The National Parks Board (NParks) has unveiled plans for Thomson Nature Park during a site visit by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development, Mr Desmond Lee on 8 October 2016.
The 50 hectare Thomson Nature Park is located between Old Upper Thomson Road and Upper Thomson Road, it is the latest nature park serves as one of seven green buffers to the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves (CCNR).
The park is one of four that will be on the perimeter of the CCNR, which are meant to reduce the number of visitors to the reserves, to minimise the impact on its vegetation and wildlife.
The nature park was first announced in 2014 and will complement existing and upcoming nature parks including Springleaf, Chestnut, and Windsor Nature Parks which extend the green buffer for the CCNR. It will also enhance the ecological network for biodiversity with its rich flora and fauna.
Thomson Nature Park, like Springleaf and Windsor Nature Park, is situated on the East-side of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and also functions as a green buffer and extension for the reserve. (See map)
Due to its rich history as a Hainan village, which was well-known for its Rambutan plantation, this nature park is also unique. NParks said that trails will be developed to give visitors a chance to experience the heritage highlights within the site.
NParks will include a glimpse of the old ruins, including old houses and foundations that used to be located here in the village and some of the relics trees including tall Ficus trees estimated to be more than 50 years old.
Like other nature parks, Thomson Nature Park will help to reduce visitorship pressure on the nature reserves by providing alternative venues for the public to enjoy nature-related activities.
The current site is very much filled with forest and rich in biodiversity. It is home to many rare and locally endangered animals, with sightings of the Porcupine, Pangolin, Samba Deer, Leopard Cat and Straw-headed Bulbul.
The freshwater streams also homes many native aquatic species such as the Spotted Tree Frog which is near threatened on IUCN Red list, as well as the Malayan Box Terrapin.
In particular, this site functions as a key conservation site for the Raffles’ Banded Langur, a subspecies of the Banded Leaf Monkey that can only be found in Singapore and southern Peninsular Malaysia. Reforestation and enrichment plantings over the years have improved the rain forest habitat of these endangered animals.
Setting aside buffer areas such as the upcoming Thomson Nature Park is hoped to increase more the foraging area for the species, which has seen an increase since the 1990s.
As part of the ongoing habitat enhancement efforts to augment NParks’s biodiversity conservation efforts, the existing forest habitat will be sensitively enhanced and planted up with native tree species.
Aerial links in the canopy of the forest will also be conserved and enhanced to allow movement by the Raffles’ Banded Langur and other arboreal animals. NParks will also conserved all existing mature trees.
NParks’ plan will also include rest shelters with interpretive signage, toilets, car park and a trail network in Thomson Nature Park, that will be designed following the alignment of the former roads within the site.
The Nparks has also sought community’s inputs in the development of Thomson Nature Park. Engagement sessions with grassroots, residents as well as nature groups were held to gather feedback and suggestions from the various parties. Representatives of nature groups, grassroots, students, residents, and key stakeholders were also present at the event.
Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee planted a Radermachera pinnata at the current site of Thomson Nature Park to mark the occasion.