Because I saw a video of a pangolin in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) last night, on Facebook, I thought maybe I could just share it here. And I started a search on pangolins in NTU on Youtube, and came up with a couple of other videos. And decided to write a little more, to practice my writing skills.
There are a few other reports of pangolins sighted in NTU.
Though whether or not residents of NTU know what they’re seeing is debatable (“This is an actual armadillo in Wee Kim Wee”). Which is really lamentable because the Sunda Pangolin, or Scaly Anteater (Manis javanica), is one of few native mammals (not reptiles, though they have scales!) that can still be found in Singapore! Those sighted in NTU were probably lost souls who were trying to make their way around. I wonder if they ever made it safely back into the forest. I’m very jealous of those staying in NTU now, I’ve always wanted to see wild pangolins.
Pangolins are often poached for their scales (which are just keratin, like our hair) as it is believed in traditional medicine that they help reduce swelling and pus (or something like that). This is of course, not scientifically proven, but is still damaging to the population of pangolins, which has been classified as Threatened in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Locally, they are not threatened by poaching (as far as I know), but face a bigger threat of habitat destruction. Incidentally, the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund (WRSCF)’s logo/mascot is that of a pangolin (:
Apart from pangolins, another oft-sighted native wildlife in urbanised areas of Singapore is the Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus).
Being a python, it is non-venomous. Instead, it kills by strangulation, or constriction. It actually holds the record for the Longest Snake in the World (something I like to share with kids when at the Zoo). It is not, contrary to popular belief, the anaconda. I suppose the anaconda receives more coverage on TV documentaries as compared to reticulated python, though the latter can actually be found here in Singapore. The anaconda though, holds the record for the Largest Snake in the World. The reticulated python is not listed as threatened in Singapore. However, with increasing urbanisation and loss of forest cover, it is inevitable that these snakes will venture out more often to the urban/suburban areas and more human-wildlife conflict willl arise. Where people think that the way to subdue a snake is to spray the insecticide Baygon into its face.
I think greater education and awareness is needed if we don’t want to end up losing our remaining native fauna and if we don’t want to raise up a nation ignorant of our natural heritage.