Notes from my volunteer photography assignment for Pulau Ubin Cleanup (26 November 2022)

I was privileged to participate in the Pulau Ubin cleanup event as a volunteer photographer, witnessing the commendable efforts of the organisers and other participants in helping to make the environment cleaner and more conducive for flora, fauna and humans.

On our way to Kampong Mamam beach, we saw long-tailed macaques gathering and watching us inquisitively as we prepared to start picking up litter in the forest.

These primates have been recognised by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to be globally endangered early this year, due to habitat loss, illegal wildlife trade, culling, exploitation, and so on.

Despite their apparent common status in Singapore, there is still a need to ensure that they have a safe and clean environment to live in.

Some of the macaques appeared to have been conditioned to approach human visitors boldly in search of food, probably because they have been fed previously or they have learnt to pick up trash disposed indiscriminately by inconsiderate visitors on the island.

Though our efforts to clean up the environment may be seen as a band-aid solution to a deeper issue of human negligence and disregard for ecological health and sustainability, I hope that this event can also serve as a means to promote nature awareness and education for the general public.

For advisories on what to do when you see a monkey in the forest or neighbourhood, click here.

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