Singapore marine life enthusiasts ‘horrified’ by beachgoers digging up sea creatures


SINGAPORE: A Facebook post about visitors to Changi Beach’s treatment of sea creatures has recently unnerved wildlife enthusiasts.

The post was shared on the Singapore Wildlife Sightings Facebook group by one of its members, Ms Daphne Ting, who witnessed the events at Changi Beach on Sunday morning (June 13) while taking an intertidal walk.

An intertidal promenade is a promenade that crosses the coastal zone at the edge of land and sea that is submerged at high tide, but dry and exposed to the air at low tide.

In the post, Ms Ting noted that groups of beachgoers, armed with shovels, tongs and buckets, were digging holes, “looking for these sea creatures and destroying the entire shoreline”.

Among the creatures they collected were crabs, fish, shells, sea cucumbers, eels, jellyfish and sea anemones, Ms Ting said in her post.

“There were other beachgoers who were also very angry about this. But even after telling these people not to collect marine life, they just walked away and kept collecting more,” the 28-year-old wrote.

Speaking to CNA by phone, Ms Ting added that she shared her post hoping someone would shed some light on what can be done, as it was the first time she had seen people collecting sea creatures.” in large scale”.

“When my boyfriend and I saw them scooping up the critters in the bucket, we saw the way they manipulated the tongs. They scooped up soft critters in a very rough way. If you were there, you’d be horrified as well. the way they manipulated the creatures,” she told CNA.


Such a sight is sadly common, according to marine biodiversity enthusiasts who spoke to CNA.

“It’s not that people don’t know about these creatures, but they don’t know how the creatures behave. They don’t know that putting them in buckets with other creatures can cause them stress or hurt them. badly. If you go and put them in a bucket, the oxygen level gets depleted quickly and can kill them,” said 27-year-old Dennis Chan.

The founder of The Untamed Paths, an organization that tries to raise awareness of unconventional biodiversity in Singapore, said “putting these creatures in buckets also increases the temperature of the water, causing more distress.”

Some sea creatures that suffer in this way include starfish and anemones.

“Starfish will detach their arms when stressed; the anemones will die when they are forcibly uprooted and taken out of the water. Like most marine species, starfish are also stressed by natural elements like influx of fresh water or rain. They turn pale and slowly die. So imagine the human impact on these delicate creatures,” said Mr Jianlin Liu, who has been doing intertidal walks at least three times a month for nine years.

“Lifting soft invertebrates like marine flatworms and nudibranchs from rocks can also seriously injure or kill the animal.”

The 31-year-old, who has traveled to Bali twice a year for the past five years to conduct intertidal surveys, said such behavior usually stems from a “lack of education”, d an “others do, so I am” mentality and being able to see creatures more clearly in the bucket.

“But other reasons include harvesting and consuming marine life, selling the animals for money to aquariums, or collecting for one’s own aquarium,” he added.


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