Media

RESULTS OF EXXONMOBIL ENDANGERED SPECIES AND CONSERVATION PROGRAMME DOCUMENTARY MAKING AND POSTER DESIGN COMPETITION 2017

The ExxonMobil Endangered Species and Conservation Programme aims to increase public biodiversity and conservation awareness of Southeast Asian biodiversity. Under this fully sponsored programme, participants attend a customised 3-hour workshop, where they spend the first two hours learning about endangered species and threats that affect their survival. During the last hour, participants are encouraged to spread the message on conservation using new media.

Secondary School Category: Documentary Making Competition

Secondary school participants are encouraged to take positive action and raise awareness of an endangered species by taking part in a documentary making competition.

The following videos showcase the winners of the documentary making competition for 2017.

First place: Pei Hwa Secondary School, Group 12, featuring the Green Turtle. The team members are: Tricia Ong Li Ying, Wong Wei Ting, Idzhar Dandiar B Bahtiar, and Keith Goeh Kai Yee.

Second place: Queensway Secondary School, Group 4, featuring the Green Turtle. The team members are: Huang Shiquan, Low Wei Qing, Sim Qian Hui, Muhammad Dilshad Koestoer, and Alanna Tang Peh San.

Third place: Hua Yi Secondary School, Group 10, featuring the Malayan Tapir. The team members are: Tiffany Won, Chai Georgia, Chong Xin Yue, and Brandon Ng Guan Xiang.

Primary School Category: Poster Design Competition

Primary school participants share what they learnt via a poster making competition. The winners for 2017 are:

TNS Grp 8

First place: Tao Nan School, Group 8, featuring the Proboscis Monkey. The team members are: Sia Zhi Hung, Wu Zhenyuan, and Lucas Lim.

SPS Grp 12

Second Place: Sembawang Primary School, Group 12, featuring the Malayan Tapir. The team members are: Ang Jun En, Edmund Lam Hao Ming, Harris bin Mohd Zailani, and Hein Htet.

Malayan tapir

Third Place:  Geylang Methodist School (Primary), Group 1, featuring the Malayan Tapir. The team members are: Tan Yu Xuan Eason, Teo Jing An, and Wong Jun Xiang.

Congratulations to all the winners!

We hope that these videos and posters will help to shed some light on the importance of protecting and conserving Southeast Asian biodiversity and the environment.

We are also pleased to announce that this programme will continue from 2018-2020. For more information about the ExxonMobil Endangered Species and Conservation Programme for primary and secondary schools, please contact nhmlearning@nus.edu.sg.

 

Best Museums in Singapore by TimeOut Singapore

We are stoked to be listed as among the best museums in Singapore by Time Out Singapore!
lkcnhm
 
Here’s what they said about us, “But good things come to those who wait, and we rejoiced when the doors of South-East Asia’s first-ever natural history museum were finally flung open once again”.
 
So come visit the Singapore sperm whale, our three towering Jurassic dinosaur fossils, and learn about the rich biodiversity in Southeast Asia.
 
After that, share what you think after your visit. Do leave us a review on TripAdvisor or our Facebook page. We appreciate the feedback given by our guests.

ST Infographic: Diving into Whale Biology

The Straits Times created an infographic of the Singapore sperm whale that explains more about the way of life of this majestic creature, and what the museum discovered about her.

Sperm whales are one of the most capable divers of all mammals. How do they cope with the pressure, and find their food?

Explore the infographic and check out the exhibit starting 15 Mar 2016 at the museum!

020 20160312 Whale Infographic B F T

Image source: The Straits Times

Split Identity: The Flower Crab is Actually Four

The commonly eaten flower crab or swimming crab actually comprises 4 species.

Portunus Lai et al

These crabs that were all formerly known as Portunus pelagicus are now A) Portunus pelagicus, B) P. segnis, C) P. reticulatus, and D) P. armatus. Photo by Joelle Lai.

