Festival to celebrate biodiversity in S'pore

Visitors can learn about the Kopsia singapurensis tree, whose "patriotic flowers" bloom with a red heart framed by white petals, at the Celebrating SG50: Our Natural Heritage exhibition this weekend.
Visitors can learn about the Kopsia singapurensis tree, whose "patriotic flowers" bloom with a red heart framed by white petals, at the Celebrating SG50: Our Natural Heritage exhibition this weekend.PHOTO: ANG WEE FOONG

SG50 event will showcase flora, fauna linked to Republic's heritage

FEW would associate wildlife and nature with Singapore, given its many skyscrapers.

But a biodiversity exhibition being held at VivoCity today and tomorrow may change this.

Visitors to the Celebrating SG50: Our Natural Heritage exhibition will find that the Republic is actually home to a surprising number of species of plants and animals.

Among them is the critically endangered Zingiber singapurense, a ginger found only in Singapore's Central Catchment Nature Reserve and nowhere else in the world.

Visitors will also learn more about the tree with "patriotic flowers". The Kopsia singapurensis grows in freshwater swamp forests only in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia, and has flowers that bloom with a red heart surrounded by white petals.

In all, the National Parks Board will showcase 50 plants and animals closely linked to Singapore's heritage at the exhibition as part of the board's annual Festival of Biodiversity.

Other than the ginger and the tree, visitors can learn about the rarer of two native monkeys, the elusive banded leaf monkey. The long-tailed macaque is the other monkey that is native to Singapore.

The two-day Festival of Biodiversity is in its fourth year, and will feature arts-and-craft workshops and booths set up by nature groups such as the Nature Society (Singapore) and Herpetological Society of Singapore.

For the first time, the festival will also include a free concert by musicians from groups such as Greenbeats, which aims to raise environmental awareness through music.

Mr Chen Lishi, 25, said he is keen to visit the exhibition to learn how to identify flora and fauna. Added the engineer: "Being in South-east Asia, we are exposed to a large diversity of flora and fauna. Instead of looking to other countries, we could simply look within Singapore to find many interesting animals and plants."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2015, with the headline 'Festival to celebrate biodiversity in S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe