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Wildlife Watching Walks for November 2019

Forest village trek at Thomson Nature Park

Date: SATURDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2019
Time: 9.00am to 11.30am
Cost: $13 per pax (adult or kid). Free for participants’ kids aged 6 years and below.
Location: Thomson Nature Park

Please note: This is an easy walk that goes on an uneven dirt path with sloping ground at certain spots, but do note that the return walking distance is between 4 to 5 km. If young kids are coming along, be prepared to carry them.

Walk Brief:

We explore the trails running through this newly opened nature park set in a former Hainanese village. The forest has taken over the remains of the village, but some of its ruins still exist, such as the spiral staircase of the house of the Fox family who were Eurasians who had lived there. Signage along the trails explain the nostalgic ‘kampong’ way of life. Fruit trees from past orchards persist, with rambutan, durian and jackfruit now enjoyed by the wildlife living there.

This park is a key conservation site for the critically endangered Banded Leaf Monkey, Singapore’s only other species of monkey. The Malayan Pangolin and Straw-headed Bulbul are two other globally endangered species who call this lush forest patch their home. And the forest streams here are crucial freshwater habitats for a diversity of damsel and dragonflies.

Hornbills and Hogs on Pulau Ubin

Date: SATURDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2019
Time: 5.00pm to 7.30pm
Cost: $13 per pax (adult or kid). Free for participants’ kids aged 6 years and below.
Location: Pulau Ubin

Walk brief:

We return to the lovely island of Pulau Ubin, this time to look for its famous resident hornbills and wild pigs. The Oriental Pied Hornbill is the only hornbill species still existing in the wilds of Singapore. Its other larger cousins, the Rhinoceros and Helmeted hornbills have both long gone extinct, as Singapore developed and its human population grew and spread. Hornbills have an incredible lifestyle. The female will imprison herself in a tree-hole nest for several months to take care of her eggs and chicks, with the male bringing food to them. As there are not many tall old trees with suitable holes, some nest boxes have been set up for them on Ubin.

Oriental Pied Hornbills live in large, loud family groups, so we’ll hear them before we’ll see them. The Wild Pig is the other iconic wildlife of Ubin. In the past, ‘wild boar’ meat was served at the food stalls on Ubin. It is now against the law to capture, kill or eat them. On Ubin, they roam the forests in search of fallen durian and rambutans. Many Ubin regulars still have fond memories of Priscilla, the piggy mascot at Chek Jawa who was always there during low tide on the mud flats. Our late afternoon to evening walk is timed to the hornbills about to go to bed while the pigs are just waking up from their afternoon siesta.

Please note: This is an easy walk that goes on the main roads and on uneven dirt trails. The return walking distance is about 3km.

Please note:

·         Please register by emailing participants’ name/s, ages of kids, phone number of contact participant, and the chosen activity, to Andrew at: andrewtay.sg@gmail.com

·         More details and instructions will be given upon registration

·         Please do inform if after registering you cannot come for the walk, so that your seat can be passed on to another person on the wait list.

·         We will only proceed with each walk if there is a minimum group size of 10 persons.

·         Payment in cash or cheque will be collected in person at the activity. Cheque to be made payable to: ‘Cicada Tree Eco-Place’

·         All kids must be accompanied by at least 1 adult guardian.

·         Kids get info-sheets and native wildlife stickers at our walks.

Farewell, Subaraj

Subaraj Rajathurai together with marine conservationist Ria Tan at Chek Jawa wetlands. PHOTO: NICHOLAS YEO

Subaraj Rajathurai
1963 – 2019

I was in college on my first journey into nature at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. And even though this was a strange environment that I wasn’t particularly used to, it felt like coming home. I never turned back since.

A lot of people do give up their dreams, but are they happy? Do they look back in regret? I don’t. I’m a firm believer that if you have a passion, a dream, make it work. Because that’s who you are supposed to be.

Subaraj Rajathurai

Singapore has lost an amazing son, superb naturalist, master nature educator and passionate conservationist.

Subaraj Rajathurai was a walking encyclopedia and fountain of knowledge on biodiversity. He cared deeply for nature, fought for Mother Earth and gave unselfishly to us all.

A pioneer in nature conservation, Subaraj spoke fearlessly to protect our last wilderness — even when it was unpopular to do so. He continued being a voice for the voiceless, even during the last days of his life.

Subaraj observes birds from atop a sandbar. PHOTO: NICHOLAS YEO

Subaraj inspired generations of students and budding conservationists. All will never forget the lessons he taught about the importance and beauty of the amazing natural world we live in.

All of us at Cicada Tree Eco-Place are devastated by the loss of a wise, caring and courageous friend. We will always miss his hearty laughter and huge personality.

Subaraj, your demise is a huge loss that can never be replaced. We owe you a debt of gratitude and will always strive to carry on your torch and legacy.

May you rest in peace with the songs of birds in the eternal jungle.


Read about Subaraj’s lifetime of contributions to nature conservation, as reported in The Straits Times, The New Paper and TODAY newspapers. Watch this poignant Singapore Tourism Board Passion Made Possible feature celebrating his life:

Subaraj Rajathurai – wildlife consultant and nature guide

In memory of Subaraj Rajathurai – self-taught naturalist, wildlife expert and a Singaporean whose passion inspired us all. He will be missed.

Posted by Singapore Tourism Board on Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Cross-Island Line: Align interests of present, future generations – ST, 7 Sep 2019

Christopher Tan

The following are excerpts from a Straits Times analysis of the 954-page Cross-Island Line assessment report by Senior Transport Correspondent Christopher Tan. In it, he mooted the possibility of a third alignment further south, which would serve the future Bukit Brown estate.

Tan wrote: “Having one more line serving an area as sizeable as Bukit Brown is well within reason. Many areas in Singapore are served by two or more lines. For instance, Marina Bay has four lines and about half a dozen stations.”

In transport, efficiency here means more than having the shortest possible route between two points. It also means making a transport system accessible to as many people as possible so that its long-term benefits will outweigh its initial cost.

Going to the extreme to achieve either objective would not be viable. You end up with either a straight line, which invariably misses crucial passenger catchments, or a squiggle of a line which makes construction unwieldy and journeys inordinately long.

Christopher Tan, SENIOR TRANSPORT CORRESPONDENT, ST

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Through nature reserve or around? Residents, nature groups stick to guns on Cross Island Line paths – TODAY, 3 Sep 2019

“We are totally not for the Cross Island Line to go through the Central Catchment Nature Reserve… It is a remnant fragment of an ancient rainforest with its incredible biodiversity. That’s something so priceless and invaluable that you can’t put a price on.”

Andrew Tay, EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER, CICADA TREE ECO-PLACE

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