From being a shelter for the disease-riddled, St. John's island in Singapore has emerged to be the home of a wide variety of exotic species, increasing its tourist attractions. September 2 saw the opening of a new trail by National Parks Board, which brings previously unexplored aspects of the island into prominence.
Desmond Lee, Second Minister for National Development and Home Affairs, unveiled the new trail on Saturday, which has 15 stations and highlights natural habitats, intertidal zones, and rare biotic species of the island. Free guided tours are being held from today, with official tours set to open from October, 2017.
"The centre of gravity of our conservation approach cannot be to keep people away from nature. Instead, we want to instill a sense of wonder and appreciation among Singaporeans for our blue and green areas," said Lee at the event.
The Sisters' Islands Marine Park Public Gallery on St. John's Island houses a mangrove tank, corals, sea anemones, giant clams, and other such species, along with a virtual reality dive tour, similar to that of VR Park in Tokyo.
Friends of the Marine Park community, a conservatory organization, has also been created, consisting of a wide range of professionals expected to work on the island's conservation.
Interesting species of organisms are found aplenty on St. John's island, making its conservation a matter of worldwide importance.
Here are some of those species:
The blue land crab, last seen in 1938 at Paya Lebar, was discovered at St. John's island in 2015.
The coastal sea almond tree, famous for its almond-like fruits and kernels, is another feature of this island.
The nocturnal gold-ringed cat snake, a mildly poisonous snake of mangrove regions, is found here as well.
The discovery of a critically endangered hawksbill turtle laying eggs near East Coast park has led to the establishment efforts of a turtle hatchery on Small Sister's Island.
The great-billed heron, an endangered bird of Singapore, has also sought shelter in and around this island.
A glimpse of these and more is in store for visitors to this island.