Jul 16, 2007

Mone not enough

Apologies, it's hard to think of a less corny blog title after four back-to-back predawn trips and having to suddenly look after twice as many cats who don't much like one another.

Anyway, early this morning, we were out to scout more of Changi for sea anemones, in preparation for the visit by world anemone expert Daphne Fauntin.

Alas, there were very few anemones where we went. I saw only two small swimming anemones, and one small tiger anemone.There were quite a few carpet anemones though. Some were tiny, others were larger (see the seagrass leaves in the photos for scale).For some reason, unlike the carpet anemones on Chek Jawa, those on Changi tend to have large anemone shrimps on them. There was a pair on this anemone that was still expanded as the waves sloshed over it.The bigger one is mama shrimp!For some reason, this part of Changi has lots of special crabs. We've only seen this colourful moon crab on Changi, and haven't seen them this year until now.As I walked in the dark, I nearly bumped into the most gigantic crab I have even seen. I think both of us startled one another. It must have been nearly 30cm wide including pincers. I think it's probably a mud crab (Scylla sp.)Another mutual surprise was my encounter with a cuttlefish! After a few rapid colour and pattern changes, it zoomed away into the murky water.I was wondering where all the sea urchins we saw about two weeks ago had gone. Then realised they were hiding!
The above lump of assorted living and dead stuff looked very suspicious. Gently turning it over revealed a pair of white sea urchins (Salmacis sp.?)I'm not sure what's going on between them. But like people, animals sometimes also gather together to feed. It's not always just to make babies :-)

Chay Hoon found a fang blenny!Needless to say, this fish has a powerful chomp. So fingers were kept well away. I've only seen it one other time at Pulau Semakau.

My find of the day was this amazing Lined moon snail (Natica lineata). This is the first time I've seen a living one! How beautiful the entire animal is! It's a pity such snails are collected and killed just for their shells.
All too soon, it was sunrise, and what a glorious one too!For some reason, most collectors appear on the shore near sunrise. We chatted with this pair of young guys. They had a large plastic bag with a pair of large horseshoe crabs and lots of crabs. They said they were going to eat them all, including the horseshoe crabs. All our horseshoe crabs are listed among the threatened animals of Singapore.This lone older guy was already on the shore for some time. We noticed, he also stopped to take a photo of the sunrise. We approached him and he had a bag full of stuff in one hand, and in the other, a large Bailer snail!
The Bailer snail (Melo melo) is listed among the threatened animals of Singapore. We have never seen a living Bailer snail besides at Beting Bronok. He allowed us to take a photo of it. We asked and he said he was going to eat it. We explained it was rare and asked him to leave it behind, but he just walked away. He wouldn't show us what else he had in his bag.

Is this the last Melo melo on Changi?

We were debating about whether to post about the Melo melo.

If we did, people might actually come look for and remove these beautiful and rare snails. But if we didn't, no one would know that our shores are slowly disappearing into cooking pots.

Recently, it was reported that Malaysia could clone endangered leatherback turtles that face extinction because they "have been hunted for their meat and shells and many get entangled and die in fishing nets in the sea". It is tragic that we only appreciate what we have lost after we have eaten and carelessly killed the last of a special creature.

See also


JC said...

Sure din know there are ppl that are collecting wild animals for food. I wonder if the Singapore's Wild Animals and Birds Act (Chapter 351), http://www.ava.gov.sg/NR/rdonlyres/0CA18578-7610-4917-BB67-C7DF4B96504B/8736/Attach73_legislation_WildAnimalsandBirdsAct.pdf covers them.

tamm said...

That's heartbreaking. All over the world, ignorance is destroying nature. Sad to say it, but education is the only way... we make fun of Singapore's campaigns, but they work.

But we all know that it boils down to financial motivation...

(an ex-Singaporean who saw this post on tomorrow.sg)

Readymade said...

I doubt these people are collecting the animals for food. In particular the Melo Melo. Most likely an excuse.

Short of punishment, I don't know how else to stop these poachers.

charcoal.satsuma said...

we should have rights to do a citizen's arrest on such people. thanks for looking out for our natural heritage

gnauhCeeY said...

Wow! This is soooo cool! Didn't know that the sea in changi is teaming with life... Is changi the only beach on mainland that's still so wonderful?

Ria Tan said...

Yes, we do have some laws to protect our wildlife in general.

And yes, enforcement is an issue.

But at heart, I believe the people who collect do appreciate our shores. If perhaps it is expressed in a rather selfish manner.

