A day in the life of a Body Collector (28 April 2010)

Received an sms at 9:59 am from a friend (Azmi) who had spotted a pangolin (Manis javanicus) road kill along Lornie Road. Got further details with regards to the road kill – after PIE exit, after SICC towards Thomson Road, along road island.

As I was going to give a talk at the Singapore Zoo at noon, I decided to leave earlier and make a slight detour to attempt to pick up the road kill.

I arrived near the scene at 10:30 am, and parked at the bus stop with hazard lights switched on. The road island was bare concrete wall. I walked back towards the grass island area. Grass-cutters were at work. I questioned the workers, but they had not sighted the dead animal. I assumed it had been cleared by the road cleaners.

Proceeded on, and passed a hunched brown lump about 200 m before MacRitchie exit/flyover. Aha! The road kill was still there.

I managed to park at the road exit from MacRitchie, and switched on the hazard lights again. Took a general shot, and waited for the traffic to clear, dashed across to the road island, managed a shot and collected the body.

I brought the body back to the road pavement and took a few more shots, then wrapped the body up in a trash bag and placed it into an ice box. Off to the zoo for the talk.

Finished the talk and arrived back around 3:20 pm. Got help from Kai-xin and Yen Ling, weighed and stretched the body, and took some shots. It was a young male, 2.3 kg, 78.0 cm in total length, with a tail length of 28.0 cm.

Washed the body down, called in Sujatha and Gwynne, the cryo-tissue gals. I made incisions on the thigh and removed some muscle tissue; then clipped some liver for cryo-preservation.

The table was then cleaned up and the body put into the freezer.

What a day.

[Story and photographs by Tan Heok Hui (body collector, amongst other things…)]

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