Best of our wild blogs: 4 Mar 18

Butterfly Photography Series
Butterflies of Singapore

In the news: Invasive mussels in Singapore's northern shores
wild shores of singapore

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The Ubin boatmen, and a trade stuck in time

TOH EE MING Today Online 4 Mar 18;

SINGAPORE — With his easy-going grin, wiry frame and trendy sunglasses perched atop his brown-streaked hair, Rudy, 32, is the odd one out among the mostly grey-haired boatmen whiling their time away at Changi Point Ferry Terminal, waiting for their turn to bring customers across the sea to Pulau Ubin.

His bumboat looks rather different from the rest too, decorated with personal knick-knacks such as an umbrella disguised as a katana sword, a Rilakkuma bear, and a Guy Fawkes mask which a friend had left behind post-Halloween.

Rudy, who studied mechanical engineering at the Institute of Technical Education, was working as an events coordinator for three years at venues such as the Mastercard Theatre at Marina Bay Sands and Esplanade, as well as events such as the Formula One race.

His life took a completely different turn, however, when he decided to try something new as a freelance boat operator in 2013, having gotten his licence through the Singapore Polytechnic. He later became an Ubin boatman, a job which he has been working at for the last two years.

Being a boatman has helped him discover a love for the sea and a sense of freedom, the bachelor said.

He is among the 34 boatmen who ply the waters between Changi and Pulau Ubin daily. The community was in the spotlight recently following the news of a botched escape by former City Harvest Church fund manager Chew Eng Han.

Chew had allegedly engaged the services of a boatman Tan Poh Teck, 53.

The community was quick to distance themselves from him, saying Tan was “not one of us” as he owned a fish farm and was not ferrying people full-time.

They were also angry that he had besmirched their reputation, with most of them earning a humble income - between S$1,200 and S$2,000 a month - from a day’s honest work. Apart from ferrying people to the island, the boatmen earn money from fishing trips and increasingly, taking family members out to sea to scatter the ashes of their departed loved ones.

Through word-of-mouth, Rudy took over from a veteran Pulau Ubin boat operator who suffered a stroke, and has been ferrying customers between Changi Point Ferry Terminal and Pulau Ubin for the past two years.

The Bedok resident said that before he became a boatman he had not heard of Pulau Ubin, let alone stepped onto its shores.

Rudy is the youngest and newest recruit among the Ubin boatmen, comprising mainly gruff seamen in their 60s to 70s who have been plying the trade for decades —having had the job passed down to them from their fathers or stumbling onto it after marrying a local on the island.

The boatmen are a guarded bunch, preferring to keep a low profile. It took plenty of convincing for them to open up to TODAY about their livelihood and their way of life.


Even before stepping foot on Pulau Ubin, Changi Village emanates a rustic feel, with time seeming to stand still, especially at the jetty where the sight of the bumboats takes one back to the ‘70s.

Unlike the rest of Singapore where everything mostly works like clockwork, the seemingly unsystematic way of organising the boat trips can also require getting used to for some.

As passengers trickle in and sit on the wooden benches, it is an exercise in patience – both for the boatmen and the customers – as each boat will only leave with a dozen passengers on board.

Once the number is reached, the passengers make their way gingerly down the walkway, and onto the bumboats. Before moving off, the boatman collects S$3 from each passenger, a fare that has gone up by only 50 cents over the years. After payment is fully collected, the boatman cranks up the engine, and the bumboat roars into life, tossing up white foam on the teal-coloured sea water as it sets off on a ride that typically takes 15 minutes or so.

While it could take a while for first-time visitors to figure out how the system works, all the boatmen abide by an unofficial queuing system where they scribble down their licence boat number on a whiteboard, to indicate who arrived first, according to Changi Point Ferry Association chairman and veteran boat operator Kit Kau Chye, 70.

Other than ferrying people to and from Pulau Ubin, the boat operators cater to a myriad of chartered services. These include six hour-long fishing trips for enthusiasts, groups of monks visiting the Wei Tuo Fa Gong Temple on the island, and grieving families taking the boats out into the sea off the Changi coast where they will scatter the ashes of their deceased loved ones.

Late-night trips to Pulau Ubin are also part of the services - be it ferrying shutterbugs on a quest to capture the Ubin wildlife on night photo walks, sending large groups to the nearby Smith Marine Floating Kelong Restaurant, or bringing campers back to the mainland after campfires. Occasionally, the boatmen will be activated to ferry visitors who inadvertently missed the last boat.

