SINGAPORE - Strolling in Pasir Ris Park will soon be a much brighter affair thanks to a programme to increase the firefly population in the area.
Tech giant Panasonic has contributed $20,000 to a National Parks Board (NParks) initiative that aims to boost the numbers of the species as part of a strategy to conserve mangrove forests.
The presence of fireflies, which are not commonly sighted and are highly sensitive to changes in the environment, is indicative of a healthy mangrove.
Pasir Ris Park's mangrove habitat, which has not been disturbed for over 50 years, is the only place in Singapore where the public can get reasonably close to fireflies.
The new scheme involves reducing light pollution by using wildlife-friendly lights along the mangrove zone. Mangrove trees will also be planted to provide a conducive habitat for these soft-bodied beetles.
Panasonic's staff will be trained to conduct regular firefly population surveys to monitor the effectiveness of these measures.
Educational signboards on the firefly population, their habitat and ongoing conservation efforts will also be set up.
The mangrove area is home to at least two firefly species - the locally endangered Pteroptyx valida and the Pteroptyx malaccae.
This programme is a continuation of a two-year mangrove biodiversity monitoring study conducted in 2012 by NParks with the support of Panasonic.