Best of our wild blogs: 8 Apr 18

Singapore got dolphins and sea turtles
wild shores of singapore

Butterfly Photography Series - Part 2
Butterflies of Singapore

Join me for an exhilarating experience – plant a tree (or two) at Chestnut Nature Park, Sat 19 May 2018
Otterman speaks

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Dolphin seen entangled in fishing line at Bedok Jetty

Chew Hui Min Channel NewsAsia 7 Apr 18;

SINGAPORE: A dolphin that wandered to Bedok Jetty on Saturday (Apr 7) morning was injured after it became entangled in an angler's fishing line, a witness said.

Mr Daniel Sim told Channel NewsAsia that he was jogging at about 7.40am when he saw a crowd of people gathered at the end of the jetty.

When he got close, he saw the dolphin struggling in the water. It was entangled in a fishing line and the angler was "reeling in" the mammal, he said.

"Many people were asking him to cut the line but he continued," Mr Sim, 38, said. "I think everyone was surprised and concerned."

The businessman then called the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES). Two minutes after the call, the angler cut the line, he said.

But even after the line was cut, the dolphin, which was alone, swam away slowly.

"I think it was exhausted," Mr Sim said. Photos and videos showed that it was bleeding at the tail.

"We were alerted to this case and responded but the dolphin was nowhere to be seen," said Mr Kalai Vanan, deputy chief executive officer of Acres.

"We are monitoring the situation for now and urge members of the public to call our hotline at 97837782 should you spot the dolphin."

Source: CNA/hm

Dolphin 'caught in fishing line' at Bedok Jetty
Lydia Lam Straits Times 7 Apr 18;

SINGAPORE - A dolphin was reportedly entangled in a fishing line at Bedok Jetty on Saturday morning (April 7).

The incident drew a crowd of about 70 people, Lianhe Wanbao reported on Saturday.

An eyewitness who gave his name only as Mr Chia told The Straits Times that he was cycling at Bedok Jetty when he took a rest at the end of the jetty at about 7.30am.

"Looking out at the sea, I saw this thing that was floating," said the 55-year-old architect. "I thought it was a stingray, but it was drifting towards the jetty and I realised that it was a dolphin. It was struggling, the tail looked like it was entangled in some string. There was a hook on the string, attached to a fisherman's line at the jetty."

Mr Chia said a crowd started to gather when they realised there was a dolphin near the jetty.

"Somebody behind me was talking to some authority asking them to come down, but shortly after, the fisherman cut the line and the dolphin drifted away," he said. "The dolphin looked very weak and drifted out to sea."

He said the entire episode lasted about 15 minutes and there was no blood or any sound from the dolphin.

Dolphin's tail caught on fishing hook at Bedok Jetty

"I've never seen dolphins before at the jetty. I've seen wild dolphins only in Malaysia," he said.

Mr Chia said a crowd started to gather when they realised there was a dolphin near the jetty. PHOTO: MR CHIA
Mr Kalai Vanan, deputy chief executive officer of Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (Acres), told ST that Acres received a call about the incident and responded, but the animal had left when its staff arrived.

"The animal was sighted again a while ago but has since disappeared," he said. "We suspect it might (still) be entangled in something, we are trying to get more details and attempt to free the dolphin from the entanglement if possible."

Dolphins are not uncommon in Singapore's waters. In 2016, a dolphin carcass washed ashore at East Coast Park. It was identified as an Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin, or pink dolphin, the most commonly sighted dolphin species in Singapore waters.

In sightings reported to the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI), at least 169 dolphins were spotted between 2008 and 2011 in the waters between Singapore and Batam, near St John's Island and Pulau Semakau, and as close to shore as the Marina Barrage.

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Pilgrimage to Kusu Island, Malay weddings, hawker culture among the first 50 items identified for Unesco listing

Melody ZaccheusH Straits Times 7 Apr 18;

SINGAPORE – Hawker heritage, pilgrimages to Kusu Island and Malay weddings are among 50 items that feature in Singapore’s first intangible cultural heritage inventory.

Comprising traditions, rituals, crafts, expressions, knowledge and skills, it was released by the National Heritage Board (NHB) on Saturday (April 7).

It is hoped its publication will start a conversation about what the Republic’s nomination should be for its first attempt at making Unesco’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Malaysia’s Mak Yong theatre from the villages of Kelantan, Belgium’s beer culture and Italy’s Neapolitan art of pizza twirling already feature on the almost 400-strong Unesco list which sets out to demonstrate the diversity of world heritage.

Singapore’s bid, which comes after the Botanic Gardens was inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2015, is aimed at raising the profile of the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Items on the inventory were selected by the NHB’s Heritage Advisory Panel from an ongoing intangible cultural heritage survey, started in 2016.

Elements are grouped under six categories, with some entries overlapping.

The categories are: oral traditions and expressions; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; traditional craftsmanship; and food heritage.

