Carcass for Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research

Two missed calls and a text message came from FTTA Xu Weiting on Friday evening while I was at swim practice. The text message read, “… Someone found a baby pangolin roadkill at Petir Road. Are you able to pick up?”

I quickly confirmed the exact location of the carcass with Weiting, showered hastily and headed over to Plant Systematics Lab to borrow the department’s vehicle [they always seem to have the vehicle when you need it – thanks Alex], grabbed some supplies and rushed down to the site.

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Sunda pangolin off Petir Road on 11 Jan 2013. Photo by Marcus Chua

The juvenile female Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) or scaly anteater was bruised around the front quarter and seemed to have suffered internal bleeding, injuries most probably caused by a vehicular collision.

A few passersby stopped to look as I was taking measurements and pictures, one remarking that it cannot be real and another asking what I was doing. This gave a good opportunity to talk with the public about the wildlife around their estate.

Petir Road is surround by two forested nature reserves.

Petir Road is surround by two forested nature reserves.

Petir Road is cut off from the forested Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) by the six-lane Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) on the east, and is surrounded by various green areas such as Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) and Dairy Farm Nature Park to the south. Vehicle traffic is certainly a threat to animals that move out of the forest onto the roads. Meanwhile, an ecological corridor that connects BTNR and CCNR over the expressway is being constructed and should be ready by the end of 2013.

This is the second pangolin carcass I have picked up around this area. On 9 Jul 2012, a member of the public informed us about a larger male pangolin along Petir Road.

We depend largely on public information for sighting records and are happy when we get reports of members of the public observing wild animals in their habitat. However, body snatching operations are something we do not enjoying doing as we prefer to see animals alive, but we try not to pass any over owing to scientific value of animal carcasses for research in urban Singapore. Carcasses are deposited at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research for preservation.  We thank the member of the public who informed us of this.

To report a road kill or sighting, email or call the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at 6516 5082. A photo or description of the animal, its general condition and detailed location would be most useful.