...Scientists here are firmly behind Tuesday's call by Nominated MP Geh Min [and President, Nature Society (Singapore)] in Parliament to protect Singapore's natural reserves as potential pockets of scientific discovery.
Another passionate exponent of conservation is the director of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Associate Professor Peter Ng, who is known internationally for his fieldwork.
Within the scientific community, Prof Ng is not alone in believing that less than 10 per cent of animals living in South-east Asia are known to science. Even in urbanised Singapore, researchers are still discovering new species of fish, frogs, spiders, snakes and flies in streams in the central catchment area, swamps and forests.
But at the current rate of destruction, many of them will be extinct before science discovers them.
Prof Ng has painted a grave picture of the region's biodiversity, predicting the loss of up to 42 per cent of animal populations in South-east Asia by the end of the century. While it is impossible to turn back the clock, efforts must be made to save the flora and fauna we have left, he said.
'We can't change history, but we must try to hang on to all the protected areas we have now, as far as possible.'