Turtle hatchlings sighted at East Coast Park: NParks

Channel NewsAsia 17 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE: Hawksbill turtle hatchlings that were trying to find their way to the sea at East Coast Park received a little help from National Parks Board (NParks) and members of the public.

The turtle hatchlings had been spotted on Wednesday evening by several park visitors, NParks said in a Facebook post on Thursday (Aug 17).

Bright street lights were distracting the baby turtles, which were trying to find their way to the sea, the agency said.

Working together with members of the public, NParks staff moved the hatchlings to a more suitable location. Video on NParks' Facebook page shows them helping to guide the baby turtles into the sea using the light from their mobile phones.

Said NParks: "We are encouraged by the community's efforts in helping these 32 young hatchlings start on their life journey!"

NParks urged the public to contact their helpline (1800-471-7300) and to keep their distance and "speak softly" when a turtle is sighted.

"Touching the turtle may scare or provoke it. Similarly, one should not handle the eggs as that might damage them," it said.

32 Hawksbill turtle hatchlings guided into sea at East Coast Park

Lydia Lam Straits Times 18 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE - A couple getting ready to leave East Coast Park on Wednesday (Aug 16) evening were surprised to see small moving creatures at their feet, which they later discovered were baby turtles.

A 29-year-old salesman, who gave his name only as Mr Chia, told The Straits Times on Thursday that he was at Bedok Jetty with his wife when they saw a tiny creature on the ground around 10.30pm.

"After a closer look, we realised it's a baby sea turtle," he said. "To our surprise and astonishment - because it's the first time we've spotted this sort of thing at East Coast Park - we actually found more and more of them. We figured they were a bit lost, because they kept circling."

Mr Chia said there were some joggers and cyclists there so he and his wife stood there to prevent them from getting run over.

They also called the National Parks Board's hotline, and an officer arrived about half an hour after.

About 10 people had gathered by then. Together with NParks staff, the group transported the 32 Hawksbill turtle hatchlings to a more suitable location, where they were released at about 1am.

"We are encouraged by the community's efforts in helping these 32 young hatchlings start on their life journey," said NParks in a Facebook post on Thursday night.

Dr Lena Chan, group director at the National Biodiversity Centre, told The Straits Times that the group consulted the Marine Turtle Working Group in releasing the hatchlings.

"We would also like to take this opportunity to remind members of the public to contact the NParks helpline (1800-471-7300), and to keep their distance and speak softly when a turtle is sighted," she said. "Touching the turtle may scare or provoke it. Similarly, one should not handle the eggs as that might damage them."

Hawksbill turtles, which are sea turtles with mottled shells, have been regularly sighted along the Singapore Strait, according to NParks' website.

They are found in the tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, and females have been spotted coming ashore at East Coast Park to lay eggs.

Hawksbill turtle hatchlings crossing a pedestrian path

Female turtles typically do this at night, laying up to 200 eggs at a time. The eggs hatch after about two months, and the hatchlings make their way instinctively to the sea.

NParks on its website gives the following guidelines when encountering a turtle:

- Call NParks at 1800-4717-300.

- Keep your distance from the turtle and the eggs. Touching the turtle may scare or provoke it. Handling the eggs may damage them, or introduce bacteria into the nest.

- Talk softly and stay out of sight. Do not shine lights at the turtle or use flash photography. Light and noise may scare the turtle, and cause it to leave without laying any eggs.

- Keep clear of tracks left by the turtle. Researchers use the tracks to identify the species of the turtle and to locate the nest.

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More spaces on mainland Singapore to be used for OBS activities

Loke Kok Fai Channel NewsAsia 17 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE: Students of Catholic High and Woodlands Ring Secondary tried their hand on Thursday (Aug 17) at paddling rafts in Punggol Reservoir, the first time that Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) is conducting adventure activities there.

It's part of the programme's expansion on mainland Singapore. OBS said it is looking to conduct more activities at Park Connector Networks (PCN) and water spaces in Punggol and Pasir Ris.

Together with the National Parks Board and national water agency PUB, OBS will organise cycling and kick-biking activities along the PCNs, as well as paddling activities such as rafting in areas like Punggol Reservoir.

Trekking and kayaking activities - currently held only out of OBS' main campus on Pulau Ubin - will also be explored.

This is to cater to the new Ministry of Education (MOE)-OBS Secondary 3 programme. The five-day, expedition-based, multi-school camp that kicked off in January is aimed at encouraging students to take on a more active lifestyle.

MOE had announced an expansion of the OBS programme in 2016, to promote the holistic development of students through outdoor education. To allow more students to benefit from OBS, a new campus on Coney Island, larger than the one on Pulau Ubin, is being built and will be completed in 2020.


Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu joined students on Thursday at the paddle before a subsequent kick-bike ride with members of the National Youth Council (NYC).

