On our recent trip to St John’s Island, the boys were rather bemused to have a brood of roosters, chickens, and chicks that they could run after. With all the urbanisation, free roaming animals (apart from the sparrows, mynahs and crows), are an uncommon sight. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because highly urbanised areas aren’t good for animals, and can cause mayhem like the cows do in India.
A few years ago, in our old home, we played host to a pair of olive-back sunbirds for a few years. It was amazing to see them weave (or patch up on the subsequent years) their nests, and to hear the sounds of newborn chicks. Then, we lived in a relatively suburban area with small patches of unused land, next to a military camp, and area with lots of greenery. We’d seen snakes and macaques, and bats were a nightly affair. Did you know that Singapore is well known for its diversity in snakes even though we are so densely populated? I saw us on the Animal Planet once (I really hope it’s because they’re feasting on all the rats).
At our new home it surprised us to find grasshoppers feasting on my mint plant, and recently we spotted a butterfly hovering around our lime plant, and not surprisingly found 7-8 caterpillars a few days later. Creepy crawlers give me the hibby jibbies, so I’ve kept 3 for the boys and given away the rest. Some ferns, including the bird’s nest fern, I’m guessing the wind brought their spores, sprouted up in my little planter and we’ve adopted them into our little edible garden. We’ve also noticed swifts flying around the top of the building, and recently they’ve taken to making a nest in a hole in the ceiling near our lift landing. We’ve also sighted macaques once, probably because there are beautiful large trees along a lovely park connector just next to our estate.
Now some of you might think that this is pretty ordinary, and that’s a good thing because it would mean that all of us are surrounded by nature. But we live literally on the boundary of the central business district, and so close to one of the world’s busiest ports I can read off the ships’ logos on their sides. Oh, and we live on the 49th floor. Who would’ve thought butterflies and grasshoppers could make their way up here, but evidently they do, making for a pleasant surprise.
This year, the National Parks Board, affectionately known as NParks, celebrates 50 Years of Greening Singapore and I’m relating all of my animal adventures to you today because I think we’re so incredibly lucky that to live in a country that values nature. Green buildings are all the rage and grants and awards are given out to buildings that are more eco-friendly. Everywhere you go, you at least see trees and plants surrounding the areas. We don’t have the luxury of space, but we are no where near as grey as many of the other Asian cities – or if I may be so bold to say, ALL other Asian cities.
If you’re as lucky as me and don’t even need to step out of the house to experience some nature, or when you are out, don’t forget to take a moment to smell the roses, listen to the beds chirping and enjoy the fruits of labour of our many visionaries and various boards tirelessly working to keep our country green. And let’s all work together to keep our country green, shall we?
To read more about Nparks and conservation in Singapore, including a video on the Hornbill project, head over to Rainbows in the Sky – Sharing of our Garden City.
This post was not sponsored by anyone except Mother Nature, and with a lot of great work by the National Parks Board.