Dolphin carcass washes up on East Coast beach

The Straits Times AsiaOne 7 Jul 16;

A dolphin carcass that washed ashore along East Coast Park on Wednesday (July 6) was still there on Thursday morning.

SINGAPORE - Dolphin sightings in the Singapore Strait are quite rare, and it was even more unusual to see a dolphin carcass washed up on the beach at East Coast Park on Wednesday.

By Thursday morning, a three-member team from the National Parks Board (NParks) had erected a cordon around the 2m-long carcass located near Big Splash, The Straits Times reported.

The dolphin was later taken away on a lorry after an assessment by staff from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum and NParks.

In 2015, a dead sperm whale washed up on Jurong Island. $1.3 million was later raised for scientific and education efforts related to the sperm whale. Its skeleton was preserved at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, which is part of the National University of Singapore (NUS).

A dead dolphin was also sighted at East Coast Park in 2014.

Between 2009 and 2011, at least 169 dolphins were sighted in Singapore, according to the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute, which has been conducting sporadic studies on the mammal over the past 20 years.

These marine animals are usually spotted near the Southern Islands, which is also home to Singapore's first marine park.

In 2015, a pod of six Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins were spotted by bird watchers in the Singapore Strait while they were doing their pelagic bird survey.

In the same year, the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) launched a two-year study on wild dolphins in Singapore.

Acres will also explore the possibility of conducting wild dolphin-watching tours in Singapore.

According to Acres, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins are the two most commonly seen dolphin species in Singapore.

Dead dolphin at East Coast to be preserved?
Ng Huiwen, My Paper AsiaOne 8 Jul 16;

A dead dolphin that had washed up on East Coast Park on 19 July 2014. The carcass has since been retrieved and will be handed over to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

The fate of the dolphin carcass that washed ashore at East Coast Park on Wednesday remains unclear as of yesterday, as a local museum looks into whether it is suitable for preservation.

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum said it hopes to "salvage the specimen for science" though its researchers will have to examine the carcass further before making a decision.

"It is likely that the dolphin's skeleton can be processed but we don't know for sure yet," said the museum's curator of mammals and birds, Marcus Chua.

He has identified the carcass as an indo-pacific humpbacked dolphin, also known as the pink dolphin. It is the most commonly sighted dolphin species in Singapore waters.

Sales manager Nigel Lim, 36, was cycling with his wife and two children, aged two and four, at about 11am on Wednesday when he discovered the dead dolphin on the beach next to Big Splash.

"I happened to park my bicycle by the side and walked to see the beach and boats. It looked like a big floating buoy but upon closer look, it was a carcass," said Mr Lim, who posted a picture of it on Facebook, before a friend alerted the authorities.

When The Straits Times visited the area yesterday morning, flies were seen swarming around the punctured abdomen of the carcass. It appeared to be badly decomposed.

Workers were later seen removing the carcass from the beach to a lorry just before noon, about 25 hours after it was first discovered.

Earlier at about 9.45am, a three-member team from the National Parks Board had cordoned off the carcass.

They left soon after.

Later, the carcass was removed by workers from Ramky Cleantech Services.

Donning face masks and gloves, they were seen pouring disinfectant over the carcass and surrounding area.

They wrapped it in trash bags and canvas sheets, before lifting it up with a large canvas bag to a lorry.

Ramky Cleantech Services site manager Jenny Khng, who oversaw the operation, said the carcass was taken to its Loyang office - to await further instructions from the authorities.

The Straits Times understands that the museum has since taken over the 2m-long carcass but Mr Chua declined to reveal its current location.