Wednesday 16 November 2011

Seminar on Human-Orangutan conflict management

Panut Hadisiswoyo, the Principle Conservationist and Founding Director of the Orangutan Information Centre is here in Singapore and he came down to NUS to give a talk on the Human-Orangutan conflict mitigation program that he initiated in Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP), Sumatra, Indonesia earlier today!

As with many other countries, habitat loss is a major problem, especially due to illegal settlement and plantation. The impact is felt more dearly here, as GLNP is one of few legally protected national parks where 4 large mammals can still be found: Sumatran tiger, Sumatran orangutan, Sumatran rhino and Asian elephant, all of which are classified as Critically Endangered or Endangered under CITES. With increasing encroachment of human settlement and palm oil plantations into the forest, inevitably conflict between wildlife and humans will occur. 

Hence, Panut set up the Human-Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) to deal with this issue of human-wildlife conflict, especially with regards to the Orangutans. Apart from dealing with reports from farmers on crop-raiding Orangutans, the unit also conducts research, surveying the locals' perception of wildlife and how they deal with problems arising from such conflicts. They also work with local communities to raise awareness, restore previously cleared forests and run educational programs.

His talk was really inspiring, and I could see his passion and determination in trying to conserve this charismatic animal! Conservation of any animal is never easy, and requires a multi-pronged approach dealing with the local community, big corporations, law enforcement agencies and government policies. Although he has seen some measure of success in outreach and education, there is still a long path to go, especially with regards to law enforcement and dealing with the root of the problem. He has lots of determination though, and I was very inspired by his talk. That one person can have so much energy and passion and have achieved so much, that really gives hope that our wildlife are not doomed to extinction! (:

Panut will be conducting the talk again tomorrow (17 November 2011) at the National Geographic Store in Vivocity at 7.00pm. Do support him by registering here.

More information on the topic can be found here

On a separate note, last month I saw some camera trap footage of animals found in Gunung Leuser National Park and they were really cool! Muntjac, Crested Serpent Eagle, Golden Cat, Eurasian Pig, Banded Civet and more! You can check the video out on Youtube.

Friday 14 October 2011

New blood (for Siva to tekan) at the Raffles Museum

It's been 4 years since the last post! Nonetheless, I'm here to provide new posts on What Happens As An Intern at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.

I have actually been "intern-ing" under Siva for a few months now, for the International Coastal Cleanup (ICCS). But now as an intern of the museum, I have a duty to upkeep this blog. Blogging/writing is not one of my strengths, even though I do keep blogs, but being under Siva means blogging. Hence, one of my objectives from this internship is probably to improve my writing/blogging skills!

Blogging here is also kind of a reprieve from what I've been doing -- trying to process and compare results of ICCS from 2006 to 2011 by zones.

But my original task to blog was actually on a seminar I attended last Thursday. That post will be out sometime, I guess...

Monday 2 July 2007

Googling Earth for ICCS Part II - Google Maps

It's Google Maps time after my first run of the ICCS maps on Google Earth. Basically, Google Maps is rather similar to Google Earth. The main difference is that Google Maps can be viewed online while Google Earth needs to be downloaded.

Google Maps.

You can mark down the places just like how you would for Google Earth and save it online or as a KML file. Sharing Google Maps is easy too; you can either send it as a hyperlink (to be viewed online) or as a KML file (to be viewed on Google Earth).

After exploring Google Maps, I realised one horrible truth: Landmarks that are marked down in Google Maps can be saved as a KML file and view in Google Earth. However, landmarks that are marked down in Google Earth and saved as a KMZ file cannot be viewed in Google Maps. *GASP*

You must be wondering why it is horrible to me. Siva once told me that not all people would know how to use Google Earth and majority of them wouldn't even spend the time downloading the program. An online interactive map is in fact better and could reach out to more people. Therefore, now, there's a high chance that I may be remarking the same landmarks on Google Maps. *Cries*

Unless I'm wrong with the fact that KMZ file cannot be viewed in Google Maps. Or maybe there's some way in which i can intergrate Google Earth maps into Google Maps.

Calling all Google Earth/Maps geeks out there! Please Save Me!!!

