Sunday, May 30, 2010
Animals on Changi shore doing well after oil spill
After the depressing news first broke that two oil tankers collided, resulting in massive oil leakage off the coast of Changi East, concerned marine volunteers have been investigating the damage to the nearby intertidal shore, while authorities have closed beaches to the public, and frantic clean up efforts have been deployed.
Perhaps most painful to see and hear were reports from volunteers that the slick had hit Ubin's Chek Jawa, a protected area with a beautiful mangrove intertidal, as well as Changi Beach.
I scrounged up what little time I had amid a packed working weekend to see just how badly Changi Beach had been affected -- I made my way to a stretch of Changi Beach that had not been reported in the news yet -- and was relieved to be greeted with a relatively healthy shore. While this stretch of shore may not be representative of Changi Beach considering how long the whole beach really is, it was a real relief to still see all these beautiful animals alive and well, minding their own business. I do hope the oil does not spread to this stretch and any further.
It was early morning low tide, and seemed like just any other quiet morning, save for a heavy smell of petroleum in the air.
Other than that damper, and murkier than usual water, plenty of animals were out to play:
Many thorny sea cucumbers had their tentacles outstretched, feeding.
These pink sand dollars were also abundant.
This nervous moon crab was still feeding even though the sun was up and it was all bright and warm.
A beached sea hare.
Plenty of feisty crabs out and about.
More sea cucumbers.
Peachia anemones were also spotted further up the shore.
A few nervous peacock anemones were also feeding.
A pretty pencil urchin.
A beautiful dragonet.
Another hermit crab.
Plenty of clams.
This healthy windowpane shell was sheltering a fierce little swimming crab.
Large sand collar of eggs.
Another sea cucumber that was abundant.
These white urchins were also everywhere.
While the animals encountered were not in their usual abundance, compared to the previous trips made there, they were healthy-looking. There were also no large numbers of animal carcasses either. I'm hopeful for this stretch of shore and I really hope the oil doesn't spread anymore.
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