Alex (not his real name), a boatman in his 50s, is always the first name on the night duty list. He usually gets four to five night bookings a week. These jobs can earn him nearly double the usual daytime rides, at S$60 a trip between Changi and Pulau Ubin.

For other trips, the rates are up for negotiation, depending on the distance, duration, and the level of familiarity between the customers and the boatmen, among other factors, said Mr Kit.

For instance, prices can start from S$80 for a one-hour journey to as much S$500 to S$600 for a fishing trip, which are often the most lucrative but require the boatmen to spend long hours out at sea.

For Mr Kit, the trips taking families out to scatter ashes in the sea are “fast and easy” and earn him the most money, although he provides such a service for free for those who cannot afford to pay. Such services can cost as low as S$80 or as high as S$1,000 each trip, depending on the religious rites, with the boatmen taking a cut from the funeral service companies.

While some of the boatmen TODAY spoke to said they can earn up to S$2,000 a month with these extra bookings, Rudy, for example, takes home between $1,200 and S$1,800 as he does not do much of chartered boat services currently.


By 7am to 9am each day, most of the boatmen will already be by the docks at the Changi Point Ferry Terminal. However, they often have to wait till noon before business picks up.

After the boatmen ferry the first wave of visitors to Pulau Ubin during lunch time, it will be another long wait at the island’s jetty. Time crawls by as the boatmen idle away the hours.

On a typical weekday afternoon at Ubin jetty, some boatmen would be resting on the benches, staring into the distance or fiddling around on their phones. Others would be reading newspapers, while a few would be listening to Chinese oldies on the radio inside their docked bumboats.

During their spare time, the boatmen sometimes head off into the island to look for their friends.

They consider themselves lucky if they manage to do four trips a day, before ending work at about 5pm, and heading back to their homes, mostly in the eastern part of Singapore such as Bedok or Tampines.

When the wooden bumboats need fixing, they will be sent to a boatyard nestled among the mangroves, along Sungei Jelutong in the south of Pulau Ubin. This is the only boatyard on the island, and it is run by Mr Choo Seng Sim, who is in his 70s. Here, the boats can get a fresh coat of paint, or their engine fixed.

Mr Choo employs two brothers from Myanmar. One of them is Mr Zawmin Tun, 39, who has been working in Singapore for the last decade and earns about S$1,500 a month. “I’m happy here,” he said. On weekends, he goes to the mainland to get his groceries from Peninsula Plaza.


As the association chairman, Mr Kit’s job involves keeping the peace among the boatmen and helping them with their needs. These include settling disputes with customers or between the boatmen themselves, and roping in translators for boatmen who do not understand English.

Mr Kit collects about S$55 every month from each boatman, and the funds go toward paying helpers to manage the flow of passengers on busy weekends, as well as annual celebratory dinners at a seafood restaurant in Changi Village.

While most of the boatmen have known one another for decades, and see each other almost every day, there is a hint of an unspoken rivalry among the group despite the occasional banter.

“We see each other day in day out… But that’s it”, said one boatman in Mandarin, who declined to be named.

But Alex noted: “As long as you don’t anyhow snatch people’s customers, people won’t dislike you.”

Being a greenhorn to the business, Rudy said he bears the brunt of the good-natured ribbing.

“They’ll tease me by saying, ‘Eh, small boy, faster lah. Do your job chop chop. Don’t be too slow, don’t be too weak. Come on, old man is moving much faster than you,” he said.

At the same time, the veterans have been offering him pointers, such as how to manoeuvre the boat during inclement weather, low tides or at night. They also dish out life advice such as to “work hard and not give up”, said Rudy, who looks up to the old-timers.

While he is thinking of branching out into doing fishing trip boat charters, he is aware that he will need to earn his stripes. The old-timers zealously guard their prime fishing spots, he noted. He is “still learning the way” around these unofficial boundaries, he said with a rueful grin.


While their livelihood is not in imminent danger of disappearing, the boatmen said that business has been dwindling, compared to the days when there were more residents on Pulau Ubin who would regularly shuttle between the island and the mainland.

Today, the business comes mostly from tourists and foreign workers visiting the island during the weekends for a rustic getaway.

Despite the situation, most of the boatmen are resigned to their lot.

