Hidden Treasure

Date February 13, 2017

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It can be hard to get a grip on what stands out in Singapore. Buildings change. Landscapes change. Places from our childhood disappear. Where can we go where we can set foot on sand that was not moved by humans? Cyrene Reef is one of those places. I was fortunate to visit this reef thanks to a trip organised by Ria Tan who is one of the many people who have been sharing and monitoring this reef for over a decade. Read the rest of this entry »

Monitoring our reefs (Pt 2)

Date February 8, 2017

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Over several weekends (and some weekday nights!) we had Dr Jeffrey Low introduce us to the art (and science) of reef surveys! Through his enthusiastic sharing, we learnt some of the survey methods commonly used to monitor coral reefs. He also taught us the importance of citizen science and its vital contribution to conservation work. We also learned to identify some common lifeforms found on our local reefs, and how to record our findings in a way that is useful for scientists and agencies to use. Above: Hantu Blog volunteers with Dr Jeffrey Low. Photo by Debby. Read the rest of this entry »

Small World, Big Start

Date January 11, 2017

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With reefs wrapped around a pair of islands that measure less than a square kilometre, Pulau Hantu is not a big place by any measure. Regular divers know that size is no judge of the diversity of this little marine treasure trove. In fact, the diversity of our islands is disproportionate to its size! Renowned macro enthusiast, Chay Hoon, started her New Year in the waters of Pulau Hantu, and astounded her buddies with her rich and rare finds! We share some of her finds in this blog post! Above: Sea slug, Siphopteron quadrispinosum, about 2mm. Photographs by Toh Chay Hoon. Read the rest of this entry »

All That Wrapper

Date December 27, 2016

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Wrappers are pretty – that’s the idea. They are intended to attract, mesmerise, and evoke a sense of allure. But once we are done with them, we crush them up and toss them aside. In spite of its evocative potential, a pretty piece of wrapper, is alas, benign. But not these. These are wrappers of gorgonians, and a predator that sits atop another predator, is far from benign. Read the rest of this entry »

Homeground

Date December 26, 2016

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Guest blogger, underwater photographer and Singapore reef explorer, Katherine Lu, shares her experiences of discovering Singapore’s marine wonders in this very special Boxing Day post! Be blown away by some of her encounters! Above: Cuthona sp. Read the rest of this entry »

Little Creatures

Date December 23, 2016

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Hantu Blog dive guide and Math teacher, Ng Boon Leong, took to the waters of Pulau Hantu on a day of clear skies and calm waters for a day of photography with our veteran guide Jeemee Goh and macro enthusiast Toh Chay Hoon. It was also a training day for one of our new guides! We’re always excited to take new people out, share our Hantu Blog story, and build our family so that more people can discover how very special Singapore reefs are! Boon Leong shares, “The visibility was a relatively good 4m, and this allowed us to spot some of the smaller critters on the corals and hydroids,” such as this Doto sp. nudibranch! Read the rest of this entry »

Monitoring our Reefs

Date August 1, 2016

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A handful of our volunteer reef guides are being trained in Reef Check techniques that will equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to help local scientists monitor our reefs. The first workshop and field trip was conducted in June and it was an opportunity for our guides to pay careful attention to the coral forms and the condition of our reef, while gaining experience in setting up reef transects with our volunteer trainers and instructors Jeffrey Low and Toh Chay Hoon. Read the rest of this entry »

Abandoned cats on Pulau Hantu: Update

Date August 1, 2016

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The Hantu Blog got together with volunteers from the Cat Welfare Society to Trap, Neuter and Relocate (TNR) cats on Pulau Hantu. The Hantu Blog learned about the cats from campers who visited the island in June. Two cats were caught. They have been neutered, and we are looking for homes for two of them. If you are able to adopt or foster either of them, please get in touch with us. Otherwise, if you are a cat feeder and think that you may be able to assist in the integration of the striped tabby with your community cats, please let us know. The cats will not be returned to the island. We want to keep our islands free from cats and a safe refuge for migratory birds and native reptiles that use the island to feed, hide and rest. Read the rest of this entry »

New Species of Crab Discovered at Pulau Hantu

Date July 15, 2016

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Leucosiid crabs resemble pieces of coral rubble so well that it is almost impossible to see them unless they move [1]. In Singapore, two such leucosiids have previously been reported, both originally encountered at Pulau Hantu [2]. In June 2016, a new species was added to the list, Nursia tohae. It was spotted by none other than our gifted macro enthusiast, Toh Chay Hoon. The individual in the photo above was a female sized just 3.90 × 2.69 mm! In 1993, a new genus and species of leucosiid crab was described from Singapore’s mangrove swamps [3]. There’s so much to be discovered around our tiny little island! The more we discover, the more we realise that our small and precious wilderness areas are incredibly diverse and dynamic. Which is why we shouldn’t discount the size of our wild places. Just because they are small, doesn’t mean they can be easily replaced or that their loss will not be significant. Keep your eyes peeled! And allow yourself to fall in love with the wonders of our natural heritage!

Cats on Pulau Hantu

Date July 14, 2016

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A group of campers who spent the night at Pulau Hantu in June shared with us the sighting of 3 feral cats during the night, one of which they managed to get a photo of. We are deeply concerned that people have been bringing their cats to the island to be abandoned. It might seem like a nice idea for a cat to have the whole island to itself, but in reality the island is home to several other animals such as migratory sea birds that must stop to rest and feed on the shore (on the mainland, cats have been observed to catch kingfishers), reptiles like water monitors (small ones are easily caught by cats), and not to mention the many intertidal animals that live in forage in the lagoons. Please do not bring cats or any animal onto our islands. Read the rest of this entry »