This research finding recently featured on The Straits Times was published in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology in 2010 by museum staff Dr Joelle Lai, Prof Peter Ng and Dr Peter Davie of the Queensland Museum.

It shows the importance of biodiversity research and its applications in the management of commercial fisheries, particularly of the concern about over-harvesting.

Read the Straits Times report here: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/a-single-name-for-4-species-of-swimming-crabs

Read the original research paper here:  A Revision of the Portunus pelagicus (Linnaeus, 1758) species complex (Crustacea: Brachyura: Portunidae), with the recognition of four species.

‘Spider ambassador’ out to nurture nature lovers

Spider Ambassador out to nurture nature lovers ST 21092015

Ex-envoy donating massive collection to museum, writing book on local spiders

Mr Joseph Koh’s home contains a creepy-crawly secret – a collection of 12,000 spider specimens, possibly the largest of its kind in South-east Asia.

Meet Singapore’s very own “Spider-Man”. A former career diplomat who last served as Singapore’s High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam for six years before retiring in 2012, Mr Koh is a spider expert who has described in journals more than half a dozen spider species that are new to science.

The 66-year-old has been interested in them ever since he was a child. “My father gave me a lot of natural history books,” he said.

“Later on, he also introduced me to macro-photography. This kickstarted what was to be my lifelong hobby, and I have been collecting and photographing spiders since I was an A-level student.”

He is helped by his wife, Mrs Peifen Koh, also 66, who regularly joins him on his spider-collecting field trips, even to the forests of Brunei while he was working there.

Her job was to hit the leaves of a bush or plant with a stick and catch any spiders that fell out by holding an upturned umbrella underneath. However, Mr Koh insists that his wife’s involvement was not out of a love of spiders.

“Once, we were talking to a Bruneian prince about my spider-collecting trips and he was very surprised to learn that my wife often goes along on those trips with me. He asked Peifen if she loves spiders as much as I do, to which she promptly replied, ‘No, Your Highness, I do not love spiders; I love my husband.’ ”

After four decades of gathering spiders in the forests of South-east Asia, Mr Koh is devoting his time to projects to teach future generations of Singaporeans more about appreciating the natural environment.

He has pledged to donate his collection of 12,000 specimens to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. But work must first be done to identify, sort and label the specimens before they can be transferred to the museum in stages.

“I have sorted only about 30 per cent of my collection,” he said.

“Identifying spiders is hard work and takes a lot of time, so I would be happy if I can manage to successfully identify one spider a day.

“This is not a job I can finish in my lifetime.”

Mr Koh has been actively working with young people who have a passion in arachnology, or the study of spiders, to pass on his knowledge and skills.

“It’s more than just about grooming young people to help look after my spider specimens,” he said.

“More importantly, I can help foster their love for nature and they can, in turn, inspire others or help make a difference to Singapore.”

Mr Koh is also working on a new book about the different spider species found on the Republic’s shores, of which he estimates there are 800.

This book, which will be his third, follows a similar volume on Brunei’s spiders, published two years ago.

“I had originally wanted to retire, but the National Parks Board requested that I write this new book, and gave me the perfect reason to do so: Since I had already written a comprehensive book about Brunei’s spiders, why not work on one for Singapore?”

But completing the book might take a while. Mr Koh said that he is still “on Page 1” due to his busy schedule.

One of the things that has been keeping his schedule packed is his involvement in the Friends of Ubin Network, a discussion group involving nature lovers and government officials on how to best preserve and enhance Pulau Ubin’s natural environment.

“In studying spiders in Singapore over the last 40 years, I have never ceased to be amazed by the many unusual and uncommon species on Ubin,” Mr Koh said. “Something can be done not just to preserve and enhance Ubin’s natural heritage, but also to enrich the biodiversity education of our children.

“I don’t really have time to enjoy my retirement; I’m busier than before. But knowing that I can help younger Singaporeans and future generations better appreciate and love nature is what drives me.”

