Singapore, March 3, 2015, TODAY — Pangolins, otters, civets, macaques, pythons …you’d expect to see such animals in the Singapore Zoo or Night Safari. But in your own backyard? Well, yes. At least, that’s what the new two-part documentary by Channel NewsAsia (CNA), Wild City, which is narrated by the top presenter of natural history programmes, David Attenborough, will show.
The first part, Hidden Wild, takes a peek at overlooked, tucked-away areas of the island that are now home to an astonishing variety of creatures. These areas include the coastal wetlands, abandoned buildings and offshore islands, which animals such as colugos (gliding mammals also known as flying lemurs – although they aren’t true lemurs), fiddler crabs and Singapore’s oldest predators – the crocodiles.
“The greatest challenge was finding (the animals), such as the pangolin and the colugo. The team spent a long time in the field. They took about five months to track down the pangolin. And we had someone up in the trees for days to film the white-bellied sea eagle,” said the series’ writer-director Claire Clements.
Urban Wild, the second part of the series will look at the built-up surroundings – from the city centre to the suburban areas – where various animals and plants have adopted as their home, as Singapore’s landscape rapidly changes. It uncovers several hidden gems, from troops of macaques that straddle forest and condominium-life, civets that take up residencies in roof cavities, reticulated pythons that hunt for their prey in the drains and the world’s first family of wild otters breeding right in the heart of the city in Marina Bay.
“It’s a wonderful effort to capture the ecosystem. As we urbanise we must not forget that biodiversity is important and we must continue to preserve it; this is our heritage. It would be a pity if 50 years from now we turn into a concrete jungle with no bio diversity. We need to preserve that for the next generation,” said Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, at a special screening of the documentary.
The documentary, which took more than a year to film, is produced as part of CNA’s slate of Singapore-made documentaries for the nation’s celebration of its 50th year of independence this year. CNA’s vice president of International Productions at Network Programming and Promotions, Mok Choy Lin, said: “This documentary on wildlife is a first for the channel and it is a spectacular production by some of the best in the industry; it shows a side of Singapore never seen before — even by Singaporeans.
“With Sir David Attenborough lending his weight to the series, we are honoured to present it as our contribution to the SG50 celebrations.”