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A crab-eating macaque, a primate native to Singapore

The wildlife of Singapore is surprisingly diverse despite its rapid urbanisation. The majority of fauna that still remains on the island exists in various nature reserves such as the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. [1]

In 1819, Singapore was mostly covered in rainforests. During that time, it still contained flora shared with the Malay Peninsula, but even then, the biodiversity of fauna was relatively low. Following the establishment of the British trading post, rapid deforestation began due to crop cultivation, and was largely completed by the 20th century. By some estimates, there has been a loss of 95% of the natural habitats of Singapore over the course of the past 183 years. [2] Due to the deforestation, over twenty species of freshwater fish, 100 species of bird, and a number of mammals became locally extinct. [3] A 2003 estimate puts the amount of extinct species as over 28%. [4]

In modern times, over half of the naturally occurring fauna and flora in Singapore is present only in nature reserves, which comprise only 0.25% of Singapore's land area. [2] Estimates made in 2003 have said that the rapid habitat destruction will culminate in a loss of 13-42% of populations in all of Southeast Asia. [5] To combat these problems, the Singaporean government has made the Singapore Green Plan in 1992 and the new Singapore Green Plan in 2012 to continue it. The plan aims to keep tabs on the unstable populations of fauna and flora, to place new nature parks, and to connect existing parks. In addition, there were plans to set up a "National Biodiversity Reference Centre" (now known as the National Biodiversity Centre). [6] The last goal was reached in 2006 when the centre was founded (it also accomplished the establishment of two new nature reserves in 2002 [7]). Since its foundation it has been formulating various specific initiatives including attempts to conserve the hornbill and the rare dragonfly Indothemis limbata. [8]

Fauna

Mammals

Singapore has roughly 80 species of mammals (out of 11 different orders) including 45 species of bat and three species of non-human primates. [9] Currently the only introduced non-domestic mammal species in Singapore is the variable squirrel. [10] The abundance of bats however has been decreasing rapidly due to a habitat loss of over 95%. [11]

Birds

Singapore is the occasional home of 395 species of birds (out of which roughly 180 species are resident birds). [12]

Reptiles

Singapore contains a relatively large number of reptiles, a total of about 110 species (4 of which are introduced). [13] Most of the species, roughly 75 are snakes (mainly Colubrid snakes). [14]

Amphibians

Singapore has 30 species of amphibians (out of which two species, the painted bull frog and the American bullfrog, are introduced species). [15]

Flora

Singapore currently contains 1358 known species of native vascular plants, of which approximately 759 are critically endangered. [16]

Urban Environment Interactions

Singapore's land area is dominated by urban development that is interspaced by natural reserves, waterways, parks and a large interlinked network of over 300km of park connectors (PCN). [17] The indigenous wildlife that has adapted to the urban environment includes the following fauna:

1. Smooth coated otter (Lutrogale perspicllata) - in 2022, the local otter population has expanded to 17 families "fishing for tilapia in waterways and sleeping under bridges". There were reports of people who had their prized koi collection decimated by hungry otters. [18]

2. Long tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) numbered more than 2,000 according to a 2015 census. There were reports of macaques scaling HDB buildings and invading homes. [19]

3.The Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) is native to Singapore and the species had declined to the point of local extinction during the 19th century. [20] However, these birds made a comeback, they were known to have established a thriving population on Pulau Ubin and on occasion, could be sighted at various locations throughout Singapore. [21]

4. Wild boars (sus scrofa) are native to Singapore with some weighing up to 100kg and could be sighted in urban areas close to the forested areas. There were reports of wild boar attacking people who strayed into their territory. [22]

Other wildlife sightings include the following:

1. Critically endangered Sunda pangolin (Manis Javanica) [23] [24] [25]

2. Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor) which re-colonised the Central Catchment Reserve after escaping from the Zoo in the 1970s. [26] In 2023, there was a report of road kill along the Bukit Timah expressway. [27]

See also

References

  1. ^ "National Parks Singapore".
  2. ^ a b Brook, Barry W.; Navjot S. Sodhi; Peter K. L. Ng (2003-07-24). "Catastrophic extinctions follow deforestation in Singapore". Nature. 424 (6947): 420–426. doi: 10.1038/nature01795. ISSN  0028-0836. PMID  12879068.
  3. ^ Corlett, Robert T. (July 1992). "The Ecological Transformation of Singapore, 1819-1990". Journal of Biogeography. 19 (4). Blackwell Publishing: 411–420. doi: 10.2307/2845569. JSTOR  2845569.
  4. ^ "Extinctions in Singapore". Animal Planet News. 14 August 2003. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  5. ^ "Singapore is more wild than you think". The Straits Times.
  6. ^ "National Initiatives". National Biodiversity Reference Center. Archived from the original on 2010-03-02. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  7. ^ "History of Biodiversity Conservation in Singapore". National Biodiversity Reference Centre. Archived from the original on 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  8. ^ "Initiatives". National Parks Singapore. Archived from the original on 2010-01-31. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  9. ^ "National Biodiversity Centre Mammal List". Archived from the original on 2014-03-12.
  10. ^ "List of mammal species present in Singapore" (PDF). Global Biodiversity Information Facility. June 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  11. ^ Lane, David J. W.; Kingston, Tigga; Lee, Benjamin P. Y.-H. (2006). "Dramatic decline in bat species richness in Singapore, with implications for Southeast Asia". Biological Conservation. 131 (4): 584–593. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2006.03.005. ISSN  0006-3207.
  12. ^ "National Biodiversity Centre Bird List". Archived from the original on 2014-03-12.
  13. ^ "National Biodiversity Centre Reptile List". Archived from the original on 2014-03-12.
  14. ^ "List of reptile species present in Singapore" (PDF). Global Biodiversity Information Facility. March 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  15. ^ "National Biodiversity Centre Amphibian List". Archived from the original on 2014-03-12.
  16. ^ "Singapore Red Data Book" (PDF). p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-15.
  17. ^ "Know Our Recreational Connectivity". pcn.nparks.gov.sg. Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  18. ^ "Slippery, hungry, sometimes angry: Singapore struggles with 'unparalleled' otter boom". The Guardian. 2022-10-23. ISSN  0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  19. ^ "About 2,500 cases of monkey-related feedback received in Singapore each year". CNA. Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  20. ^ https://www.nparks.gov.sg/nparksbuzz/omeissue-15-vol-4-2012/conservation/hornbills-in-the-lion-city
  21. ^ "Rare sighting of 8 hornbills loitering along Pasir Ris HDB corridor". mothership.sg. Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  22. ^ "Bukit Panjang wild boar attacks: More traps to be placed, fences extended after 2 injured". CNA. Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  23. ^ Zikri, Arif (2022-11-10). "In Singapore, critically endangered pangolin spotted by apartment residents in car park, rescued by animal group (VIDEO)". Malay Mail. Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  24. ^ "Man Spots Rare Sunda Pangolin Crossing S'pore Road, Makes Sure It Gets To Safety". Must Share News - Independent News For Singaporeans. 2022-07-09. Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  25. ^ "Endangered Sunda Pangolin Walks Along S'pore Footpath, Shuffles Up To Human & Sniffs Camera". Must Share News - Independent News For Singaporeans. 2023-08-03. Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  26. ^ https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/sambar-deer-making-a-return-in-singapore-study-shows
  27. ^ https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/sambar-deer-killed-accident-bke-2904356