Sunday 1 July 2007

Mini Tutorial on Google Earth By a So-So Google Earth User

I've advanced from a Google Earth viewer to a Google Earth user, credits to the assignment Siva had entrusted me with. Now, please give a chance to pass these skills to people who are interested to be a Google Earth user too!

An overview of Google Earth. The globe greets you once you start the program.

Google Earth isn't a difficult program to use. Perhaps, you could try to find your home and get yourself familiarize with the navigation control and the program itself.

If you are overwhelmed with all the trees, buildings and roads that you see at the satellite level, and had no idea what the place you are staring at is, no worries! You could switch on useful layers such as the roads, borders, populated places, and Google earth community. These will show you the landmarks and road names. Alternatively, you can download Singapore Placemarks Version 4.12. This will give you major landmarks and even MRT routes; it's definitely a very useful tool and worth downloading. =D

The layers control is at the bottom left hand side of the screen (as shown in the picture).

After you are done with exploring Google Earth, it's serious business time - marking places on it. I will show how to put a pin and make a path in this post.

Click to enlarge the picture. Follow the instructions in the picture to put a pin on a landmark. If you need to do amendments, right click on the pin and choose 'properties' (for Windows). For Mac users, choose 'get info'.

Click to enlarge the picture. Follow the instructions in the picture to draw a path.

Now, after all the pins and paths are in position, it's time to save your file and perhaps share it with others! Firstly, you've got to create a folder in say 'My Places'. Then drag all the items that you had created into this new folder.

Click to enlarge the picture. Follow the instructions in the picture to create a folder.

Now, you can save it as a KMZ file and share it with your friends! Simply attach the KMZ file to you email and you're done!

Click to enlarge the picture. Follow the instructions in the picture to save as a KMZ file.

It's the end of the tutorial! You are now certified as a Google Earth User! Congratulations!

Thursday 28 June 2007

Colours on a gloomy day

I had nothing ahead of me except press articles to scan and a schedule to chase. That was probably why the hot shining day seemed gloomy.

Nevertheless amidst my dulled senses, my attention was captured by this!

As if the blinding sun wasn't enough, I saw this blooming lotus outside the Department of Biological Science. It was initially just a bud on Monday. But when I went down on Wednesday - volia!

It's big, pink and blooming in action.

I couldn't help but take a few shots. The fact that I'd finished scanning the articles probably added to my photo-taking mood. =)

Here's the last picture of the lotus, sun kissed and smiling for the camera.

This was taken on the 27th July. I guess the flower's still there for those who want to see it, but no guarentees. So hurry down now to Level 5 Blk S2 Science Drive 4, The National University of Singapore to catch the flower in full bloom!

Tuesday 26 June 2007

Googling Earth for ICCS

Siva decided to give the maps in International Coastal Cleanup, Singapore (ICCS) website an overhaul – an upgrade from the maps to Google Earth – and he entrusted me with this major map revamp assignment. After giving me a mini Google Earth tutorial, I was left to figure out the rest on my own.

I got to the ICCS website immediately and looked at the maps for each zones. (Gulp! Gonna have a tough time…)

ICCS map for Changi Zone. Imagine this in Google Earth.

Shock time over, and I began marking down the places steadily in Google Earth. It’s not so horrifying after all because I’m armed with the latest Singapore Street Directory 2007!

I started marking down on 19 June 2007 and am finally done with the first run on 26 June 2007. A little preview on the future ICCS maps and my lovely artwork:

The same Changi Zone in Google Earth.

Hooray! Hooray!! First run is finally over! No more popping eyes and mad shuffling between ICCS website, Google Earth, and Singapore Street Directory 2007!

However, just when I’m on cloud nine, Siva called for me: ‘Wenxian, go find out about Google Maps and see how these Google Earth maps can be integrated into it.’ *Gulp.*

(Sequel coming soon!)

Typhoid Mary

After being labeled as Typhoid Mary by Siva, this is what I've found:

" Today, a Typhoid Mary is a generic term for a carrier of a dangerous disease who is a danger to the public because they refuse to take appropriate precautions. "

Here's some interesting information about the first identified carrier of typhoid fever. Add the fact that she's always in denial, and you can bring several people seriously down.

I brought down Siva only, but many people seem to be getting the flu these days. So being the pioneer amongst those hit with flu, I guess it's no wonder he referred to me as Typhoid Mary.