Hey everyone, how’re you? Remember the previous article which I wrote on Mandai’s efforts on preserving wildlife in Singapore? Well, if you haven’t read it, please do check it out! Today, let’s touch on something similar, which is a question many of you may ask, “What animals are endangered in Singapore?”
Singapore may be a small country, but it withholds a vast variety of animals. Like us, these animals need a home. However, due to many reasons, such animals are endangered. Let me share 5 animals which face extinction today!
What are Endangered Animals? | 濒危物种
As the name suggests, endangered species are species which may face certain dangers, or to be more exact, the danger of extinction. Species here, can mean any type of species ranging from plants to animals. Like what I mentioned earlier, though Singapore is a small country, it hosts many living things. Today, let me share some animals which are endangered, mainly 5 of them. I will also be adding some pictures, so you guys can have a brief idea of how they look!
#1: Sunda Pangolin | 巽他穿山甲
The first animal is actually our old friend, who has made an appearance in the previous article. The Sunda Pangolin, which in some places is also known as the Anteater. It’s shy, loves to explore in the shadows of the night, and is pretty much what we know as a “loner”. They are mostly found all around Southeast Asia. In Singapore, they can be found around the Central Water Catchment Area, as well as the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
When this cute animal faces a threat, it turns into a ball, and may release a pungent smell to ward off any undesired guests trying to take a bite out of it. With its amazing digging abilities, they dig out any termites or ant nests, controlling the population of these natural pests. Additionally, the soil around these nests is also loosened, making it easier for plants to grow around it! What an amazing creature!
Despite its contributions to nature, these lone creatures are still endangered. Due to their naturally small sized body, they are easily killed in roadkill accidents. Besides this, as the development of urban areas starts to increase exponentially, the habitats of these animals are destroyed, and therefore they lose their homes. Lastly, like many scaled animals, the Sunda Pangolins are widely hunted for their skins, scales and meat for various purposes (E.g Their scales are used to make rings). To make things worse, the reproduction rate of these animals are really small, which makes it even harder for new generations to appear. Hence, the Sunda Pangolins are classified as extremely endangered in some cases.
#2：Hawksbill Turtles | 玳瑁
Hawksbill Turtles are a form of sea turtles, with the difference being that they actually dislike the deep seas. They prefer shallow waters like places where coral reefs exist. As carnivores, they eat jellyfishes, sea anemone, prawns, crabs and many more marine creatures. Found in the tropical region of the Atlantic and pacific oceans, these animals are one of those rarely seen!
Some may ask then, “Do they exist in Singapore?” Well, they supposedly do. There have been reports of sightings at East Coast Park, where people have seen these beautiful turtles come up shore to lay eggs. Unfortunately, like all the other animals in our list today, they are endangered. They face extinction due to problems like water pollution and illegal trading. What may seem as an act of convenience such as throwing plastic bags into the seas, is actually an act of water pollution. As a result, many animals like the Hawksbill Turtles mistreat these as jellyfishes, and swallow them, which causes death by suffocation in many cases.
Additionally, what makes this species of turtle different from other turtles, is its shell. Its shell is stacked beautifully like roof tiles we may see on landed properties, but this is also the very thing that brings about its demise. All along, many have seen these creatures as a symbol of longevity, which leads to many people using their shells and turning them into accessories. However, making these accessories would mean taking them from live Hawksbill Turtles, so as to keep them looking at their best. In the long run, when too many people kill these animals just for their shells, their population decreases, and they become endangered like they are today. Hence, please remember, without any purchase, there wouldn’t be any killings! Although it may be hard to make a difference solely, if there’s a chance to save even just one turtle, why not take it!
#3：Smooth-Coated Otters | 江獭
Just by looking at you, these animals could possibly kill you with their cuteness! That’s right, they are the Smooth-Coated Otters. As their name suggests, they have a very smooth layer of fur on their bodies, which acts like a smooth coat. Playful by nature, they love to travel and explore in groups. In Singapore, they are one of the two types of otters that can be found, and are also the largest ones in Southeast Asia. If you hope to get a glance at them, they are noted to be seen at places like the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Pulau Ubin, Western Water Catchment Area, as well as Changi and many more places!
