09 September 2009

Now online! Marcus Chua's paper on the Greater Mousedeer on Pulau Ubin

Read all about the fascinating findings of this ground-breaking study of the animals found on our last unspoilt island, Pulau Ubin.
The Greater mousedeer with the distinctive white patterns on its chest.
Photo by Chan Kwok Wai

For those who missed Marcus' excellent talk, read his paper for all the photos and details.

Originally thought to be "probably extinct", the re-discovery of the Greater Mousedeer is quite exciting. Marcus has an excellent explanation with diagrams of how to tell this mousedeer apart from the Lesser mousedeer, as well as details of how his study was conducted. His study resulted in 100 sightings of these beautiful animals! With signs of a breeding population on Pulau Ubin.

Marcus discusses possible reasons why the Greater mousedeer had not been sighted earlier. And how these animals might have turned up on Pulau Ubin. One possible factor is "the recovery of Ubin's forest habitat, facilitated by the closure of granite quarrying and resettlement of many villagers (to the mainland) during the last decade." The lack of natural large predators such as tigers and leopards may also have allowed the mousedeer population to recover more quickly.

But where did the mousedeer come from? Marcus suggests they might have swum over from Johor "possibly forced out of their forest habitats that were cleared for developing plantations or the Tanjong Puteri Golf Resort north of Pulau Ubin."

Marcus highlights that the Greater mousedeer faces an uncertain future on Pulau Ubin. Threats include human disturbance especially night activities and unregulated night walks. Poaching is also a threat.

Indeed, it is alarming that large mammal traps have recently been seen on Pulau Ubin.

from Pulau Ubin: Illegal animal traps getting bigger
Tracy Sua, Straits Times 8 Jan 08

On the mainland, there are already incidents of dogs being maimed in traps.
from Clamp down on illegal traps in Singapore Straits Times Forum 18 Aug 09

There is indeed much we need to learn and do to protect our amazing wildlife.

Download the paper from the Nature in Singapore website to see all the glorious photos and read the fascinating details. "Rediscovery of greater mouse deer, Tragulus napu (Mammalia: Artiodactyla: Tragulidae) in Pulau Ubin, Singapore." M. Chua, N. Sivasothi and R. Teo. Pp. 373–378. [PDF, 380 KB]

More on poaching at Pulau Ubin and the mainland
Animals injured in traps on the mainland
More links

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