Environmental Impact Study for Proposed Housing Development at Bukit Batok Hillside Park Area: EIS Report for Bukit Batok Hillside Park Area

The following is an excerpt about the terrestrial fauna survey from the EIS report for Bukit Batok Hillside Park area (HDB BB EIS Report Final_rev13), dated 1 June 2020, prepared for Housing and Development Board (HDB) of Singapore.

“Many of the species recorded during these surveys are considered to be widespread and common in secondary vegetation and parkland across Singapore. However, the presence of some forest-dependent species, such as the Malay Tailed Judy (Abisara savitri savitri), Copper-cheeked Frog (Chalcorana labialis), Common Treeshrew (Tupaia glis), and Slender Squirrel (Sundasciurus tenuis) shows that the survey area may serve as a refugium for some of these species.

Due to the ongoing construction work taking place at the edges of the survey area, patches of grassland and small pools have been created. All of the damselfly and dragonfly species are typical of open areas, as are quite a number of butterflies. Among the amphibians, the Field Frog (Fejervarya limnocharis) was only found at the periphery of the construction sites, and was absent at the pond at the forest edge.

The number of Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) present in Bukit Batok Hillside Park area is unknown. The two camera traps that documented the presence of Wild Boar were placed at different areas of the site; one was located along the stream, while the other was near the top of the ridge, in close proximity to an old wallow. Each camera captured a single individual, a lone adult male. Based on the general scarcity of signs of Wild Boar activity during the surveys, and the territorial behaviour of the adult male Wild Boar, it is likely that there is only one resident individual in this forest patch, although the possibility of more individuals wandering from other nearby forest patches cannot be ruled out.

Other species that have been recorded from similar secondary forest habitats such as Bukit Batok Nature Park, may be present within the survey area but were not documented during the surveys. These include the more uncommon animals such as the Sunda Colugo (Galeopterus variegatus), Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica), Horsfield’s Flying Squirrel (Iomys horsfieldii), and Lowland Freshwater Crab (Parathelphusa maculata). These species are rarely observed outside of Singapore’s central nature reserves and Bukit Batok Nature Park, but are often difficult to detect, with some being nocturnal or arboreal. Therefore, while they were not observed during the surveys, we cannot discount the possibility that some of these species may still be present at Bukit Batok Hillside Park. The non-native East Asian Ornate Chorus Frog (Microhyla fissipes) was not previously recorded in Bukit Batok; this may represent a new locality record for this species in Singapore.

It is also important to note that these surveys took place outside of the migratory season for birds; surveys conducted when various passage migrants and winter visitors may be found in Singapore would likely yield very different results.

Although the survey area is a small, isolated patch of secondary forest with relatively few species of conservation importance, its potential role in maintaining connectivity for birds and other animal species cannot be discounted. With the ongoing development of the Tengah area as a new housing estate, it is likely that some animals may move to the Bukit Batok Hillside Park area, and then disperse to other forest patches in Bukit Batok, possibly reaching Bukit Timah Nature Reserve via Bukit Batok Nature Park.”


A Cry for Nature (Poem by Alan Ardy)

A Cry For Nature

They’re cutting more and more trees down, have you seen?
And replacing them with concrete that’s quite obscene

In the name of development and urban renewal. 
Destroying wildlife habitats isn’t just cruel

But also short-term thinking at its very worst
Because such gross devastation can’t be reversed.

But they don’t care about Nature, just the pursuit of wealth, 
Indifferent to the effect upon the nation’s health.

They say it’s for progress but they don’t see the dangers
Of our next generation growing up as strangers

To the undisturbed beauty of a forest glade
And the calm tranquility that Nature has made

Quite unaware that ecological destruction
Isn’t progress at all but spiritual corruption.

Do they seriously believe that more urban sprawl,
Industrial estates or another shopping mall

With architectural designs in dubious taste
Is worth the cost of the country they’re laying waste?

They’re so insensitive without realising
Their rapist mentality is vandalising

The environment’s pure and natural aesthetic
With cheap vulgarity that’s quite pathetic.

So please feel for the trees as they slowly die
And remember these words which are Nature’s cry.

By Alan Ardy
Creative Director

There can be no sustainability without conserving our biodiversity

Bukit Batok Hillside Park remains as a green buffer in a concrete jungle.

How do we balance nature conservation and urban development in order to ensure a sustainable future?

One way is to preserve our few remaining forest habitats and redevelop brownfield sites for housing and other uses.

Our forest habitats are homes for the diversity of flora and fauna, comprising our natural heritage.

They also serve as natural cooling agents to mitigate the increasing urban heat island effect exacerbated by global warming.

A sterling example is Bukit Batok Hillside Park, which is under threat of a proposed housing development.

It functions as the last remaining forest corridor for our resident wildlife between the disappearing Tengah forest and Bukit Batok nature park and Bukit Timah nature reserve.

Losing this hillside park will result in loss of biodiversity and increased heat.

This in turn may lead to a greater risk of proliferation of dengue-carrying mosquitoes and stress-related health issues respectively.

Instead of destroying our forests and replacing them with buildings and human-centric gardens which lack biodiversity, we should adopt an eco-centric approach in order to ensure a sustainable tomorrow for ourselves and our future generations.

P.S. Feel free to check out my podcast “Why I advocate nature conservation“.

P.P.S. Do support nature conservation and sustainable development by signing the petition here.

Learning to practise sustainable living from our primate friends in Singapore

Long-tailed macaques in Macritchie rainforest in Singapore

How can we ensure a “sustainable tomorrow”?

How do we live sustainably, without damaging the natural environment on one hand and without stunting our economic growth on the other hand?

Can we really achieve the elusive goal of sustainable development on this tiny Singapore island?

Well, it is said that the best conservationists are the indigenous tribes, who live off the land and take only what they need from the environment, without harming it.

Alas, we no longer have any indigenous peoples in our midst whose lifestyle we can emulate, no thanks to aggressive urbanisation and industrialisation, which has all but wiped out over 90% of the original rainforests.

Then again, we can probably learn from our primate friends, such as long-tailed macaques, who live mainly in the nature reserves and nature parks.

They can survive and thrive without damaging or polluting the forest.

Can we learn to live in harmony with Nature just like our animal friends?