I am sure they too will be sad if our shores are devastated due to over-collection or other natural and man-made disasters.

The tricky part is encouraging a more positive appreciation of our shores so that everyone can continue to enjoy them, and their children and theirs.

Yes, there are marvellous shores on Singapore's mainland. Besides Changi, Labrador is also rich in marinelife. And our islands have wonderful marine life too!

Just browse entries on this blog, or the selection of entries about our wild shores on the right column of this blog from the wildsingapore google reader.

There is much to do to raise awareness and bring about greater appreciation of our shores.

You CAN make a difference!

(a) Stop being a part of the problem.
(b) Start being a part of the solution.

Visit our shores. Share about what you've seen. Bring your friends to see our shores for yourself.

Speak up for our shores.

Act for our shores; join any of the many volunteer groups that are working for our shores.

More links on how to do these on the wildsingapore website.

Upperroom said...

How many snails can a lonely old guy eat as compared to the large number of rare snails and marine eco-system totally destoryed by local reclamation.

You don't blame a smoking old man for the greenhouse effect do you? Or blame an old lady cooking her dinner with coal for the hole in the ozone? If you do, you might as well ban charcoal BBQ all together.

Find the root cause and solve the real issue.

Ria Tan said...

I do agree that one snail-eater eating one snail will not destroy the shore. Even if the snail he eats is the last rare snail on that shore.

The real issue is excess, which is the root cause of much of our environmental situation.

While one person alone may cause only limited damage, many doing so can have a significant and longlasting impact.

Just as one farmer clearing a small patch of forest may not bring air traffic to a halt or affect business earnings kilometres away, many doing so at the same time can have a large and long effect.

I believe even reclamation of good shores is largely a result of the lack of awareness.

Reclamation on Chek Jawa was deferred when there was awareness of its richness.

It was a bit too late for the shores affected by the Sentosa IR reclamation, but still, awareness resulted in some effort to save some of the shore.

There is much to do to raise awareness and bring about greater appreciation of our shores.

And in raising awareness one person CAN make a difference.

Just as many individuals doing their own thing can cause multiplied harm, I believe many individuals doing the right thing can together bring about a better situation.

Unknown said...

I don't see this as a an either or issue. Can't we do both - work on educating the government and on individual members of the public at the same time? Government and big businesses are the big culprits but they are also the tough nuts to crack. Individuals have a relatively smaller footprint, but are easier to win over one by one. And the best part is that winning over the individuals is actually an effective way (certainly more effective than writing letters, in my opinion) of eventually getting governments and big businesses to change their mindsets through the expressions of voter and consumer preferences.

On the issue of whether poaching shellfish is an office, I'm not sure if the Wild Animals and Birds Act was ever intended to cover non- terrestial 'animals' (see s 2 of the Act for the definition), but shell would be covered in s 14 of the State Lands Encroachment Act

Ria Tan said...

Yes, most definitely. We can and we ARE doing both!

Shopping Bag said...

Can I bring my shopping bag? The anemone will be good for laksa. The crab can be steamed in ginger garlic. Where is this place? Got buses there or not? One shopping bag enough or mone enough? I am hungry! Going downstairs for laksa with anemones!

Anonymous said...

When will you people going to changi? Email me! monenotenough@yahoo.com Mone not not enough! Must bring more Sheng Siong shopping bags and my raincoat, spades and tongs. Swimming trunk got to bring?

whatafish said...

wow! I will bring my castnet! Looks like a heaven for fishes. That cuttlefish looks delicious.

Ria Tan said...

These comments clearly illustrate the challenges that our shores face.


I suppose when the last crab, cuttlefish and fish has been eaten, we can eat plastic bags?

Eddie said...

Are there any concrete steps to stop these poachers for good. As in REALLY REALLY STOP THEM. it is really sad to see the beauty of nature in the stomach of ignorant selfish buggers who don't give a sh*t about anything

Ria Tan said...

It's heartening to hear your determination Eddie!

As you can see from some of the comments on this entry, not everyone agrees with this view.

It is, unfortunately, up to individuals who care, to try to make a difference.

Do email me hello@wildsingapore.com and perhaps we can chat about some concrete ways to try to do something about this?

Raising awareness is certainly one of the key aspects.

Anonymous said...

Cut all the crap to save the earth. Unless the species are listed under CITES or in gazetted Natural Reserve, pls let Singaporeans to continue to enjoy in this tiny city-state. I agreed fully with what Kevin had said.