S'pore meeting on conserving regional eco-systems such as Sungei Buloh wetlands

SINGAPORE - A two-day symposium will be held on June 12 and 13 at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore to share ideas on how to conserve intertidal areas, or mudflats and mangroves in the region that teem with wildlife.

The "Symposium on Intertidal Conservation in Southeast Asia" is co-hosted by BirdLife International, the National Parks Board, the National University of Singapore Law Faculty's Asia Pacific Centre for Environmental Law (APCEL) and the Nature Society (Singapore).

It brings together over 60 government representatives, site managers and thought leaders from eleven countries.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is recognised as a site of international importance for migratory birds and is a feeding area for millions of migratory birds to rest and refuel before flying on the next leg of their journey.

In January 2014, a whimbrel (numenius phaeopus) believed to be about 20 years old was spotted again at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, nineteen years after it was first ringed in Singapore in 1995. Another significant record for Singapore was the ringing of a common redshank (tringa tetanus) in 1990, which was later sighted again here in 2011, about 21 years apart.

Singapore is among 22 countries such as China, Korea, Australia and Russia that are situated along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway - an annual migration path for 50 million birds which spans 10,000 km.

This flyway is used by more species than any of the other eight global flyways. Other countries along this flyway include Japan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Thailand.

Dr Shawn Lum, Lecturer at the National Institute of Education and President of the Nature Society (Singapore), said: "These coastal sites are irreplaceable and invaluable. Preserving them is not just for wildlife. They support over 50 million birds on their annual migration, and also many millions of people through providing nurseries for fish, shrimp and crabs. Without these areas our fisheries would be severely impacted. All people of Asia would suffer as a result."