But there are a few who are trying ways and means to get more customers. For instance, to make his bumboat stand out from the others, Alex has painted it with bright yellow stripes, and placed a rattan chair on board.

“I like to keep it clean and tidy, a little bit different from the rest…It’s about providing good service,” he said. He claimed that 80 per cent of his customers came to him because they were attracted to his boat, which he had forked out S$30,000 to S$40,000 to buy.

If one looks closer, some other boats bear the stamp of their operators. There is one with a bonsai plant on top, while Mr Kit has lined the interior of his boat with name cards including those from casket companies and reporters, among others.

Under the existing first-come-first-serve system where the boatmen “turn up every day hoping for customers”, regular Ubin visitor Terence Tan, 37, wondered if improvements can be made to help the community.

Mr Tan, who is the founder and executive director of social enterprise Artsolute, has been involved with various community initiatives on Pulau Ubin.

For instance, the Changi Point Ferry Association could look at adopting a system to better match demand and supply, with all enquiries and bookings going to a centralised body which then distributes the jobs evenly so as to ensure all the boatmen can make ends meet, Mr Tan suggested.

“If a few don’t make it through, they quit and the fleet (eventually) becomes smaller and smaller,” he said.

A list of important contact numbers should also be clearly placed at the Ubin jetty, Mr Tan proposed. Currently, visitors who miss the last boat might have to roam around the island knocking on residents’ doors, or seek help from the Pulau Ubin Police Coast Guard, which will then ring up the Changi Point Ferry Terminal office to see if there are any boatmen who happen to be on the night shift.

If these stranded visitors are lucky, assistance can come swiftly from boatmen resting in their boats. Otherwise, they may have to wait between 30 minutes and an hour, for the boatmen to make their way down from their homes on the mainland.

Some of the boatmen have been trying to leverage social media to boost their business. Mr Kit, for example, advertises his services on a Facebook page which was set up by his niece. The page lists his mobile phone number, and Mr Kit said he has gotten quite a number of enquiries and bookings as a result, so much so that he is sometimes overwhelmed and passes on the business to other boatmen.

Meanwhile, the younger boatmen such as Rudy are careful not to be overly aggressive in getting customers, even though they have an advantage over the older boatmen in terms of being digitally savvy and proficient in English.

“As an outsider, I don’t want to change the culture and change how they deal with the customers… That’s how they have done (business) all these years, so I have to respect it ,” he said.

Some of the older boatmen also lamented that it was pointless to try and modernise the business. For example, they felt that a demand-based system or a fixed hourly departure schedule would not work, as visitors to Pulau Ubin arrive sporadically and not in groups.

A boatman in his 60s, who declined to be named, said in Mandarin: “What’s the use of (doing) something new when there are not even many customers?”

Alex added: “It’s not like taxis who you can actively search on the roads for customers… we just have to wait for them to come.”

Given the relentless pace of Singapore’s development and the lack of interest from the younger generation in the trade, most boatmen feel that it was a matter of time before the trade dies.

To Mr Kit, the younger generation are just not cut out to brave the storms and sweltering heat working as boatmen.

“I don’t know what will happen in the future,” he said. “It looks like this business will be history, because there are no successors. Let nature take its course.”

Ubinites and boatmen help make unusual wedding bash a reality
TOH EE MING Today Online 3 Mar 18;

SINGAPORE — It was one of the most unusual requests that the boatmen plying the waters between Changi and Pulau Ubin have ever gotten: Over several hours, they must ferry more than a hundred wedding guests, many of whom came from faraway lands and have never set foot on Pulau Ubin, to the island.

It took about 10 to 15 trips in all – each bumboat can take up to a dozen passengers – with several boatmen helping out. Others on the island, including van drivers and restaurant owners, were mobilised too for the wedding of artist Terence Tan, 37, and his Australian wife, which took place on Jan 28.

Professing a love for the rustic life on Ubin, Mr Tan, founder and executive director of social enterprise Artsolute, said the chance to hold the wedding someplace “off-the-beaten track” came about by chance last year, when an Ubin resident called Ah Kok had offered to his house to hold the wedding celebrations. In the weeks after, the event quickly became the “talk of the town” among the Ubinites and the boatmen, who till today could not believe he managed to pull the wedding off.

Mr Kit Kau Chye, a 70-year-old boat operator who heads the Changi Point Ferry Association, recalled: “(When Mr Tan first broached the request with the boatmen), everyone was quite puzzled because it’s not common for people to organise their wedding on Ubin, so it was something quite unusual.”

