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

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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
Singapore
2nd April 2017

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

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

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