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Wildlife of Singapore

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Title: Wildlife of Singapore  
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Wildlife of Singapore

A Crab-eating Macaque, a primate native to Singapore

Singapore has a surprisingly diverse wildlife despite its rapid urbanisation. Most of the fauna that has remained exists in various nature reserves such as the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.[1]

History

Singapore's environment has changed rapidly due to the quick urbanisation and the immense population density. In 1819, when a British trading post was first established on the island, Singapore was still nearly entirely covered in rainforests. During that time it still contained flora similar to the Malay Peninsula but the biodiversity of the fauna was even then relatively low. Following the establishment of the trading post, a rapid deforestation began due to crop cultivation and was largely completed by the 20th century. By some estimates there had been a loss of 95% of natural habitats in Singapore in the past 183 years.[2] Because of the deforestation over twenty species of freshwater fish and 100 species of bird as well as a number of mammals have gone locally extinct.[1][3] A 2003 estimate has put the number 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 the land area of the country.[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.

To combat these problems the Singaporean government has made the Singapore Green Plan in 1992 and the new Singapore Green Plan 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 as well as to set up a "National Biodiversity Reference Centre" (now known as the National Biodiversity Centre).[5] The last goal has been reached in 2006 when the centre was founded (it also accomplished the establishment of two new nature reserves in 2002[6]). Since its foundation it has been formulating various specific initiatives including attempts to conserve the Hornbill and the rare Dragonfly Indothemis limbata.[7]

Fauna

Mammals

Singapore has roughly 80 species of mammals (out of 11 different Order (biology)orders) including 45 species of Bat and three species of non-human primates.[8] Currently the only introduced species in Singapore is the Variable Squirrel.[9] The abundance of bats however has been decreasing rapidly due to a habitat loss of over 95%.[10]

Birds

Singapore is the occasional home of 395 species of birds (out of which roughly 180 species are resident birds).[11]

Reptiles

Singapore contains a relatively large amount of reptiles, a total of about 110 species (4 of which are introduced).[12] Most of the species, roughly 75 are snakes (mainly Colubrid snakes).[13]

Amphibians

Singapore has 30 species of amphibians (out of which two species, the Painted Bull Frog and the American Bullfrog, are introduced species).[14]

Flora

Singapore currently contains 1358 species of native vascular plants, of which approximately 759 are critically endangered.[15]

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.  
  3. ^ Corlett, Robert T. (July 1992). "The Ecological Transformation of Singapore, 1819-1990". Journal of Biogeography (Blackwell Publishing) 19 (4): 411–420.  
  4. ^ "Extinctions in Singapore". Animal Planet News. 14-08-03. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  5. ^ "National Initiatives". National Biodiversity Reference Center. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  6. ^ "History of Biodiversity Conservation in Singapore". National Biodiversity Reference Centre. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  7. ^ "Initiatives". National Parks Singapore. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  8. ^ "National Biodiversity Centre Mammal List". 
  9. ^ "List of mammal species present in Singapore". Global Biodiversity Information Facility. June 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  10. ^ 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.  
  11. ^ "National Biodiversity Centre Bird List". 
  12. ^ "National Biodiversity Centre Reptile List". 
  13. ^ "List of reptile species present in Singapore". Global Biodiversity Information Facility. March 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  14. ^ "National Biodiversity Centre Amphibian List". 
  15. ^ "Singapore Red Data Book" (pdf). p. 2. 

External links

  • National Biodiversity Centre, Singapore
  • National Parks Board, Singapore

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