Our 2018 Round-up: Ivory Lane, #UselessPlastic & More

A non-exhaustive #throwback list of all our defining moments.

Keeping Singapore haze-free

In February 2018, a fire broke out in Bengkalis, where our peatland project is located. It started from a local community’s farming land and the bushes area nearby Pakning Asal village. After three days of intense fire-fighting, the fire was successfully put off without causing more damage than approximately one hectare of forest bushes that were burnt.

Around 20 people including MPA members, police, army and government officials were involved to put out the fire. 

WWF has built 22 canal blocks to-date to rehydrate peatlands and prevent them from burning in dry seasons, ultimately ensuring that the haze stops. The result: no peat fire has been reported (Singapore has gone haze-free for three years since the crisis in 2015!).

It’s official: we’ve lost 60% of biodiversity

The release of WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018 revealed that in just 44 years, we’ve lost 60% of biodiversity. 

Needless to say, we hear countless news reports on poaching, habitat loss and deforestation everyday. But have you ever wondered about biodiversity in Singapore and what we are doing to protect what we love?

We geared up for field trips around Singapore (think Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the protected Cyrene Reefs below), spent hours in nature, and came to a solid conclusion: we have a rich local biodiversity, but you have to look close enough.

We’ve also partnered with Our Grandfather Story on a three-part series on Singapore’s biodiversity in action.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel here and make sure you don’t miss out anything out on our series!

Found 10 new Panda Ambassadors

This year, we went on a search for young people who are 18-25 years old and passionate about making sustainable living a trend and lifestyle. 

Among them, two Panda Ambassadors who got selected out of 100 entries — to snowy Finland for the Arctic Youth Summit (Oct 4-12)! 

Meet Eunice and Tiffany below — and follow their journey on Instagram @pandasonthego.

Also: check out what our 21-year-old Panda Ambassador Wesley Poh covered from the recent COP24 in Poland: “Why Education is Not the Solution to Climate Change”.

We started PACT: a Plastic ACTion commitment for businesses

Plastic pollution is a transboundary problem that all countries share (find out why there’s a beached whale in Wakatobi waters).

Each person in Singapore is estimated to use about 13 plastic bags a day.
© naturepl.com / Franco Banfi / WWF

We are eating, drinking and breathing plastic everyday. Everyone has a part to play — we need to stop pushing the responsibility between individuals, businesses and the government.

We need to change the way we produce, source and design products and packaging. Businesses need to take responsibility for the full life cycle of their products and play their part in helping governments deal with this issue.

If you want your favourite businesses to be a part of PACT, email us at lmehta@wwf.sg.

89 Singapore restaurants say no to shark fin in menus

89 Singapore-based establishments including Crystal Jade, Pan Pacific Hotels and foodpanda have committed to phasing out shark fin in 2018.

Singapore makes the world’s second largest shark fin trader by value after Hong Kong according to a joint report by TRAFFIC and WWF.
© WWF-Hong Kong / Elson Li

Over 70 million sharks are killed every year. Growing demand for shark fin soup is pushing our sharks to extinction and disrupting the balance of our oceans. A popular dish at Chinese festive celebrations and wedding banquets, it’s no surprise to have Singapore being identified as the world’s second largest trader for shark fin by value.

Our #IBuyICare campaign helped triple the number of companies 

It has been a great year for us as more brands come on board to support sustainable palm oil.

WWF’s #IBuyICare campaign empowered consumers to voice their concerns to the top leaders of local brands about their use of unsustainable palm oil. Following the campaign, 10 more local companies signed our sustainable palm oil pledge. This tripled the number of local businesses committing to sustainable palm oil, taking Singapore a significant step closer to stopping the haze for good.

2 out of 3 brands in Singapore show zero action towards sourcing sustainable palm oil. SASPO helps businesses adopt sustainable sourcing policies.
© Jürgen Freund / WWF

SASPO, Support Asia for Sustainable Palm Oil, is a regionally-focused, industry-led alliance that brings together like-minded businesses to commit to sourcing 100% sustainable palm oil. Businesses that are part of SASPO collectively account for over 81 brands and 200 food and beverage (F&B) outlets across Singapore today.

We’re working with 70 Eco-schools to impact young lives

We are very proud of our education Eco-Schools programme. Today, we are working with 70 Eco-schools in Singapore — from students, teachers to parents — who have a shared passion and concern for the environment.

We spoke to Jacob Tan, a Commonwealth Secondary School teacher who makes one of the most outstanding individuals who run alongside us to make our planet a better place to live in.

An adult male Jambu Fruit Dove (right) was found dead outside the computer
lab in Nov 2018. Jacob Tan (left) attended to it and proposed immediate action against bird collisions in the school.
©Jacob Tan

“When I teach, I want my students to go beyond understanding the biology concepts!”

Find out more about the WWF Eco-Schools Programme here

We’re backed by passionate volunteers who support our work

If you’ve ever been to one of our WWF events, you might have bumped into one of our super volunteers, Nicholas! 

Bright, smart, charismatic. There is that feel-good vibe and high bursts of energy you couldn’t possibly miss. 

Korean-born and U.S-based Nicholas Son, 27, is currently in Singapore thanks to his wife’s one-year work rotation. Now, he is a house husband (he calls it hotel husband just because).

Before the year ends (he is heading back to be home with his family), we looked back at the year and are incredibly grateful for our super volunteers like Nicholas who continue to support our work.  

If you wish to volunteer with us, email us at volunteer@wwf.sg or sign up here.

We closed down 4 illegal wildlife trade shops in the Golden Triangle

With the support of the Laos government, WWF has successfully shut down not one, but four shops in the Golden Triangle.

On 27 July 2018, surprise raids were conducted, following the swift confiscation of almost 400 items including jewellery pieces like bracelets, bangles, necklaces made from parts of tiger, elephants and the like. Among the finds: horns, tusks and teeth being sold as standalone “art pieces”.

Singapore acts as a major transit hub for illegal wildlife trade activities to thrive in the Golden Triangle. Our aim: to shut down 20 target markets in Asia by 2020.

28 enforcement officers, police, courts, among others, conducted the raids at Don Sao Market on July 27, 2018.
©WWF-Greater Mekong

In the last quarter of 2018, we were also visited by Harrison, a wildlife ranger from Kenya who shared his day-to-day (life-threatening) experiences with poachers with us.

Rangers around the world, like Harrison, put his life on the line almost every day, as rhino horns, elephant ivory and more continue to be poached rampantly.

Singapore proposes a total ban on ivory

On 31 July 2018, we launched Ivory Lane Singapore, a brand that sells accessories made of vintage ivory. Our objective: to highlight the loopholes of local wildlife laws.

Though many people think that ivory has already been banned in Singapore, it is still, in fact, a major transshipment point for ivory trade. Case in point: WWF-Singapore has found over 40 shops selling ivory products (watch our investigative work below) which cater to local demand.

Before we concluded 2018, we received the good news (what a gift!) and congratulated Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) for proposing a total ban on ivory in Singapore. It held a public consultation for the proposed ban which ended on 27 December 2018, creating an opportunity for civil society to contribute views and comments.

What are some of your favourite moments in 2018?

Read more about Netflix Originals we love (& waiting to watch) and 10 threatened species in Singapore.

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