Mr Tan noted that even as wedding preparations were underway, many were sceptical and initially thought “it was a joke”.

When the big day arrived, the sleepy island – which is currently inhabited by fewer than 40 residents – was transformed into a flurry of activity with a big wedding bash being held there, possibly in recent years.

To the amusement of the Ubin residents, who were also invited to the wedding, some 120 wedding guests turned up, comprising a mix of nationalities with people from Singapore, Australia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Japan, South Korea, India, and the United Kingdom.

A no-frills wedding ceremony, where the couple exchanged vows and their rings, was held by the sea. The area was decorated with sprigs of baby’s breath, candles, ribbons and colourful bunting.

Later, a tea ceremony and the cutting of the wedding cake took place at an Ubinite’s house, near the famous Ah Ma Drink Stall on the south side of Ubin. The party continued into the night, accompanied by the soundtrack of Chinese oldies, ethnic Malay music which played out on speakers powered by generators.

The wedding would not have been possible without the generosity and warmth of the Ubinites.

Mr Tan had gotten to know Ah Kok and his family a decade ago on a television shoot. Subsequently, he was invited by the Singapore Heritage Society to do volunteer work on Pulau Ubin, which involved getting to know the island’s residents, doing portraits of them and collecting their stories.

Mr Tan had met his wife in 2013 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She was traveling in Southeast Asia to learn puppetry, and had volunteered for a youth puppet arts education programme which he was leading, after she had heard about it through a friend.

The couple jumped at the idea of holding their wedding on Pulau Ubin as it was also economical, even though they had the uphill task of getting everything ready within three to four months.

As he had not heard of anyone holding a wedding on the island in this day and age, they “couldn’t exactly get a wedding planner”, said Mr Tan, who noted that planning the big day themselves made it “much more authentic”.

Among other things, he had to negotiate the costs for the catering of the food for example, and there was a lot haggling and working things out from scratch as there was no template or precedence to speak of.

There was also a lot uncertainty, with the wedding coinciding with the rainy season, and the couple could not be sure how many guests would turn up or what time they would arrive. As a result, they had to reassure the van owners and boat operators that things would work out, Mr Tan recalled.

The zi char (cooked food) restaurant on Pulau Ubin catered the food while chairs were borrowed from the temple. Guests were free to don casual attire to beat the humid weather, and some showed up in sarongs, for example.

Some friends were stationed at the Changi Point Ferry Terminal and the Ubin jetty to hold up a picture of him and his wife, and to help direct guests to the party venue. During the dinner, the Ubinites reminisced and traded stories about weddings held on the island in the distant past.

Mr Tan recalled that because of a flight delay, a guest had to come to the island straight from the airport. As he was the latest to arrive at 10pm that day, a boat trip had to specially arranged for him at the last minute.

“That’s what made (holding the wedding at) Ubin very easy because everyone was so nice… As long as you needed help, someone will help you,” said Mr Tan.

He said the experience has brought him and the Ubinites “closer together” and helped them strike up a kinship.

For Mr Tan, Pulau Ubin offers a respite and change of pace from the stressful city life.

“It’s a culture that is familiar to me even though I wasn’t born in a kampung... The second you step in, seeing (people of different ethnicities and nationalities working together) … This is precisely what our forefathers talked about…That is the lifestyle I am trying to protect,” he said.

He has since been invited back to Pulau Ubin for steamboat during the recent Chinese New Year festivities. In appreciation of the Ubinites’ hospitality, he gave hongbaos and oranges to the villagers and the businesses.

Adding that some of his friends have expressed interest in holding their weddings on Pulau Ubin as well, he said with a laugh: “I hope we’ve started a trend… Hopefully another brave soul will turn up and do the same!”

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8 cases of illegal tiger parts trade, smuggling in Singapore since 2015: AVA on World Wildlife Day

Lydia Lam Straits Times 3 Mar 18;

SINGAPORE - Since 2015, there have been eight cases of tiger parts being illegally traded and smuggled in Singapore, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said on Saturday (March 3), which is World Wildlife Day.

In a post on Facebook, AVA said: "Today, we celebrate World Wildlife Day to raise awareness of the plight of threatened or endangered species."

