Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
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The Bukit Timah Reserve, Upper Bukit Timah Road, 1019 ha, is part of a limited area of primary rainforest left on Singapore island. The Reserve is part of Singapore's highest hill, the Bukit Timah Hill, which stands 162.5 m above sea-level and is composed of ancient granite. The 81 ha reserve is 12 km from the city centre.
In 1883, Bukit Timah was one of several forest reserves set aside by Nathaniel Cantley, Superintendent of the Botanic Gardens. It was the only forest reserve not worked for timber in the then-British Colony of Singapore. By 1937, Bukit Timah was one of only three designated reserve areas, the others being the Central Catchment Area and Labrador Park. In 1939, it was gazetted as a forest reserve.
Tigers were a menace in the Bukit Timah Reserve in the 1820s. Records show that the hill was not visited by any European or many locals in 1825. In June 1827, John Prince, Singapore's Resident Councillor, set foot on the hill. He ventured across gambier plantations and met impoverished Chinese farmers. It was soon discovered that there were many such Chinese farmers who inhabited the outskirts of the jungle around the hill, living in squatters under terrible conditions with crime rampant. To deal with the danger posed by the man-eaters, the farmers dug pits 6m deep and stuck a stake in the earth. This practice was banned after an ill-fated tourist fell into the pit and suffered a tragic death.
Plans were made to construct a hill-resort but not executed till 1856. A government bungalow was built, open to the public although government officials on rural duty were awarded priority to reside there. It was finally advertised to tourists in 1892 as a fully furnished (without bedlinen) accommodation. It was rented at a charge of $2 a day. The bungalow was located where the present telecommunications relay tower stands.
The last tiger was shot in Bukit Timah Hill in 1924. The last one was spotted in the area in the 1940s. The banded leaf monkey (Presbytis femoralis femoralis) was an exclusive species in Singapore in the 1960s. The last one of the species vanished in 1987 after being mauled to death by dogs.
Choo-Toh, G. T., et. al. (1985). A guide to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Singapore: Singapore Science Centre.
(Call no.: RSING 333.78095957 GUI)
National Parks Singapore. (n.d.). Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Retrieved November 7, 2002, from www.nparks.gov.sg/nparks_cms/display_park.asp?parkid=8
A view from the summit: The story of Bukit Timah nature reserve. (1996). Singapore: Nanyang Technological University & National University of Singapore.
(Call no.: RSING 333.78095957 VIE)
Greening a corner of Singapore: A pilot study of reforestation techniques in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. (1997). Singapore: Singapore Environment Council.
(Call no.: RSING 333.78095957 GRE)
Wee, Y. C. (1992). A guide to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Singapore: Nature Society.
(Call no.: RSING 333.78095957WEE)
Bukit Timah nature reserve [Videotape]. (1981). Singapore: Singapore Broadcasting Corporation.
(Call no.: RSING 333.78095957 BUK)
Nature in Singapore [Videotape]. (1990). Singapore: Singapore Broadcasting Corporation.
(Call no.: RSING 508.5957 NAT)
Wan, M. H. (2009). Heritage places of Singapore (pp. 205-206). Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 WAN)
The information in this article is valid as at 2002 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
Nature>>Nature Conservation>>Nature Reserves
National parks and reserves--Singapore--Bukit Timah
Science and technology>>Agriculture>>Hunting and fishing