Copyright to The Straits Times

Media Coverage of the Sperm Whale Found off Jurong Island

Missed the media coverage of our conservation efforts on the sperm whale?

Here is a compilation of the media coverage on the sperm whale so far!

Straits Times 2015-07-11Zaobao 2015-07-12

©Straits Times                                        ©Lianhe Zaobao

ZB 01082015Wanbao 2015-07-15

©Lianhe Zaobao                                                        ©Lianhe Wanbao

Straits Times 2015-07-16Today 01082015 Museum hopes donors will make a whale of a difference

©Straits Times                                                            ©Today

Straits Times 2015-07-15 Wanbao 12072015

©Straits Times                                            ©Lianhe Wanbao

Today 18072015

©Today

Copyright of the articles belong to the respective media outlets.

Online news content:

Dead sperm whale found near Jurong Island

Dead whale could take ‘several weeks’ to dissect: Museum

Dead sperm whale was a female adult: NUS research team

‘Good progress’ in dissecting sperm whale carcass

Whale carcass found in Singapore: S$1m drive for preservation

Museum hopes donors will make a whale of a difference

Dead sperm whale was adult female: Museum

Dead whale could take ‘several weeks’ to dissect: Museum

Carcass of sperm whale found near Jurong Island

Sperm whale found beached at Jurong Island

Dead whale named ‘The Singapore Whale’ by Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Researchers race against time to dissect sperm whale carcass that washed up at Jurong Island

Whale of a find

ST: How to educate your children

A trip to the history museum opens new vistas for kids but is it all a little too much?

by Clara Chow

ST Illustration by Adam Lee

Wake up on a Sunday, convinced you have to do something educational with your children. Trawl websites for ideas.

Decide to go to Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. Buy tickets online and print them out while still wearing your pyjamas.

Drag children, groaning, out of the house. Drive to the museum. Find it because it looks like a giant lump of moss-covered clay. Beat a beat-up Mazda to a prime parking space. Whole family cheers.

Hang out at the eco-roof garden until your allotted time of entry. Wrestle with the museum’s official app. Point out mangrove plants in the garden, the spores on the underside of fern leaves and fish fry in the ponds. Natter on.

Look up, and realise that the kids are squinting at their father’s iPhone screen in the bright sunlight. Throw a fit.

Go back downstairs; go through the turnstiles. Feel a slight sense of urgency: Everything must be examined in less than two hours, before your time is up.

Battle other parents to lift the almost-six-year-old up to the eye pieces of microscopes to look at bacteria. Keep opening your mouth to pontificate about fungi and molluscs. Keep stopping in mid-sentence, when you realise your kids have run off. Look sheepishly at strangers.

Give up and, alone, examine the bank of creatures preserved in jars along a back-lit wall. Marvel at sea whips, daisy sponges, fat-armed jellyfish and a Reeve’s turtle – long dead, and suspended in chemicals and time. Gawk and shudder a little at worm specimens.

Flit back and forth between display case and wall captions – a busy bee soaking up facts. You are taller than most of the kids crowding around but you feel eight again. You remember the excitement of school excursions, the thrill of looking at something other than textbooks.

Try and ignore the fact that your two sons are having pretend lightsabre fights and running in circles somewhere in the biodiversity gallery, their footsteps echoing. Pretend not to know them.

Go for micro over macro. Remain strangely unimpressed by the expensive dinosaur bones rising like cranes up to the ceiling in the centre of the room.

Systematically catalogue every tiny cowrie shell and beetle with your eyes. Imagine you are a camera. Thai zebra tarantula. Click. Crucifix swimming crab. Click. Carpenter bee. Click.

File away facts to use, either casually in conversation or in some literary short story you will one day write: Jewel beetles (Chrysochroa toulgoeti) are shiny and metallic-looking, not because of pigmentation but because of the way their exoskeletons reflect light.

One of your children comes to you and begs to go home.