The theme for this year's occasion, which was proclaimed on Dec 20, 2013, by the United Nations General Assembly, is "Big Cats: Predators Under Threat".

AVA said that tigers are the most endangered of all the big cat species, and face various threats caused by human activities.

The authority shared a graphic on tigers, which highlighted recent enforcement cases in Singapore: In 2016, it meted out a $1,000 fine for the illegal sale of two pieces of tiger teeth.

In 2015, it gave out another $1,000 fine for possession of a piece of leopard tooth.

The same year, it meted out a $5,000 fine for the possession and sale of five pieces of tiger claws.

Under Singapore's Endangered Species (Import and Export) (Prohibition of Sale) Notification, the domestic sale of tiger specimens is prohibited.

Anyone who sells, offers, or exposes for sale or display to the public any tiger parts and products commits an offence.

If found guilty, a suspect can be jailed for up to a year and/or fined up to $10,000.

According to the World Wide Fund For Nature, formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund, there are only an estimated 3,900 tigers left in the wild in areas such as Russia and Indonesia.

However, there are believed to be as many as 8,000 captive tigers in farms across China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

Some of the uses of tiger parts include tiger teeth in amulets, tiger claws and teeth as lucky charms, and in traditional Chinese medicine.

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Emission impossible: Pre-loved goods sold to benefit needy and reduce waste

Gracia Lee Straits Times 3 Mar 18;

SINGAPORE - An annual drive to collect "pre-loved" goods such as clothing, toys, books and accessories pulled in its biggest haul yet this year.

This weekend, the items went on sale to the public at City Square Mall with the aim of benefiting disadvantaged children - and the environment.

EcoBank collected more than 17,500kg of second-hand goods which, had they been sent to the incinerator, would have produced 7,012 tonnes of carbon emissions - equal to what is produced from 1,121 homes in one year.

The total was up from 10,770kg last year and 6,100kg in 2016, when the initiative began.

The public donated the items at eight collection points across Singapore.

The weekend-long sale, organised by sustainability firm Eco-Business and property giant City Developments (CDL), aimed to encourage conscious consumption and raise awareness of waste generation.

All proceeds from the bazaar will be donated to the six charities under The Children's Charities Association of Singapore, while unsold items will be passed on to the association and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for their fund-raising efforts.

Singapore produced 7.81 million tonnes of rubbish in 2016, up from 7.67 million tonnes in 2015, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Giving a speech at the bazaar's official opening ceremony on Saturday (March 3), Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor, the guest of honour, said reducing waste will help to decrease emissions and combat climate change.

She added that initiatives such as EcoBank are important and support the Year of Climate Action 2018, a national awareness campaign.

Fashion 3R, a sister initiative that aims to spread awareness about sustainable fashion and the true cost of consumption, was also launched at the opening ceremony.

Jointly organised by CDL, the NEA, Eco-Business, NGO Connected Threads Asia and the Raffles College of Higher Education, the initiative has conducted several activities, including a showcase and sale of outfits "upcycled" by students of the Raffles College of Higher Education.

Fashion 3R will also hold an upcycling workshop by local textile artist Agatha Lee on Sunday at the Singapore Sustainability Academy. Upcycling involves using discarded items to produce something of higher value.

Paramedic Patrick Chua, 39, who volunteered to tend the premium items booth at EcoBank, said about $600 worth of items were sold at the booth in three hours.

Meanwhile, Ms Dianna Ella, 33, an administrator at a property company, spent about $50 at the bazaar. She said: "The clothes are quite on trend, and at least I'm spending on something with a purpose."

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Thousands pledge change in habits to save water

This year's World Water Day campaign puts focus on usage at home, ropes in more students
Gracia Lee Straits Times 4 Mar 18;

More than 4,000 people from 30 organisations and educational institutions yesterday pledged to do their part at home to save water and fight climate change. In particular, they promised to adopt five household habits - take shorter showers, half-flush toilets when possible, wash vegetables and dishes in a container, use a mug when brushing their teeth and only wash full loads of clothes.

They were at the Marina Barrage to celebrate Singapore World Water Day (SWWD), which was yesterday, although events related to it will carry on for a month.

The event is organised every year by national water agency PUB.

President Halimah Yacob launched the event.

Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli were also present.

According to PUB's household water consumption study, which involved 400 households from 2016 to 2017, showering, flushing toilets, using the kitchen and doing the laundry accounted for about three-quarters of an average household's total water use.

