Sin Wei’s Volunteer Experience

Article by Sia Sin Wei
Edited by Lavanya Raju Ramanujan
Photos by Tan Beng Chiak

6 August 2016, Saturday

It was a cloudy afternoon as the recce for the Raffles Banded Langur (Presbytis femoralis femoralis) survey commenced. The Raffles Banded Langur (commonly known as banded leaf monkey) survey is a new citizen science initiative by Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore), which allows volunteers to contribute towards the
research and conservation efforts for these endangered denizens in Singapore. The purpose of this recce was to have a preview of the route that would be taken by volunteers during the survey.

[Spoiler alert – there were no banded leaf monkeys found on our trip.]

But… there was still monkey action on our trip as the local Long-Tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) came on to view!

These monkeys were all over the carpark, and extremely active even before we had begun our trip, and that didn’t change as we continued along the Lower Pierce trails! On the trail, they were exhibiting their acrobatics skills as they moved from tree to tree. Alongside the Old Upper Thomson Road, we could see curious juveniles playing with a plastic bag – a stark reminder of the ever-present impact of humans on our natural
heritage.

Macaque-Plastic-Bag

We were not the only people appreciating nature in the trails – thanks to a group of bird watchers and photographers, we were even able to observe several Collared
Scops Owl (Otus lettia) camouflaged among the Nibong (Oncosperma horridum)! It was great to meet other nature lovers like us.

On a lighter note, we also ran into several Pokemon Go players in the forest trail. As I was walking past them, I remember thinking how great it was that they were getting to immerse themselves in nature through a game!

Unfortunately, as we were travelling along Old Upper Thomson Road, it started raining, with lightning -- this made it too hazardous to proceed further. Although we couldn’t continue the survey, we had food and drinks with good company at a nearby restaurant! So even though we didn’t manage to complete the trail, it was an extremely enjoyable outing for everyone!

Sia Sin Wei
Raffles' Banded Langur Survey Volunteer