I grew up being a huge fan of animals–I was glued to books and shows about them, and was an enthusiast of documentaries, but most especially, I was (and still am) a sucker for marine animals. Hearing about this event made me thrilled! I wanted to know what a professional had to say about the impact of marine life to the environment, and how human activity has deeply affected that.
I had 3 key takeaways from this event: the marine life in Singapore, how human activity has affected marine life and what one can do to ensure its growth and safety.
Singapore has a diverse ecosystem. Despite its small size, the abundance of wildlife it holds is astounding! I was not aware that corals were animals, and the breeding grounds for turtles that Singapore possesses. Hawksbill turtles are one of the many native animals of Singapore. From my own research, the turtles are critically endangered, so it is a huge surprise that Singaporean beaches are one of the breeding grounds of such majestic creatures! It is wonderful to know that they are making a comeback, however, this gives rise to a problem: human activity. Ms. Pei Rong noted that onlookers can affect the process of female turtles laying eggs such as going near them and flashing light towards them. This action can startle and threaten the turtle to leave the beach without laying their eggs, leading to further implications on the safety of the turtles. But fret not! Ms. Pei Rong ensured that certain actions can be taken to safeguard the needs of turtles. One should not approach the turtle nor touch the eggs as they are very delicate! There is a significant time period that allows the eggs to be moved, which is 2 hours after being laid. NParks can be contacted if eggs are spotted as predators such as monitor lizards may potentially consume these eggs.
One insight I’ve learned from the event is the many opportunities that being a marine conservationist can bring! Ms. Pei Rong talked about her experiences with marine life as a teen and how this has impacted her future prospects. She was able to share her interests and experiences with individuals like me and live out her interests. Her work is really inspiring! Had I not participated in the BFF Challenge, I do not think I’d be this enlightened on the impact of marine life to our lives. As such, I think people can contribute more on marine conservation through volunteering in beach clean ups, raising awareness on the needs of marine life and even small actions such as reducing consumption of plastic. As of now, there are seas of plastic nearly the size of a country, and this is alarming because marine animals and birds (oceanic birds and shorebirds) can easily mistake the trash for food! So people should internalise more on their consumption to ensure the safety of the future of these animals.