Residents became wildlife observers during circuit breaker
With many staying home during the two-month circuit breaker period from April to June, some used their spare time by acting as lookouts for nature projects.
And this has not only made them appreciate the environment more but also gave them the chance to contribute valuable data on the presence of new wildlife in Singapore.
One such project is the Nature Society Singapore’s (NSS) SingaporeNature Sightings project.
Residents can upload and share their wildlife sightings via the iNaturalist app where the in-built Artificial Intelligence (AI) or community of experts can help to identify them.
NSS said that there were valuable animal sightings recorded during the circuit breaker period such as the critically endangered straw-headed bulbul- heavily poached in the region for its melodious song.
Kerry Pereira, outreach officer at NSS, said: “This project showed us just how much biodiversity we have in our urban areas that go unnoticed during the normal hustle and bustle of our daily lives.”
The project gathered a total of 3,935 observations on 987 different species of flora & fauna during the circuit breaker. The three categories that made up the bulk of the sightings were plants, insects and birds.
Of the 987 species, 30 per cent were on plants, including wildflowers.
Another 30 per cent on insects while birds made up 10 per cent.
The remaining 30 per cent of the recorded observations were a mix of fungi, reptiles, mammals, arachnids, amphibians, and other wildlife.
One of the project’s contributors was Patricia Lorenz, 52, a lecturer at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) who is married without children.
She contributed more than 500 wildlife observations during the circuit breaker on a variety of animals such as birds, insects and even reptiles.
She goes for daily walks around her neighbourhood in the Fengshan constituency in Tanah Merah to watch for and take photos of wildlife and posts them on the iNaturalist app.
She told The New Paper: “This project helped me to cope with loneliness and being cooped up at home during the circuit breaker because it gave me a purpose and I learnt a lot.”
The National Parks Board (NParks) also carried out its Stay-Home Birdwatching survey from May 12 to June 30 to gather bird sightings in residential areas during the Covid period.
Mr Lim Liang Jim, group director of NParks’ National Biodiversity Centre, told TNP: “In our efforts to transform Singapore into a City in Nature, NParks has aimed to restore nature to our urban landscape and intensify greening efforts to attract and support native species of insects, birds, and small mammals.”