Dear A.S.S. Editor
Papers today reported that a National University of Singapore (NUS) sailing trip, organised as an experiential learning initiative, has come under scrutiny after photos of students posing with giant clam shells collected during trip drew flak online. Environmental groups and researchers pointed out that the giant clam is a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), and that proper permits are needed before any animal parts can be imported across borders, even if these are dead clam shells. Removal of other shells that had washed ashore could also be a threat to the eco-system.
The team had apparently returned from their seven-day trip trip in the Riau Islands with several shells and a giant clam shell as keepsakes. They had then posed with the shells for a Straits Times article, and that was when the flak started. The NUS team subsequently indicated that they were not aware of the guidelines, and is currently working towards handing over the shells back to the relevant authorities.
Now, the NUS supposed to be a place where all the smart people are, and even the professor had taken students on the sailing trips since 2013, so they should know better. How can they take something away from nature just for keepsakes? Brings shame to NUS