The pilgrimage to Kusu Island falls under several categories and is arguably a truly Singaporean experience as it is location-based.

The island’s history as a place of worship dates back to at least 1813, before Sir Stamford Raffles arrived in Singapore. In modern times, people visit the island’s Tua Pek Kong temple to worship. They pray for fertility at a tree or stroke the temple’s stone turtle statues for luck.

Worship on Kusu Island is also linked to the Malay keramat (or shrine) on a nearby hill.

Malay weddings here, meanwhile, are typically held at HDB void decks, instead of the traditional arrangement with a reception is held at the family home’s courtyard.

Another entry, xinyao, is a repertoire of Mandarin songs composed, written and performed by young Singaporeans. It can be traced to the late 1970s.

The board said the inventory will be progressively updated in batches.

The Singapore National Commission – chaired by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Ms Grace Fu – will submit the country’s nomination after consultations, and feedback from the public and NHB’s panel. It is not yet known when this will take place.

It takes about two years for Unesco to officially list an element.

Could hawker heritage be Singapore’s Unesco entry?

At Jurong Town Hall on Saturday, Ms Fu launched both the Singapore Heritage Festival, and the Our SG Heritage Plan – the first holistic masterplan for the Republic’s heritage and museum sector, which the inventory comes under.

On the Unesco nomination, she said the eventual element that is listed “should reflect our multicultural and multiracial make-up”, adding: “It should also resonate with Singaporeans from all backgrounds, and help in building a greater sense of our national identity.”

The $66 million Our SG Heritage Plan also includes a survey of places of architectural, historical, cultural, social or educational significance, and sites or structures completed before 1980. The findings have yet to be released but are expected to be factored into future land planning decisions.

The masterplan comes as citizens are paying more attention to the island’s history, heritage and identity. The goal is to develop a long-term strategic plan for heritage issues, and to enhance the country’s capabilities in research, documentation and commemoration.

In her speech, Ms Fu said the food heritage category was a recent addition following “significant enthusiasm and interest” among Singaporeans. In a NHB poll this year, food resonated most strongly with the 3,000-plus respondents.

The NHB said countries often share similar intangible cultural elements and the inventory will include elements that can be found in other countries. However, the NHB said it will highlight unique features of how these elements are expressed and, or practised in Singapore, and show how they have evolved to suit the local context.

Other entries in its inventory include silambam – a form of martial arts using a long staff typically made of bamboo. It is believed to have originated from the southern part of India.

Ayurveda, wood-fired pottery and the cuisine of ethnic groups here, also feature .

The NHB added that languages and dialects are not defined as intangible cultural heritage under the Unesco convention.

The public can weigh in and contribute information and resources to the inventory at:

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Dialogues to gather views of youth kick off at conference

Rachel Au-Yong Straits Times 8 Apr 18;

SINGAPORE - A series of dialogues to capture the views of young Singaporeans kicked off on Saturday (April 7) with 150 tertiary students and working adults discussing climate action, racism and job security.

The three topics were part of the Youth Conversations, announced during this year's Budget debate, and in the same vein as 2012's Our Singapore Conversations.

These dialogues aim to inform the young about important national issues, as well as help them work out their differences by listening, negotiating and finding solutions together and with the Government, said Minister for Community, Culture and Youth Grace Fu, who attended the event on Saturday.

Ms Fu said she hoped that such dialogues would connect youth who are passionate about certain causes with others who have local knowledge about where these solutions could be implemented.

"We want to see how we can help the youth scale up their projects," she said. "We can provide them with resources, but they will still take charge... They would feel more empowered."

Ms Fu acknowledged that participants at such events may be self-selecting, since they are often already passionate about certain causes, but added that there is still diversity in the mix.

Participants, she noted, come from various schools or workplaces - diverse enough to "allow activation for that partnership to see more youth-initiated projects on the ground", she said.

The Youth Conversations are targeting about 2,000 young people at conferences and roadshows at schools or parks, and thousands more through its social media channels, by the end of the year.

The National Youth Council is conducting an ongoing online survey to get a sense of the topics youth are passionate about. It is also using different engagement models, such as video game simulations and longer workshops, to get them interested.

Saturday's conversations were part of a larger Singapore Youth Conference organised by the National Youth Council and the People's Association.

Among the participants was Mr Sujandren Alaghimanvalan, 21, a soon-to-be undergraduate. He decided to sign up for the workshop on racism to share his experiences and listen to others.

In a few hours, he and his teammates came up with suggestions on how to tackle racism in Singapore, including raising funds for lectures and training themselves to facilitate conversations among races.

"I have a strong passion about this, and I want to see how I can help my friends and neighbours tackle any misconceptions they may have," he said.

Another participant, community intern Elizabeth Tan, 18, attended a climate change workshop. While she found the duration too short to make an immediate change, she said she was inspired to join an organisation to combat food wastage and raise awareness about climate change.

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