Saturday, February 05, 2011

End of the Last Kandelia candel on Mainland Singapore?

When I went to Pasir Ris to check out the only naturally occurring Pisang-pisang Laut (Kandelia candel) on mainland Singapore, I had a shock of my life!

Instead of the plant behind the barrier, I saw a black suitcase!

I tried to pull the suitcase away, and it was surprisingly heavy. I managed to pull off a little, and saw that all the leaves and smaller branches of the plant were gone. The two main stems were also broken, and in fact, part of the stems was under the suitcase until I pulled it away.

This was a really depressing sight. All along, we had known that this plant was in a rather problematic location, especially after NParks built the barrier around the plant. Beach-goers had been resting their bicycles against the barrier, setting up their BBQ pits next to the plant while they sat on the barrier, and threw the leftover charcoal onto the plant. I had sent a feedback to NParks last May and suggested building a proper fence to better protect the plant, but unfortunately my suggestion was not taken up, as NParks felt that the barrier served its purpose to protect the plant, though they also promised to "do our utmost best to keep this plant alive and to enhance its vigor."

For the past few times the stems were broken or burned, new shoots managed to grow. Will new shoots grow again this time round? To think that I just spotted the only Caesalpinia bonduc on mainland Singapore yesterday, and now, we may be losing the last Kandelia candel on mainland Singapore, though there is still a small population of this plant on Tekong.

On a side note, I seriously wonder what's in that suitcase and how it got there. It was rather heavy, and wouldn't move even when I kicked it. Tide shouldn't reach so high up as well. Peeping through a hole, I thought I saw some plastic materials inside. Did someone throw it there or what?

I was tempted to open up the suitcase, but on second thought, I think I better leave it to the NParks people...


quirK said...

Gosh, that miserable white block on top of that black briefcase is a barrier?

Pat said...

The world is so big, & yet someone has to discard a suitcase on top of the last surviving Kandelia candel (or on top of any plant) on mainland S'pore ?

You are right that the said unreinforced barrier attracts unnecessary attention -- which is all the more tragic because I don't think the folks who parked their bikes/leftovers/suitcases there actually intend to destroy the plant. It's more likely a case of inconsiderate territorial marking, so to speak.

Well, here is yet another example of failing to show due care -- both by the ignorant passers-by who do not know any better, AND by the short-sighted custodian who should have known better (esp. after feedback from concerned persons).

Flowers grow in inches, but are destroyed by feet. (Unknown)

Anonymous said...

Sigh! this brought back sad memories of the feeble attempts made to rope-fence in our last surviving Pemphis acidula at the Changi Spit!