20 May 2010

Saving Singapore's wild orchids

Singapore used to have 226 native wild orchid species. Now there are only 48 species left, and only five are common. The remainder are rare or critically endangered.
Dr Yam Tim Wing is holding a specimen of Dendrobium leonis which is extinct in the wild and will be reintroduced. Photo from Straits Times, Ng Sor Luan

To protect our remaining orchid biodiversity, NParks has launched a programme to reintroduce our wild orchids, even in the heart of the city!

The NParks Orchid Conservation Fund was recently launched with the planting of a rare tiger orchid on a yellow flame tree outside the Tangs store in Orchard Road. The tiger orchid was chosen to be the first native orchid to be re-introduced to Orchard Road because it is a spectacular species, the largest orchid plant in the world and is already extinct in the wild in Singapore.

This is also part of NParks' efforts to increase the biodiversity of roadside trees and nature areas and make Singapore's roadside greenery more interesting.

'Native orchids have disappeared because of habitat loss.' says Dr Yam Tim Wing of NParks who has led the orchid programme for the last 10 years. In the past, wild orchids could be seen in mangrove areas and forests, which have made way for development.

He has propagated and reintroduced 3,000 plants of five species of orchids that were considered critically endangered or extinct. More than 80% of these planted on trees in parks and nature areas have survived. In time, they will self-propagate.

He now wants to reintroduce at least two species each year over the next three years. They will be planted in locations such as parks and nature areas, and also along Napier and Holland roads, and the East Coast Park Expressway.

You too can make a difference for our native orchids!

NParks' Orchid Conservation Fund hopes to raise $250,000 to reintroduce our native orchids.

Donations from members of the public are welcomed! A $50 donation will enable one small to medium-size orchid to be planted back into the natural environment. $100 will enable a large-size one. Donations are tax deductible.

The Orchid Conservation Fund will be used to support the following:
  • Monitoring of existing Orchid species
  • Exploring ways to conserve their germplasm, and
  • Increasing their numbers through subsequent re-introduction into appropriate habitats.
  • Research and education
More on how to make a donation on the Orchid Conservation Fund.

Full media articles about the Orchid Conservation Fund on wildsingapore news.

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