Cute as they are, these poor animals are endangered, with one of the main causes being wetland degradation. Wetlands are one of the most common homes to these otters, but with many of these places being used to build machines and features requiring water, they become polluted in the process. This forces these animals to be “evicted” from their homes, and whilst finding new homes, they get killed in roadkills or get eaten by bigger predators from time to time. Another main causation to their endangerment is illegal hunting. As mentioned, they are very cute creatures. As such, people start to have thoughts of having them as pets, and this means that they need to be caught from the wild.
With such wants and demands increasing, illegal trading of these otters also increases. The moment they meet a price that they are willing to settle for, illegal hunters and even fishermen go to hunt the young of these otters. In the process, some are even willing to kill adult otters just to successfully catch the young ones. These poor young otters, who have then lost their families, are sold worldwide, just to satisfy the needs of selfish people who want to keep them just because they are cute. Hence, do remember, only take pictures of otters, and not take them home!
#4：Common-Palm Civets | 椰⼦猫
Common-Palm Civets are actually not cats, but are often more closely related to mongooses. Like the pangolins, they like to explore in the night, but would come out occasionally in the day just to hunt. They live in forests, parks, and even rooftops due to their amazing climbing capabilities. Unfortunately, I’m not really sure where they could be found in Singapore, but they are mostly spread across Southeast Asia.
You may have heard of “Kopi Luwak”, or Cat Poop Coffee. These are actually made from the product of Common-Palm Civets. As they ingest mainly coffee beans, the beans ferment in their stomachs, making it less bitter. After this occurs, they pass it out due to it being indigestible. People then collect these “products”, wash them, bake them, and they become the widely known Kopi Luwak. Although I’ve not tasted it, I personally think that it seems to be a very “fragrant” cup of coffee.
With the increasing popularity of this interesting drink, endangerment has also hit these cat-like creatures. Illegal poaching and breeding of these animals are on the rise, just for their products to make this coffee. In order to make more money, many coffee farmers hunt them down in the wild, and bring them back to breed and care for in enclosed environments, just to make more coffee beans to sell. In these environments, they are often forced to stay in small cages, and are only fed coffee beans, which is different from the fruits and insects they are used to feeding on in the wild. As such, it causes them to become malnutritioned. Additionally, with the effect of overdosing on caffeine, it may lead to some bigger, more complex problems. All in all, these factors added up, are the cause of their death and endangerment.
#5：Etuarine Crocodiles | 湾鳄
Fifth on our list is the Estuarine Crocodile. I heard that crocodiles are actually the closest living things to dinosaurs. Some even say they are the descendants of dinosaurs. I’m actually not really sure, but if you have some knowledge, do let me know down in the comments below! Estuarine Crocodiles, or more commonly known as Saltwater Crocodiles, are huge. They grow up to 5 meters in length, and are the largest known crawlers on earth. Crocodiles in general love water, and therefore settle down in lakes or rivers.
As their skins are dark coloured, highly resembling mud, it makes it hard to spot them. Adult crocodiles hunt down bigger prey such as turtles, salamanders, waders, or even water buffalos. Simply by the food they hunt, you can imagine how ferocious these creatures are! Well, they are mostly found in Southeast Asia and certain regions in Australia.
However, no matter how big or ferocious these creatures are, they still can’t escape the danger of extinction. Their homes are being destroyed with more and more water pollution occurring in many natural spots. Like many endangered creatures, the moment they lose their homes, it makes it hard for them to survive alone out in the wild. Besides this, crocodile skin has always been used to make high-end leather goods. As such, many people hunt and poach crocodiles just for their skins. To emphasize on the cruelty, let me explain a little more. In order to get a perfect piece of skin, people place these crocodiles on a huge table, cut their throat and nerves, and skin them down. After which, they may even throw these crocodiles, who barely survive, back into the wild. Chances are, they won’t survive. Eventually, when more of such cases occur, they become endangered just like the way they are today.
Conclusion | 总结
We always say that animals are our best friends, but after reading this blog, after realising that many animals that are endangered are the result of our wrongdoings (like environmental pollution), it’s quite sad to see what has become of this “friendship”. Although we can’t protect and help them like animal organisations, we can still play a part in helping them the best we can. For example, simple acts like throwing the rubbish into an actual rubbish bin instead of the seas while at the beach may very well just save countless marine lives. We could also resist buying products made from wildlife, just like what I mentioned earlier. Today’s blog shall end here, and I hope you guys have a better understanding of animal extinction! See you next time, bye!