Private Lives: An Exposé of Singapore’s Mangroves

December 23, 2008 at 12:54 am | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Itchyfingers first visited the mangroves at Sungei Buloh in the 90s with some friends. We didn’t know much about the plants, insects and birds then but it was a really fun experience for city dweller like me. After joining the Nature Society (Singapore), I had more chances to explore other mangroves to learn more about the lives there. But never did I expect years later, Itchyfingers would be able to be part of the team with the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) to do a book on lives of the mangroves in Singapore.

After about two months, with numerous rounds of text and layout changes, finally, on the 24th of November, the book was launched by Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources at NUS.

My first book

Singapore used to have many mangroves area but today we are left with about 5 per cent of that. Mention mangroves and many people would think of it as muddy, smelly and full of mosquitoes and would never give it a second thought whenever mangroves had to give way to development. The tsunami in 2004 was a rude awakening to many of the importance of mangroves as a natural barrier to the destructive waves. Many of the food that we eat (like fish, prawns and crabs) also come from the mangroves. Plants from mangroves are also important – we get charcoal from the wood of Bakau and atap chee from the seeds of Nipah Palm.

Straits Times report, 22 Nov 08

Straits Times report, 25 Nov 08

Chapter divider with the Shore Pit-viper, a venomous snake. Itchyfingers were
lucky to see it just one month ago

Divider with the Smooth Otter that Itchyfingers saw just the day before…

Some of the birds that can be found in the mangrove habitat

Look out for the different kinds of root system the next time you visit a mangrove!

Some mangrove trees like the one above are called the ‘firefly mangroves’ as they are congregated by fireflies after dark for light display. I had seen the fireflies display at a Malaysia mangroves and they really looked like christmas tree lightings! 😀

If you would like to learn more of the amazing lives of mangroves, Private Lives is definitely a good book to begin with. Christmas is a season of sharing and giving, and the sharing of knowledge certainly would bring much joy to your loved ones!

Private Lives: An Exposé of Singapore’s Mangroves is now available at Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, NUS. Er, Itchyfingers dun get commission for passing this piece of lobang around hor! Hahahah…. 8)

Also see related posts:
> Star Appearance at the Wetland
Smooth Sailor in the Wetland


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