New Native Animal Book Aims to Raise Wildlife Awareness and Instill Moral Values

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SINGAPORE – A young boy is hiking in a local nature park with his classmates and teacher when he spots a Sunda slow loris on a tree. In an effort to show off to his peers, he climbs the tree and tries to take a photo with the critically endangered primate.

But the mammal pulls itself together by biting its thumb because it has entered its space.

That story is in a new book, titled Beware The Sunda Slow Loris and Other Singaporean Fables, written by primary school teacher Chen Junhua, 39, and illustrated by artist and art therapist Chan Shu Yin, 37.

The 10 fables feature animals native to Singapore, including the freshwater crab, little mouse deer, and Raffles’ banded langur.

The book, which is aimed at children aged two to nine, aims to raise awareness of these critically endangered animals while instilling moral values.

“We thought it would be good to let young children see these animals for themselves. It would open up their world and make them want to preserve nature and appreciate animals,” Chen said.

Approximately two to three pages long, each story is inspired by issues his students face, such as friendship, and imparts life lessons he wants to pass on, about doing no harm and making fun of others to aim to be altruistic.

Fun facts about the featured animals can be found at the end of each story, which also highlights how people should act in the wild.

For example, in the story of Sunda’s slow loris, readers will learn to respect wildlife and observe animals from a distance. They will also discover that the Sunda slow loris is Singapore’s only venomous primate and that despite its name, it can move quickly when catching insects for food.

“I think these stories can inspire children to really have the seed to love nature and the values ​​to cherish it. It’s very good to start young,” Ms. Chan said.

Mr. Chen, a father of two children aged four and six, added, “We want people to understand the treasure we have in our garden and appreciate our animals.”

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