Here's a selection of thoughts and comments left by the wonderful members of the public who joined us on our August tour of the Chek Jawa boardwalk:
Yes, it's certainly wonderful that this place has been granted a reprieve from development! Time and time again, people are surprised at how one can find so much natural beauty just a stone's throw away from urban Singapore. We hope that you'll be back soon, and see other things that we didn't get to see this time around!
That's a cute mudskipper and tree-climbing crab! The highlight of the trip was definitely getting an excellent view of both the hornbills and the wild boar; at one point in time, both were present in the same spot.
If you're lucky, you might also get the chance to see some of the other larger animals that inhabit Chek Jawa; from long-tailed macaques to common palm civets, from white-bellied sea eagles and red junglefowl to Malayan water monitor lizards and banded krait, and if you're really lucky, you might even spot the otters, or maybe even a dugong coming in to graze on the seagrass!
But while we are thrilled to be able to see these larger creatures, we must not forget that all the other animals, plants, fungi, and other lifeforms living in Chek Jawa have an important part to play in the ecosystem. Mud lobsters, tree-climbing crabs or nipah palms might not seem as charismatic and attractive as hornbills or otters, but surely they are just as important to the overall health and well-being of Chek Jawa. So while we point excitedly as the hornbill swoops past, or marvel as the sea eagle soars overhead, let's not forget about all the numerous other species that contribute towards making Chek Jawa a truly magical place!
Here's another person for whom the hornbill and wild boar sightings have certainly left a lasting impression. And yes, we really hope that Chek Jawa will be kept for future generations! Hopefully, one day, your own children and grandchildren will still be able to discover and visit this wonderful place!
But oh dear... I hope the hornbill is only being tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk. (Bonus points to anyone who's able to catch the joke)
There's definitely so much more to Chek Jawa than what we showed you; there's so much to share about this place and its inhabitants, but it depends a lot on your luck. The magic about visiting our nature areas is that you never quite know what you're going to see. Many of us guides have been to Chek Jawa more times than we care to remember, but every time we're there, we see something new.
There's always the chance that if you're in the right place at the right time, and manage to be on the alert, you might get the privilege of spotting one of Chek Jawa's shyer denizens, or witness some really fascinating behaviour.
We're glad that you've learned a lot and found the experience enriching; places like Chek Jawa are an excellent place for people to go beyond the classroom and truly get close to Nature. Not only can we understand how various animals and plants adapt to their environment, we can also learn how all living things are connected, us included. Some people might not see the value in conserving nature areas, but we hope that through tours such as these, more Singaporeans will come to understand how some things just cannot be measured in terms of mere dollars and cents.
Thanks to all the wonderful visitors who joined us for this walk! We hope to see you again soon for future sessions!
P/s - And our visitors blog about this trip too. Check it out at http://sec208.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/chek-jawa-310808-sunday/