About Vertebrate Study Group

The Vertebrate Study Group is a relatively young special interest group of the Nature Society (Singapore). It was formed in 1993 by a few members with a shared interest in the higher animals.

Vertebrates are animals with back-bones and comprise mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. However, as birds and marine fish are covered by other special interest groups within the society, the Vertebrate Study Group primarily covers the remaining vertebrates - mammals, reptiles, amphibian and freshwater fish. Thus, this special interest group is vital in removing any bias in the study of our fauna.

The primary goal of this group lies in the research and field studies of vertebrates locally, as well as in the surrounding region. We firmly believe that in order to better understand, conserve and protect our native fauna, updated data is a prerequisite. To date, we have carried out detailed and initial field studies at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Pulau Ubin, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Besar, Sentosa, Khatib Bongsu and Sungei Mandai Mangrove as well as at Pulau Bintan, Indonesia and Panti forest Reserve, Malaysia. Study reports have been or are being prepared for all these localities.

Over the years, some 298 species of indigenous vertebrates (excluding birds and marine/brackish water fish) have been confirmed for Singapore. This includes about 78 mammals, 131 reptiles, 27 amphibians and 60 freshwater fish. Today, it is feared, that 25% of the mammals, 30% of the reptiles and the 40% of the freshwater fish are extinct. Only the amphibians have fared better with about a 4% loss. Of the remaining vertebrates found in Singapore, more than 30% are also threatened with extinction!

Many more vertebrates may go extinct in the coming years as the development of Singapore continues at a hectic pace. This is especially true for species that are dependent on habitats outside the two existing nature reserves, including our vanishing mangroves. The most important unprotected habitats for vertebrates are those on the offshore isles of Tekong Besar and Ubin. Besides the best mangrove left in Singapore, both islands support secondary woodland and other varied habitats. These support animals no longer extant elsewhere in our country, such as Wild Pigs, Leopard Cat, Oriental Small Clawed Otter and Dugong and Finless Porpoise.

In order to ensure the continued existence of the varied habitats around Singapore and in order to stem the extinction rate of their specialized fauna, we need your help and support. If you are interested in making a difference, join the society and participate in the vertebrate study group's many worthy projects. We look forward to your joining us in the field and thank you for any additional support that you offer.

Wild Animals of Singapore
The Vertebrate Study Group of Nature Society (Singapore) has launched a photographic guide to mammals, reptiles, amphibians and freshwater fishes of Singapore called ‘Wild Animals of Singapore’.

‘Wild Animals’ is the most comprehensive account of Singapore’s wild animals ever produced in one volume. Almost all terrestrial vertebrates currently occurring are described and illustrated in brilliant habitat photographs, all taken in Singapore. A total of 180 species are covered, including 38 mammals, 87 reptiles, 25 frogs and toads, and 30 freshwater fishes.

There are additional chapters on how and where to find wildlife in Singapore, as well as a revised checklist of all non-avian vertebrates ever recorded in the country, including those extinct, introduced or of indeterminate status.

With images contributed by 28 local photographers, this publication is a team effort by dedicated and experienced wildlife experts and enthusiasts.

It can be purchased from the NSS office or at major bookstores including Kinokuniya or Nature's Niche.


Year :

Apr 21, 2021
We're hiring! Research Assistant Position

NSS is looking for a dedicated staff to join our Secretariat. Click here to find out more about the role.

Nov 15, 2018
6th Citizen Science Information Session: Raffles' Banded Langur Surveys in Singapore

Learn how you can contribute to the 6th Banded Langur survey.

Feb 12, 2018
Bat Sonograms

Bat sonograms are now online for your reference.