Singapore has a feather in its cap

Despite its small size, the country is home to an array of wildlife, including about 150 species of resident birds
Straits Times 27 Feb 17;

With a land area of about 720 sq km that is marked by rapid urbanisation, Singapore is home to a surprisingly diverse array of wildlife.

In fact, about 150 species of birds can be found here all-year round.

To celebrate the colour they bring to our concrete jungle, The Straits Times' photojournalists will showcase birds that often go unnoticed in this first of a two-part Wildlife Singapore series to commemorate World Wildlife Day on Friday.

This annual celebration and move to heighten awareness of the world's wild animals and plants is founded in the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

The convention - an international agreement between governments with an objective to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival - was signed on March 3, 1973.

But it was about 40 years later, on Dec 20, 2013, that the United Nations General Assembly decided to declare March 3 as World Wildlife Day.

In Singapore, the wildlife list shows more than 390 species of birds. Of these, nearly 150 species are residents here, which means they can be found all-year round, and that there is evidence of them breeding here.

Birds play an important role in the urban landscape here, said Mr Lim Kim Chuah, chairman of the Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group.

"They help with the reproduction of plants - as pollinators and seed dispersers - and control the population of bugs.

"Birds also provide a recreational and aesthetic value, as enjoying nature and watching wildlife is a great way to relax and de-stress, especially in a hectic environment like Singapore," he added.

"Lastly, parks, gardens and forests attract tourists and, to some extent, eco-tourists. This brings economic benefits to the country," he noted.

Next Monday, the second part of this series will feature our photographers' visual take on the land and sea creatures of Singapore.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The Straits Times picture desk would like to thank the following for their assistance in this project:
National Parks Board
Mr Lim Kim Chuah, chairman of the Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group
Mr Yong Ding Li, committee member of the Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group
Ms Ria Tan, naturalist who runs www.wildsingapore.com.

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