Sunday, May 5, 2013

Naked Hermit Crabs in the news!

Thanks to Lea Wee, there's a great feature of the Naked Hermit Crabs in the Sunday Times! With a photo of Mama Crab Ley Kun guiding at the Jejawi Tower on our free guided tours of the Chek Jawa boardwalk!
The articles are a great introduction our fellow nature groups who share the mission to celebrate and conserve what is left of the rich and diverse wildlife here, despite intense urbanisation.

We're glad the article also mentioned Andy Tan and his Sengkang Babies family who kindly blogged about their trip with us to Chek Jawa.

The article also highlighted the work of November Tan who runs the Leafmonkey Workshop. Look out for new Leafmonkey Workshops in November, get  updates on the Leafmonkey Workshop facebook page.

Grateful thanks to Marcus Ng for taking awesome photos of Pei Yan and Ivan for possible use in the feature. How nice that these were taken on Sentosa, where the Naked Hermit Crabs were born.
This great shot by Marcus was used in the cover of the Life! section and mentioned Pei Yan's and Ivan's trip to Sentosa to check up on the security barriers placed on the natural shores there.

I had also shared some photos of Sankar guiding at our free guided tours of the Pasir Ris mangrove bordwalk for use in the article.
People on a free guided tour of Pasir Ris mangroves by the Naked Hermit Crabs
We're so glad the Sunday Times chose the photo of Mama Crab Ley Kun.
Wong Ley Kun leading the free guided tour of Chek Jawa by the Naked Hermit Crabs
The articles are a great introduction to the current nature scene, including some of the most active marine groups and their work. It's wonderful to see so many of our friends and their work being featured. Hopefully, more people will learn about our wild places and do more for them too!

A big thank you to Lea Wee!

Read the full articles on the Straits Times. Also on wildsingapore news.

Naked Hermit Crabs
Lea Wee Straits Times 5 May 13;

They took on the monicker Naked Hermit Crabs to remind people of how vulnerable the shores of Singapore are, just like hermit crabs without their shells.

The informal group comprises about 20 members who are in their 20s to 50s. Many of them were volunteer guides at different seashores of Singapore.

When news broke in 2007 that part of the natural shores at Sentosa would be reclaimed, they got together to conduct free walks for the public so that they could have a last look at these shores before they were reclaimed. Most of the shores remain undeveloped today.

This inspired them to form a group to offer guided walks at all other at-risk shores in Singapore.

However, due to the lack of people to lead and organise walks, the "crabs" now focus mainly on taking families out to the boardwalk at Chek Jawa in Pulau Ubin every month. During the school holidays, they conduct walks at the mangroves in Pasir Ris.

The boardwalk is easier for families to navigate, said Ms Ria Tan, 53, one of the founding members and a retired civil servant. Besides, it can be visited at high tide, when a special set of marine creatures such as otters and jellyfish can be seen.

These walks draw about 60 to 80 people each time.

Mr Andy Tan, 39, a customer relationship management consultant, joined one such walk at Chek Jawa in March last year with his wife and four children, aged four to 10. He said: "With the help of the guides, we saw so many more animals than we did when we were there on our own."

In 2008, a volunteer started a training arm for its volunteer guides and other nature guides in Singapore. Ms November Tan, then a 27-year-old graduate student in geography, started coordinating a series of free workshops for nature guides and nature lovers here.

Nineteen workshops, given by nature experts in different fields, were conducted between 2008 and 2010. Topics ranged from specific species such as butterflies and spiders, to habitats such as mangroves and forests, to issues such as the release of animals into the wild.

The workshops were named the Leafmonkey Workshop after Ms Tan's blog, where she has been chronicling her thoughts on the environment since 2003. The banded leaf monkey is a highly endangered species in Singapore.

Even though the workshops were a success, drawing about 40 participants each time, they have been on hold since 2011 as Ms Tan was busy with her master's dissertation. Now 32 and a civil servant, she plans to start the ball rolling again with a new series of free workshops next month.

Ms Tan, who is married, said: "We want to create more avenues for people, especially youths, to learn about Singapore's biodiversity and natural places."

Related links on wildsingapore


  1. hi Ria, happy for the Naked Hermit Crabs :)

    I did not know there are only 5% gazetted Nature Reserves in SG (too small haha)

    cheers, Andy (SengkangBabies)

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  3. Thanks Andy for sharing about the Crabs for the the newspaper article. It's been delightful keeping up with the family activities through your amazing blog! Bravo!