"The beauty about Singapore is that although we think that it is a very small country, with effective use of our water bodies, our reservoirs, our rivers, our park connectors, our beautiful parks – actually we can do a lot more,” Ms Fu said.

She added that creative use of equipment, the environment, and the missions and tasks assigned could also test the values of “resilience, teamwork, cooperation and courage” that the programme hopes to inculcate in students.

A total of 4,300 students from 22 schools have taken part in the MOE-OBS Secondary 3 programme since January. Of these, 180 students have participated in the programme’s mainland expansion.

Source: CNA/mz

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Malaysia: Free fish not due to tsunami, merely additional catch of the day distributed for free

Ahmad Fairuz Othman New Straits Times 17 Aug 17;

KOTA TINGGI: The sight of thousands of fish along Pantai Mansor, Tuan Seh in Tanjung Sedili on Tuesday has created quite a stir on social media.

It has also drawn just as many people who have turned up to ‘collect’ their share of the gifts from the sea.

Fishermen in the area said ikan gelama, ikan selayang and some small-sized ikan bawal and ikan senangin were hauled in and unloaded along the beach for all to take.

They said the fishes were caught with ‘pukat tarik’ nets.

According to the fishermen, villagers in Tanjung Sedili would head to the beach whenever they were told of the latest harvest. These small fishes were considered as additional catch to the fishermen and they will distribute it for free.

Many residents said it was common for a large number of small fishes to be found nearer to the shore, this time of the year.

Sedili Area Fishermen Association chairman Abdul Majid Abdul Rahman said this is not a case of fishes being washed ashore, unlike what is being claimed on social media.

He said fishermen in the area have previously hauled between two to 10 tonnes of fish whenever the weather condition is good and the season is right.

“Such things are a norm as fishermen would throw away big amount of small fishes on the beach for villagers to take for free.

“The rumour saying the fishes were washed ashore because of tsunami is untrue,” said Majid.

Keropok maker and fisherman Abd Rahman Abdullah, 54, said he and his wife, together with two of his friends, had opted to fish out in the open sea.

“In our first attempt, we hauled up 13 ikan gelama, puput and jemedi and in our second attempt; we caught 40 ikan gelama, prawns and other fishes.

“But my third attempt in laying the net led to a very bountiful catch. It was heavy and I waited until low tide and called some other fishermen to help pull the net to shore,” said Rahman.

He unloaded his catch on the beach and asked villagers to spread the word that the fish was free for all to take.

Sedili Fisheries Development Board Complex (LKIM) manager Kaismail Kadir said the viralled photo, which shows villagers squatting down collecting the free fish, has been verified by the board as they had gone down to personally speak to one of the woman in the photo as well as Rahman.

“The waters near Tanjung Sedili are teeming with these Grade C types of fishes, including ikan gelama and ikan duri.

“It was a bountiful harvest for one fisherman that day and he invited villagers to help themselves to it,” he said.

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Malaysia: No chance of haze over Games

The Star 18 Aug 17;

PETALING JAYA: Good news for participants and spectators at the 29th SEA Games – it’s going to be haze-free throughout the KL 2017 event, said the Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia).

While recent thunderstorms have brought heavy rains and floods in several states, the silver lining is that the downpours are dousing any chances of haze.

“With the SEA Games taking place, we were worried the haze might make an appearance but the recent wet weather, especially in the Klang Valley, has been good news,” said MetMalaysia director-general Alui Bahari.

Malaysia is currently experiencing the south-west monsoon – which is typically drier – but he said so far, there was no indication of a build-up of hot spots or forest fires in Malaysia or Indonesia due to the wet spell.

When asked about MetMalaysia’s forecasts on the downpours that had caught many off guard, Alui said there were two types of rain in the country.

“For rains brought by the monsoon, we provide two to three days’ advance warning,” he said.

However, for thunderstorms which occur when moist air near the ground becomes heated and rises to form cumulonimbus clouds that bring rain, Alui said these were harder to predict.

“It is harder to predict how intense it will get and we can at best only give two to three hours’ notice,” he said, adding that forecasters would know in advance where a thunderstorm was likely to hit.

“A three-hour warning for a thunderstorm is still okay but if you want a warning a day before or even earlier, it will be very difficult.

“In any country near the equator you will find that such a technology does not exist,” he said.

He said in most developed countries, the climate was temperate with four clearly defined seasons.

“The weather patterns in these countries form and hold for a longer time. In our country, where the climate is tropical, thunderstorms build up and last for a shorter period,” he said.

On whether MetMalaysia’s equipment could be upgraded to allow for further improvements in forecasting, Alui said those in its weather monitoring stations were all up to date.

However, there was an ongoing effort by MetMalaysia to widen and increase its weather radar coverage, he said.

There are various ways to keep up with the latest weather alerts from MetMalaysia, including following its official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/malaysiamet/), downloading its app myCuaca or a third party app Rain Alarm, which uses radar coverage.

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