Official Launch of the NTU Wildlife Etiquette Handbook
Updated: Apr 24
Written by Karina Lim, Director, Earthlink NTU Human-wildlife Coexistence Portfolio
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore is home to over 400 species of wildlife, including the globally critically endangered Sunda Pangolin and Straw Headed Bulbul. Located right next to the Western Catchment Reserve, the NTU community regularly encounters the diverse wildlife that can be spotted on campus. Staff and students may not be surprised with Long-Tailed Macaques seeking food in residential halls, Smooth Coated Otters travelling between ponds, various snakes seen around campus and even injured birds and grounded bats. Members of the NTU community are often unsure of what to do in such wildlife encounters which leads to negative human-wildlife interactions.
In order to promote coexistence with our wildlife which calls NTU their home, Earthlink NTU’s Human-Wildlife Coexistence Portfolio released a 55 pages long NTU Wildlife Etiquette Handbook. Since 1993, Earthlink NTU, NTU's largest environmental sustainability club, has thrived to make changes through various initiatives like zero-waste campaigns, nature walks, and educational programmes. Standing with 15 portfolios of Events, Campaigns, Projects and Operations, Earthlink NTU has made a significant impact on both campus and beyond. Officially inducted as one of Earthlink’s portfolios in August 2022, the Human-Wildlife Coexistence portfolio have been working on promoting human-wildlife coexistence on campus through outreach and education events, social media campaigns, conducting student surveys on sentiments towards wildlife such as macaques and otters and engaging stakeholders for more wildlife friendly management methods. We have looked into issues such as macaques encounters in campus housing, bird-building collisions, coexisting with our family of 6 otters, and the frequent sightings of grounded bats on campus.
The idea for this handbook came up in January 2022 when we realised that there were no collective advisories for proper wildlife etiquette so that the NTU community can coexist with wildlife harmoniously in our campus in nature. Many are often unsure of what to do when in close proximity to wildlife such as encountering them in hall rooms, or injured wildlife who need help. Vetted by the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) and the Asian School of the Environment at NTU, this handbook includes emergency contacts, general wildlife etiquette, appropriate responses to different types of wildlife, tips for hall residents and fun facts about our NTU critters. This handbook is available online at https://tinyurl.com/ntuwildlifehandbook. Stickers of QR codes leading to this handbook will be available at all residential hall noticeboards, campus bus stops and canteens/food courts for convenient access.
The handbook launch ceremony took place on 20 March where distinguished guests from both Singapore’s nature community and the NTU management were invited to NTU’s AIA Canopy to join us in celebrating the launch. Our Guest of Honour was Ms Anbarasi Boopal, Co-CEO of ACRES, while our invited speaker was Dr Shawn Lum, Senior Lecturer at the Asian School of the Environment and President of Nature Society (Singapore). We also had representatives from the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), the National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore Wildcat Action Group (SWAG), Jane Goodall Institute Singapore (JGIS), Our Wild Neighbours (OWN), Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) and Earth Observatory Singapore (EOS). Many of the guests also provided valuable partnerships to the team, for which we are incredibly grateful for. The launch ceremony began with speeches by myself, Ms Anbarasi Boopal and Dr Shawn Lum. This was followed by a launch ceremony where guests and VIPs were invited to access the handbook for the very first time. Thereafter, there were games booths testing knowledge on coexistence with attractive prizes sponsored by NParks, outreach booths by the Human-Wildlife Coexistence portfolio and Project Co.Hab. There were even free ice cream and macaque mascot walkabout throughout the day which certainly attracted the attention of many.
We certainly hope that we have managed to capture the attention of the NTU community and bring to their awareness the importance of human-wildlife coexistence on our campus in nature! We will strive to continue to be the voice for the voiceless so that NTU can be a great place for both us and our wildlife to coexist harmoniously together.