BQ Live with a Marine Conservationist

Photos are credited to Pei Rong

What drew me to this event?
I am always fascinated by the plethora of sea creatures blessed in Singapore. This BQ Live with a Marine Conservationist presents an opportunity and platform that would equip me with knowledge from the perspective of a marine conservationist who is an expert in this area.

What are 3 things I learned from this event? Was there anything which surprised me?
1. Challenges in transporting turtle eggs to hatchery
I was unaware that so much thought and effort have to be invested from locating the eggs to eventually settling them down on the site.

Firstly, much effort is needed to locate the turtle eggs, especially after episodes of high-tides where the turtle tracks get washed away. Predators’ acute sense of smell also indicates that the chances of survival of these eggs are lesser as time goes by.

Proper handling of these eggs is imperative to their survival. Once the eggs are not removed within 2h, we would need to wait for 2-3 weeks before moving them. This is to ensure that the embryo’s development is not affected.

From the car ride to the boat ride until they reach the site, we must maintain the orientation of the eggs to prevent the embryos from collapsing.

2. Impact of trash on marine lives
– Trash entangles wildlife. This is especially manifested in ghost nets drifting and killing many animals.
– Trash leads to ingestion and suffocation of wildlife. A classic example would be turtles feeding on plastic bags as they resemble jellyfishes, resulting in unfortunate and most importantly, preventable deaths.
-The micro-plastics consumed by animals get into our bodies via the process of the food chain. We have to be mindful of potential consequences even though they are yet to be established.

3. Direct ways that individuals could hurt marine life
I am certain that most people do not have the intention to hurt these vulnerable and innocent creatures. What surprised me most is that we have been hurting them unconsciously. For instance,
– The creatures such as sea cucumbers and sea urchins are trampled upon when we unknowingly stepped on them.
-When turtles are disturbed, for example by human activities, they do not lay eggs at all or choose to abandon their nest, leaving the newborns to fend for themselves in harsh environments.
– The rubbish left behind by inconsiderate individuals gets washed into the sea during rainstorms.
– Divers unknowingly kick corals when they dive.

Having heard from the speaker, what is 1 new insight or question I have about marine conservation?
I learnt that everything is context specific; what works in other countries may not be feasible or successful in Singapore. We have to put things into perspectives and seek a balance approach that is relevant to all stakeholders.

How do you think people can contribute to marine conservation?
People definitely do not have to become a marine conservationist to contribute to the betterment of marine conservation. Small yet significant and meaningful actions can all contribute, such as:
– Volunteering with NParks.
– Volunteer in beach cleanups.
– Design infographics and harness the power of social media to raise awareness of this area.
– Being environmentally-friendly within each’s own organisation, such as going plastic-cutlery-free for a few days!

Lets all contribute to marine conservation! Once again, thank you Pei Rong and the organisers for this event! I’ll end off with one of my favourite quotes

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Mahatma Gandhi

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