SINGAPORE: Come 2019, local wildlife in the Mandai precinct can travel between two sections of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve using a dedicated bridge, Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) announced on Wednesday (Jul 26).
Construction of the Eco-Link, which will span the width of Mandai Lake Road, started in June. It forms part of efforts to allow habitat connectivity as the area transforms into a mega-nature attraction. Mandai Park's rejuvenation project will see the relocation of Jurong Bird Park and the development of a new Rainforest Park in the same area as the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari.
The wildlife crossing will be located within a 50-metre forested strip set aside as buffer and will measure 44m wide and 110m long. While the Eco-Link is being constructed, artificial crossing aids will be put up along Mandai Lake Road to help arboreal and gliding animals such as colugos and squirrels move across more easily, MPH said.
It added that curated tree and shrub species will be planted to attract and cater to the needs of different species. Fencing around the precinct will also guide animals to the bridge and act as a barrier to the road. Animals expected to use the bridge include colugos, squirrels, pangolins, lesser mousedeer and lizards.
Said Mike Barclay, CEO of MPH: “Our existing wildlife parks at Mandai are already sanctuaries for local wildlife in the area, as indicated in our regular biodiversity surveys conducted in the parks. It is our vision for the future precinct to continue providing conducive habitat corridors for local wildlife to find shelter in our parks and to connect with the adjacent nature reserve.”
OTHER CONSERVATION EFFORTS
Development work for the Mandai project started in February this year and an “extensive range” of measures are being taken alongside it to ensure the process is sensitive to the surroundings, said the developer.
An example is the effort being made to preserve trees of conservation value. Arborists will survey and tag trees based on their species, health, size and conservation status. Selected trees could be incorporated into the park design where possible or transplanted to other parts of the development. Trees to be retained will have a protection zone erected around it during the construction period to minimise any damage.
Other measures include shepherding wildlife to safe areas before work starts at each part of the site, inspecting trees for active bird nests, tree hollows or burrows before any transplanting or removal is done, and conducting biodiversity awareness training to workers at the sites.
“Our priority is to ensure that the project is developed sensitively and in careful considering of the neighbouring nature reserve and local wildlife in the area … We take this role very seriously and will continually refine and enhance our measures as the project progresses,” said MPH senior vice-president Philip Yim.