Too late, you remember that he has a deep phobia of snakes, and an aversion to other reptiles and insects. This effectively rules out more than two-thirds of the exhibits at the museum.

You tell him you will steer him to the mammal section.

Tell him it is safe there. You put your hands over his eyes, and your husband takes one of his hands, his younger brother the other and, together, the entire family – like some strange new eight-legged and six-eyed insect – crawl slowly, excruciatingly, across the atrium, under the mirthless gaze of the dinosaurs.

Along the way, you try to get your children to stroke a panel of possum fur because it is soft like a dream. The elder son screams because he spots a scrap of bleached snake skin right next to the fur.

You realise that sand dollars are actual living things – not lost money on the beach, which is what you always pictured them as being when reading about them in books.

The clash between old ways and philosophies, and new identities and nationalities, intensifies after you climb the stairs to the Heritage Gallery. Singapore founder Sir Stamford Raffles’ stuffed birds and monkeys sit quietly, a few cabinets down from a drawer containing a Singapore $1 bill featuring a photo of a black-naped tern taken by Datuk Loke Wan Tho, who built up Cathay Organisation.

The children press buttons in the sound booth. They have exhausted the possibilities of the dinosaur app.

Standing in front of showcases, you wonder about the Victorian obsession for pigeonholing dead creatures into curio cases that

the museum’s collection sprung from. You laugh inwardly at the arrogance of men, colonial masters, trying to fix their world, insisting on stasis, even as

Nature refuses to be pinned down. You see the error of your ways, trying to herd your children’s imagination through life, so they learn the way you do.

Meditating in front of the jars of pickled snakes, you overhear one young man telling a few others that the python coiled up over there has two penises, and one of them is showing.

“Why?” you blurt out, before you can stop yourself.

“Why what?” he asks, startled.

“What is the second one for?” you ask.

“I don’t really know,” he replies.

Months later, you will still be wondering about this. You will look it up on the Internet and find an explanation: Female snakes are able to control which male snake they mate with will fertilise their eggs, so having two penises helps the male increase their sperm count, maximising their chances of reproduction. You will realise you need to wait for the younger son to grow up before you have someone to tell it to.

But in the museum, you nod at the young men, who scurry away from you, embarrassed.

What you must do next is this: Gather your children. Tell them it’s time to go home. Stop by the gift shop if necessary, and buy yourself a piece of petrified wood.

Drive away, and cheer again as a family when you realise that parking is free. Promise yourself to do this again.

That some of it will sink in.

Some day.

Copyrighted to Singapore Press Holdings Limited – Straits Times 27 July 2015

What does it take to work in a Natural History Museum?

201507010936-2

“Must not be afraid of dead animals” That is the most important trait when working in the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, according to our Specialist Associate Ms Chen Mingshi in an interview with Her World Magazine.
IMG_4985 Handling the specimens is a very tedious job that all of us in the museum can attest to. our specimens in the museum also comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the small and delicate insects to the largest reptile that ever roamed the earth. Maintaining such a diverse collection do require a  special set of abilities. Being meticulous is especially important and she credits her background in fine arts, which has prepared her well!

Kate (middle), our conservator together with Iffah (left) and Mingshi (right) working hard to get the gallery ready before we officially open to public

IMG_4986 Coming from a field which is vastly different from natural history, it was her curiosity about the anatomy and physiology of animals which drew her to the job. Where better to work with animals with different form and function than at a Natural History Museum?

Getting the museum ready for visitors is hard work. Our Museum staff indulge in some moon-gazing during a much needed break!

So come along down to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum and listen to what some of our researchers work on in the museum!

If you are currently an NUS student and you are looking for a part time job, come join us at the Museum. Read more about it here!

The Her World Magazine feature on Chen Mingshi is a copyright of Her World Magazine, SPH Magazine.
Photographs of museum staff at work is courtesy of Marcus Chua

Natural history museums thrill but also scare

Museum tour of the macabre ST30062015

Natural history museums are a time machine but they are actually ghoulish places too