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Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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Sat 13 Nov 2004

"Greens anything but 'real nature sanctuary'"

Category : news

Recently, there have ben some claims touting the new Kranji Golf Course as "a real nature sanctuary" and that it proves golf and nature can coexist. The Nature Society (Singapore) has questioned these claims in a letter published in The Straits Times today, 13 Nov 2004 which is reproduced here.

"Greens anything but 'real nature sanctuary'"

We refer to the article, 'Where birds, birdies co-exist' (ST, Nov 3), in which the new Kranji Golf Course was touted as 'a real nature sanctuary'. We are concerned about the misleading picture of the state of the wildlife/biodiversity presented.

We would like to draw attention to the following:

  • The area in which the Kranji Golf Course is located is a Nature Area in the Singapore Green Plan. It is important as a sanctuary for freshwater wetland-cum-grassland birdlife. When the course was implemented about 80 per cent of this habitat was destroyed. With only 20 per cent remaining, it is inevitable that the biodiversity and population level of the wildlife, and not just the birdlife, will decline drastically.
  • It is a fact that a bird survey of the area prior to the development of the course carried out by the Kranji Golf Course's eco-consultants revealed that there were 141 species of birds, resident and migrant. Now only 48 species remain, constituting only 34 per cent of what was originally there. Given this fact, the course is a far cry from being 'a real nature sanctuary'.
  • The golf course area has become dryland, the result of filling what was once a freshwater marshland. Some species of birdlife can co-exist with any golf course and, as the planted trees and shrubs mature, more dryland or parkland species (for example, Asian Glossy Starling and Common Myna) will flock to the area.

    But any increase in this category of birdlife will never replace what has been lost in terms of wetland and grassland species (for example, Greater Painted Snipe).

  • Our survey records show that there has been a substantial decline where the variety of wetland and grassland species is concerned. What is critical, and what the Kranji Golf Course management can do is to try to prevent further loss of wetland and grassland species (for example, Lesser Whistling Duck, Lesser Coucal and Cinnamon Bittern).

There is an urgent need to monitor for a period of time this category of birdlife - if not all the other forms of wildlife inhabiting these sorts of habitat. The monitoring must focus not only on the variety of the wetland and grassland species but also on the population levels of these species, as well as the number of nesting records. Otherwise, no proper assessment of the measures taken to contain further decline can be derived.

Dr Ho Hua Chew
Conservation Committee

Lim Kim Keang
The Bird Group
Nature Society (Singapore)

Posted at 2:52AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news