Ford Motor Company Conservation & Environmental Grants

Awarded to N. Sivasothi (Singapore), 20th November 2002
for the
Biodiversity of Singapore & International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (Mangrove section) projects

1. Biodiversity of Singapore

Category: Natural Environment
Organisers: N. Sivasothi, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research & The Habitat Group
Amount allocated: S$15,000

This project aims to sample the fauna and flora of specific natural history sites in Singapore. This is carried out in a series of local expeditions involving student and volunteer groups to photograph and collect voucher specimens coordinated by the Raffles Museum.

Site-specific information for Singapore is rare especially for invertebrates, so the collections are sorted and identified back in the museum, and organism lists are prepared. Data entry of the existing historical SEA collection at the museum is ongoing and information about specific sites in Singapore can be extracted from the sections that are ready. The completed report is published with expert notes about the relevance of the site and made available to the National Parks Boards and the Nature Society.

1.1 Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin
Funded transport of museum guides to Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin, who rostered to help to manage and guide the crowds during public education trips in September and October, and the period 'no government' in November and December until the the deferment of reclamation was announced. We had no authority but persuaded, guided and explained and this worked most of the time.

The guides eventually combined forces with NParks and NSS and initiated a station guiding system for the year-end when the reprieve for Chek Jawa was finalised, at the request of the Minister for National Development, Mr Mah Bow Tan. We coped with the more than 1,000 people who came when the reprieve was announced, but the impact was limited to about 5% of the site.

Current work includes workshops to train new guides, rostering of the current ones, planing the volunteer system for Chek Jawa, preparation of guidesheets, guidebooks, and providing feedback on the proposed management and infrastructure setup for Chek Jawa.

1.2 Other sites in Singapore
We continue to provide feedback and advise on other sites in Singapore to relevant government departments.

1.3 RMBR Zoological Specimen Database
The RMBR database could support conservation of biodiversity significantly. However, the data has been largely in catalogue books or unsupported software. In a slow but ongoing process, databases are being created and slowly brought to excel, phase by phase. See the situation report. The Grant supporting this project as well in the hire of students for database entry and verification.

1.4 Digital and slide images
A new computer has helped to organise slides and digital images which are used in education projects such as workshops, public talks and for exhibitions. I am now planning the cataloguing and publication of images on the web.

1.5 Webpages and mailing lists
The new computer has helped in the maintenance of the several mailing lists (
Habitatnews, Ecotax, etc) and webpages that I manage &endash; Habitatnews, Biodiversity & Ecology Journal Club, Asian Otters, Mangroves of Singapore, etc, and recently, Museum Roundtable. We have acquired a new domain for the popular Chek Jawa website, which was previously a subdirectory under news as it was supposed to be reclaimed by end-2001! It will be supplemented with a guidebook by mid-2002.

1.6 Other projects
I am currently engaged in several other projects, which include
Friends of the Raffles Museum, Library Festival (April), Museum Festival (May), Briskwalking in the Central Catchment (June), and Biking in Ubin (July)


2. International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (Mangrove Section)

Category: Natural Environment
Organisers: N. Sivasothi, The Habitat Group
Amount allocated: S$5,500

This project is part of an international effort of more than 1 million volunteers from 100 countries who work together to:

* Remove debris from the world's rivers and oceans
* Collect information on the amount and types of debris
* Use the information to reduce marine debris and enhance marine conservation at all levels, from the individual to the international.

Operations will start in June.

Presently confirming the site.

Additionally, preparing beach section. In the process of recruiting organisers for this.

See the webpage