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Upper Thomson forest patch home to various critically endangered wildlife and is worth conserving

The Nature Society (Singapore) would like to comment on the TODAY report, "Researchers call for protection of SAF training area to preserve feeding ground for Raffles' banded langur" (May 26).

Upper Thomson forest patch home to various critically endangered wildlife and is worth conserving

The Nature Society (Singapore) urges the Government to do an environmental or a biophysical impact assessment at a forest plot home to various endangered wildlife, including the Raffles' banded langur (pictured).

Ho Hua Chew, Vice-President, Nature Society (Singapore)

The Nature Society (Singapore) would like to comment on the TODAY report, "Researchers call for protection of SAF training area to preserve feeding ground for Raffles' banded langur" (May 26).

At present, the forest to the north of Tagore Drive and the Tagore industrial estate is being used by the Singapore Armed Forces for training. 

It has become even more important to wildlife in the Upper Thomson area, given that the forest patch to the south of it fringing Yio Chu Kang Road and the Teachers’ Estate — which we call the Tagore-Lentor Forest — was almost completely wiped out for a condominium development.

From as early as 2001, we have also had the critically endangered songbird, the straw-headed bulbul, in this forest patch north of Tagore Drive. The straw-headed bulbul is listed as critically endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Given the demise of the neighbouring, connected forest around the Yio Chu Kang and Teachers’ Estate fringe, where there are also records of this bulbul species, it is most probable that the bulbuls here will take refuge in the forest north of Tagore Drive through a narrow forest belt to the east of the Tagore industrial estate.

There are also records of other nationally threatened bird species, such as the crested serpent eagle and the grey-headed fish eagle, in this patch north of Tagore Drive. The grey-headed fish eagle is also in the IUCN’s Red List as “near-threatened”.

We also believe that the Sunda pangolin, another critically endangered species globally, would have likewise taken refuge in this patch north of Tagore Drive. The pangolin had been recorded in the forest patch fringing the Teachers’ Estate, which is, as mentioned, already mostly cleared.

With the presence of the Raffles’ banded langur, as primatologist Andie Ang noted in the TODAY report, the forest north of Tagore Drive is highly important for the well-being of our biodiversity.

We urge the authorities to do an environmental or a biophysical impact assessment, to determine at least some ecologically significant portion of the forested area for conservation before initiating any housing plan.

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

Related topics

forest Upper Thomson Road Raffles' banded langur endangered species

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