We went MAD for Musang on 27th May 2016!

Friday 27 May 2016 – The Cicada Tree Eco-Place and the NUS Civet Research Team (NCRT) brought 34 members of the public on a close to three-hour night walk.

The night walk is part of Pesta Ubin 2016, a five-week open house initiative with plenty of activities lined up to celebrate the off-shore island Pulau Ubin.

The participants met at Changi Point Ferry Terminal, ready to bump-boat their way to Pulau Ubin. Photo by Katie Tan.

Participants arrived after sunset. Photo by Ria Tan.

Participants arrived after sunset. Photo by Ria Tan.

The eventful night started off with a slideshow presentation by Vilma D’Rozario from Cicada Tree Eco-Place, and Xu Weiting from NCRT to introduce the participants to the civets and other local wildlife that live on the island. Andrew Tay from Cicada Tree Eco-place, and Ria Tan from Wildsingapore also shared some do’s and don’t’s of going to the forest.

Vilma D'Rozario's stories left her audience curious and captivated. Photo by Ria Tan.

Vilma D’Rozario’s stories left her audience curious and captivated. Photo by Ria Tan.

Weiting shared some tips on finding out the diet of the musang. Photo by Katie Tan.

The participants and guides then headed off to the forest trails with their torches. The group walked for an hour and a half and saw many interesting flora and fauna. Coincidentally, it was flowering season for durians and many of the trails were filled with yellow durian flowers. Being quiet and respectful of nature, the participants were graced by the presence of flying foxes, smaller bats, a nightjar, an oriental scops owl, a rare eight-spotted crab spider, and last but not least, a common palm civet!


The musang finally appeared at the end of the walk. All craned their necks just to catch a glimpse of the eyeshine of this amazing creature atop of the towering durian tree! Photo by Ria Tan.

We thank the participants for their enthusiasm, Cicada Tree Eco-Place (Andrew Tay & Vilma D’Rozario) and Pesta Ubin organiser, Ria Tan and Pesta Ubin volunteer, Mohammad Juhari, for making the night so wonderful for everyone. It was a night walk filled with numerous interesting stories and fun facts! We are also very grateful to Uncle Lim on the island who kindly allowed us to use his backyard as the holding venue.

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Second Musang Watch for Zhonghua Primary (3rd Nov 2011)

NUS Civet Research Team (NCRT) is glad to be part of another successful Musang Watch! Similar to the previous one that Cicada Tree Eco-Place (CTEP) organised in May 2011, this time round, the 2nd Musang Watch was conducted by a group of NIE teachers for a group of 20 Zhonghua Primary School students. This 2nd Musang Watch was part of the NIE teachers’ initiative and they even had a follow-up session with the Zhonghua students the following week.

Tze Kwan and I reached the campsite at 6.30pm and by then all the students from Zhonghua Primary had arrived and were ready for their adventure to see civets during nightfall. The students were encouraged to spray insect repellant to prevent mosquito bites and were having snacks before the event started.

Andrew helping the children spray repellant

Andrew helping the children spray insect repellant

The event started with Vilma and Andrew from CTEP, giving the students a talk on Mily the Musang and her forest friends. The students were shown photos of the native biodiversity such as the civets, banded leaf monkeys, slow lorises and also leopard cats! Both Andrew and Vilma constantly asked the kids how they would tell one animal from another and what they should do to make a difference. During the talk, Tze Kwan also enlightened them about the diet of the urban civets while I told them about where urban civets live and where we will be looking for them during the nightwalk.

Vilma & Andrew presenting

Aunty Vilma & Uncle Andrew presenting Mily the Musang and her forest friends

Talking to kids about where this photo was taken!

Talking to kids about where this cute civet family photo was taken! (Photo by Tze Kwan)

Tze Kwan talking to the kids about what civets eat!

Tze Kwan talking to the kids about what civets eat!

So once it was nightfall, it was time for the kids to go out to see the civets! The students were reminded that they should be considerate for the civets, so they will need to move quietly and only guides were allowed to have torches. The students were split up into two groups and moved around the camp grounds quietly. After about ten minutes into the walk, we managed to see a family group of civets, one mummy and two babies! All the students were really excited by the three pairs of twinkling eyes given off by the civets’ eyeshine and we stood there for a long time observing them moving around in the undergrowth.

Besides this encounter, all the children managed to see another young civet lying snugly on the branches of the tree. This time, everyone managed to see the civet’s features up close!

Kids looking out for civets

Kids looking out for civets

After the close encounter, it was getting quite late, hence, we had to conclude the musang watch with some colouring and video recording of the children’s impression of the event. While many of them were happily colouring the cartoons of native animals, some were asked to record down their thoughts and feelings of the event. One of the kids, Emmanuel, enjoyed himself thoroughly and he wants to come back next time!

Colouring session of native biodiversity by the students

Colouring session of native biodiversity by the students

The 2nd Musang Watch was a success! During the event, I observed many smiling faces and could feel the excitement from the kids in trying to spot civets for themselves. It is this positive energy that children have that gives us hope in the area of human-animal conflict. We hope to conduct future events to educate people to respect and embrace animals, in order to realise our dream of peaceful co-existence between humans and animals.

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