Nature Conservation and Nature Society (Singapore): 6. Marina South

on 28th April 2017

The proposal for the conservation of Marina South as a bird sanctuary surfaced in June 1991. The area was about 11 hectares of land reclaimed from the sea. The habitat was flooded grassland with two freshwater ponds.

Marina South proposal, 1991
Marina South proposal, 1991

The uniqueness of the area, according to the proposers, was the presence of 22 Wandering Tree-ducks, now known as Wandering Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna arcuata) and 50 Lesser Treeducks, now known as Lesser Whistling-ducks (Dendrocygna javanica). It was then the only site in Singapore where these ducks breed.

Straits Times April 22nd 1992
Straits Times April 22nd 1992

The area also offered a wintering venue for some of the uncommon migratory birds like Chinese Pond-herons (Ardeola bacchus), Baillon’s Crake (Porzana pusilla) and White-shouldered Starlings (Sturnus sinensis).

Straits Times April 24th 1992
Straits Times April 24th 1992

The appendix provided a checklist of 88 species of birds.

Government was not convinced of the value of the area and soon the ponds were filled because of mosquito breeding.

Straits Times June 7th 1992
Straits Times June 7th 1992

The then Minister for National Development Mr S Dhanabalan‘s comment above made much sense.

Lesser Whistling-duck (Photo credit: Lena Chow]
Lesser Whistling-duck (Photo credit: Lena Chow)

According to Wang & Hails (2007), the Lesser Whistling-duck (above) is an uncommon resident, its population supplemented by free-flying birds from the Jurong Bird Park. The Wandering Whistling-duck on the other hand originated from free-flying birds from the same park.

YC Wee
2nd April 2017

Secretary, Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch) 1978-1990; Founding President, Nature Society (Singapore) 1990-1995

Wang, L.K. & C. J. Hails, 2007. An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1-179.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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