Channel NewsAsia 7 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE: Renowned primatologist Jane Goodall on Sunday (Aug 6) gave a public lecture at Mediacorp’s MES Theatre, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the local arm of her environmental group the Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore).

Her talk was titled One Nature, Together – a play on this year's National Day Parade theme, One Nation Together.

During her address, Dr Goodall, who is also UN Messenger of Peace, recounted how she became the world-renowned conservationist she is today, citing important influences like her mother and later her mentor, Kenyan archaeologist Louis Leakey. She also shared her experience studying chimpanzees in Africa for many years.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for National Development and Home Affairs Desmond Lee was present at the event, where he delivered the opening remarks.

In his speech, he said Singapore is home to many native plants and wildlife as well as some 400 bird species and more than 250 different species of hard corals, that is almost one-third of all the species found in the world.

As such, it is more than just a city in a garden and Singaporeans must play their part to be custodians of wildlife and nature, “NParks, together with its movement of green volunteers, has enhanced our greenery and put in strategies to protect our wildlife.”

“But it is not enough to just have green infrastructure and proper planning in place. It requires the coordinated effort and involvement of all stakeholders. Government agencies, environmental conservation groups, and most importantly, all of us in the community,” he added.

At the event, Mr Lee also announced a third location for the bi-monthly Monkey Walk organised by the Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore). It will be held in Lower Peirce Reservoir, in addition to those in MacRitchie Reservoir Park and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

The walks are to help the public better understand the long-tailed Macaques, which are native to Singapore.

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