Showering alone takes up 27 per cent of a household's monthly water consumption, using an average of 9 litres of water per minute.


Many may not be aware, but taking small steps to minimise water usage for these activities can make a significant contribution in our overall conservation efforts.


Speaking at the event, Madam Halimah said: "Many may not be aware, but taking small steps to minimise water usage for these activities can make a significant contribution in our overall conservation efforts."

She added that the event carries a greater significance this year since Singapore has designated 2018 to be the Year of Climate Action, a national initiative aimed at raising awareness of climate change.

This year's SWWD campaign will also see 95 schools, including 61 pre-schools, taking part in a water-rationing exercise which aims to help students better understand the value of water. This is more than twice the 45 schools that participated last year.

On World Water Day on March 22, Singapore's landmarks, like the Esplanade, Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay and Resorts World Sentosa, will be lit in blue light from 7pm in support of the sustainability cause.

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Indonesia: Save tigers to save forests, activists say

Moses Ompusunggu The Jakarta Post 3 Mar 18;

Protecting Indonesian tigers can help to preserve the country's forest ecosystems, environmentalists have said.

Healthy forests are important for critically endangered Sumatran tigers as they require expansive territories in the wild. When hunting, they typically require 300 square kilometers of forest.

Sumatran tigers can be saved from extinction by ensuring their habitat is protected from land conversion, said Sunarto, a tiger specialist with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia.

"Therefore, saving tigers also means saving their large habitat. It's important because forests also serve as water catchment areas for humans," Sunarto said on Friday.

Munawar Kholis, chairman of Sumatran tiger conservation NGO HarimauKita Forum, said protecting the tigers was also important to ensure "the health of ecological systems", as the animals were apex predators in their food chain.

But a declining habitat due to extensive deforestation to make way for oil palm and pulp and paper plantations has played a big part in the decreasing population of tigers in Sumatra.

A study published in the journal Nature Communications last year estimated that the population of Sumatran tigers dropped from 742 adults in the wild in 2000 to 618 in 2012, while an official estimate from the Environment and Forestry Ministry puts the figure at 600.

The population decrease is also caused by illegal poaching, which experts blame on a high demand for tiger body parts used for jewelry or as collection pieces.

"Illegal wildlife trade should be treated as an important case and collaboration among all parties is essential," said Wiratno, the ministry's director general for natural resources and ecosystem conservation, in a statement obtained by The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

In a message for 2018 World Wildlife Day, which this year falls on March 3 and focuses on big cats, IUCN director general Inger Andersen said around 80 percent of the global tiger population had vanished from the wild over the past 21 years. (ahw)

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Indonesia: Stranded sperm whale in Situbondo successfully saved

Antara 4 Mar 18;

Situbondo, E Java (ANTARA News) - The sperm whale stranded on the coast of Situbondo, East Java, since Thursday evening has successfully been saved by taking him to the middle of the sea.

"The process of evacuation of the stranded whale in the village of Jangkar lasted from 9.30pm on Friday to 00.30 hours on Saturday," marine resource surveillance post officer of Benoa, Bali, Yuliono, said.

Workers from the Natural Resource Coordinating Agency (BKSDA)` the Marine Resource Surveillance Post (PSDKP), the sea security agency, the marine police and the police sector has deliberately cobducted the evacuation at night because if it was done in the afternoon it was feared a lot of people would come by boat to see it.

Five fisherman boats and three jet skies were involved in the operation. The boats were tasked with driving the fish to the middle of the sea.

" Thank God the evacuation was successful. The participation of the voluntees on jet skys had been very helpful," he said.

Two jet skies from Jasalindo were seen dragging the animal using a rope which was tied on the body of the fish by some volunteer divers.

The 20-meter long and 8-high sperm whale was found stranded on the coast of Jangler Village, Situbondo Regency, East Java, on Thursday (March 1) evening.

The fish was believed to have got stranded after being pursued by marine predators and separated from its group, Banyuwangi head of Resort Conservation Area Vivi Primayanti said.

"It is difficult to move the mammal from 500 metres within the beach because the sea water has receded," she said in Situbondo on Friday.

The first measure to keep the stranded whale living was to cover its body with a large carpet to avoid direct contact with sunlight. The whale will be pushed back in to the ocean during high tide.

Reported by Novi Husdinariyanto/Zumrotun Solichah

Editor: Heru Purwanto

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