New Thomson Nature Park to be ready by end-2018

Today Online 8 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE — The soon-to-be-developed Thomson Nature Park will be ready by the end of 2018, said the National Parks Board (NParks) on Saturday (Oct 8).

Work on Thomson Nature Park — located between Old Upper Thomson Road and Upper Thomson Road — will begin early next year.

Trails will be developed to give visitors a chance to experience heritage highlights within the site — a former Hainan village. Among the features include old houses and foundations of the former village and some of the relict trees such as the majestic Ficus trees estimated to be more than 50 years old.

The area is also home to many rare and locally endangered animals at the site — including porcupines, pangolin, Samba deers, Leopard cats and Straw-headed Bulbuls.

In particular, the site also serves as a key conservation site for the Raffles’ Banded Langur, a subspecies of the Banded Leaf Monkey that can only be found in Singapore and southern Peninsular Malaysia. Additionally freshwater streams at the site are also home to many native aquatic species such as the Spotted Tree Frog which is near threatened on IUCN Red list, as well as the Malayan Box Terrapin.

First announced in 2014, the 50 hectare nature park will complement existing and upcoming nature parks including Springleaf, Chestnut, and Windsor Nature Parks which will extend the green buffer for the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR).

Like other nature parks, Thomson Nature Park will help to reduce visitorship pressure on the nature reserves by providing alternative venues for the public to enjoy nature-related activities, said NParks.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee made a site visit on Saturday, where he planted a Radermachera pinnata tree. Also present were representatives of nature groups, grassroots, students, residents, and key stakeholders.

Ruins of former village to be part of Thomson Nature Park
Kimberly Spykerman Channel NewsAsia 8 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE: In plans unveiled by the National Parks Board (NParks) on Saturday (Oct 8), the new Thomson Nature Park will give visitors a rare glimpse into the ruins of a Hainan village when it is completed in 2018.

The village was well-known for its rambutan plantation.

Trails will be developed on existing paths that leads into the village - where they will see, among other things, old houses and village walls, and even majestic ficus trees believed to be over 50 years.

"Apart from setting an area for the public to arrive and be introduced to the park, and have some basic amenities, much of the nature park will be left very rustic," said Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee, who visited the site.

"Its former structures will be left intact, and we will make sure they're made safe. All these will become opportunities for learning, for Singaporeans to delve deeper into aspects of our history - in the days gone by."

The development of the 50-hectare park is part of the NParks' approach to strengthen biodiversity conservation in Singapore's nature reserves.

Like other nature parks, the Thomson Nature Park provides an alternative site to help reduce the pressure of visitor numbers on the nature reserves.

It also skirts the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, and will function as a green buffer - protecting it from the impact of urban development.

- CNA/rw

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