Story by Talking Tiger (Arlene Bastion)
All photos by Cyril Ng

This article was originally posted in May 2010.

This post is in loving memory of our late and dearest nature supporters and contributors who are greatly missed: naturalist Subaraj Rajathurai, actor-singer and host RJ Rosales and Dr Preston Murphy.
Pangolins are being poached to extinction in Southeast Asia and need our help (photo of Sunda Pangolin by Vilma D’Rozario)

Cicada Tree Eco-Place’s very first fundraiser was a bold initiative to raise funds to employ a person to work with TRAFFIC ( to conduct research on pangolins and oversee efforts to curb illegal trade in its scales, meat and skin. Help is definitely needed for the pangolin, a not too well known mammal – except for the hunters – and eaters. Pangolins are the most traded mammal in Southeast Asia and their numbers are dwindling due to this trade which is illegal.

A dinner was held at HortPark on 18th April 2010, and after donations, table ticket and raffle ticket sales, CTEP found it had netted a glorious sum of S$41,000 to aid pangolin conservation. All thanks to generous donors, dinner guests and supporting partners, The Vertebrate Study Group (NSS); Nature’s Niche Pte Ltd., RMBR (NUS), SOTA, ACRES, and venue sponsor, HortPark.

Thank you to Rod Monteiro, our celebrity emcee, for saving pangolins!
Celebrity singer, RJ Rosales with CTEP’s Teresa Teo-Guttensohn
SOTA students sway to the divine voice of RJ Rosales in a hall packed with nature lovers
Sizzling belly dancers enthralled diners

There were about 140 dinner guests in all, charging the hall with chatter and laughter. This special evening event included culinary innovations in vegetarian food, entertainment complete with belly dancing, poetry reading, singing, a veena recital, and a competition based on tables identifying various bird calls.

A highlight was an informative though heartbreaking talk by Chris Shepherd, from TRAFFIC, on the plight of the pangolin, revealing statistics of violation, entrapment, and kingpins laughing all the way to the bank. But now, with the stage set for a dedicated pangolin officer, things are looking brighter for pangolins.

CTEP worked hard. They must have experienced many give up moments. Only three years old, they’ve already pulled off an event which usually has event management firms in a knot.

Also read TRAFFIC’s writeup on the dinner here.

By Talking Tiger

More pictures:

TRAFFIC’s Elizabeth John with volunteer, Tia Guttensohn at a booth set up to showcase the work of TRAFFIC
Yang Mulia Tunku Rogayah Yaccob draws the winning raffle ticket
Thank you Mr Ng Lang for helping us with the raffle draw!
Dr Hsu Chia Chi of NSS wins “Sungei Buloh-Green Reflection” donated by eco-artist Teresa Teo Guttensohn
Teresa recites a poem “Ode to Birdwatching” while Subaraj makes authentic bird calls from behind a screen to illustrate the poem