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  wild people: Abigayle

The rest of us crazy wild people kind of snuck up on unsuspecting Abigayle. Abigayle's current work with introduced turtles in our reservoirs, released by irresponsible pet owners, will make a huge difference to understanding their impact on the native flora and fauna. Kind, compassionate and a true animal lover, she treats the turtles with tender loving care though they sometimes bite her so hard that she yelps. She is also a closet birder :-)

Abigayle has been leading in some recent conservation efforts and is among our promising young scientists who contribute to a better awareness of our natural heritage and how to protect it.
It is inspiring to know that young people like Abigayle are dedicating their efforts to such work.

Here is more about Abigayle in her own words ...


How did you first get involved in working for nature in Singapore?

I remember that when I was a freshman at NUS. I signed up for a fieldtrip to the mangrove swamps at Sungei Buloh with the Biological Sciences Society and found myself chest deep in mud (Iím short). To my surprise, I found the experience strangely enjoyable and therapeutic and I knew from then on that I wouldnít want to be cooped up in a lab for the rest of my life.

When I entered the Marine Biology Lab in 2002, I got to know people like Zeehan, Tse-Lynn, Ria, Jani and Dionne who are all nature people. Together with the rest of the NUS crowd like Siva, Cheng Puay, Angeline and many others, they have inspired me to do my part for conserving nature.

What do you get out of working for nature?

I think the most exciting thing about working for nature is sharing my passion with others.

I used to think that there wasnít any interesting wildlife left in Singapore, and Iím sure there are many other Singaporeans who think that way too. Itís just a joy to share what Iíve learnt with my students or interested passers-by during the course of my work.

When I meet people during my fieldwork, one thing I like to do is show them one of our native terrapins like the Malayan Box or the Black Marsh. People, especially kids, are always amazed and I feel glad that I am able to share with them a little bit more of their own natural fauna.

The other nature people that I know are also such a joy to work with. They are always encouraging and willing to help each other out. The family spirit that Iíve found amongst the nature people is something I truly love and cherish.

What is your approach/personal motto in your work?
To love what you have and to be contented.

What are some of your current projects?
Iím currently working on a Masters project at NUS, studying the populations of the Red-eared sliders. Most of these terrapins that we find in our ponds and reservoirs have been released by irresponsible pet owners. These terrapins are imported from America and marketed by many pet shops as low-maintenance pets. However, they are non-native to Singapore and their impacts on the native terrapins are yet unknown.
[Ria's comment: Here's an mss upload of Abigayle's project; and the discussion that arose from that mss upload.]


Having recently taken up diving, Iím also very interested in marine ecology, both inter-tidal and sub-tidal. It was also a pleasure and a privilege to have been part of the recent Chek Jawa Transect 2004 and I think I learnt much from it.

Abigayle is 24 and is currently a Masters student with the National University of Singapore (NUS). She volunteers wherever she can and when she is needed.
[Ria's comment: and she is VERY much needed, as she will soon discover as project magically appear at her feet :-)]

Posted by ants Posted on 23/08/04 20:52
Hey Abby! Keep up the good terrapin work!

Posted by otterman Posted on 31/08/04 08:35
How wonderful to discover that Abigayle is one of the stuck-in-the-mud alumni! Many were dragged into the mud to get their first intimate contact with the mangroves, and many naturalists were born on the spot! Hmm..Abigayle says she found it "enjoyable and therapeutic" so she's obviously meant for greater things! Looks like she's well on her way to being one of The Next Generation guardians of nature in Singapore now! Keep up the good work, Abigayle!

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these blog entries were first uploaded on MoBlog Singapore! Celebrate Singapore NDP 04
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