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Bridge for animals to cross Mandai Lake Road opens; plans afoot to restore part of forest

SINGAPORE — An animal-only bridge that allows wildlife to safely cross above a busy road near the Singapore Zoo was launched on Friday (Dec 6) along with plans to revegetate a 9ha slice of degraded habitat, which is about the size of nine football fields.

Bridge for animals to cross Mandai Lake Road opens; plans afoot to restore part of forest

A 140m-long bridge covered in vegetation designed to allow animals to cross safely above Mandai Lake Road was opened on Friday (Dec 6).

SINGAPORE — An animal-only bridge that allows wildlife to safely cross above a busy road near the Singapore Zoo was launched on Friday (Dec 6) along with plans to revegetate a 9ha slice of degraded habitat, which is about the size of nine football fields.

The 140m-long bridge, which is covered in vegetation, reconnects two forest patches in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) that were cut off from one another when Mandai Lake Road was built 60 years ago. One aim is to reduce the risk of animal roadkill.

Speaking at the official launch ceremony of the Mandai Wildlife Bridge on Friday, Mandai Park Holdings’ (MPH) group chief executive officer Mike Barclay said that the bridge is just the first step towards rejuvenating the Mandai area into an integrated nature and wildlife precinct.

In a media statement, MPH – which oversees the operations of Singapore Zoo and various other existing and upcoming wildlife attractions – said the Mandai precinct habitats will be further restored to protect biodiversity through its Mandai Ecological Reforestation Plan.

The plan sets out a 10-year roadmap for restoring protected areas adjacent to the CCNR.

“These areas include 19 per cent of the allocated development land and are designated spaces where no construction or extensive human activity are permitted,” said MPH. “Outcomes of the regeneration efforts will include the creation of a variety of microhabitats, as well as achieving functional connectivity for animals.”

MPH estimates that the 9ha of degraded forest will be restored by 2030.

ANIMAL BRIDGE COMPLETED AHEAD OF OTHER WORK IN MANDAI AREA

Highlighting the importance of these reforestation efforts, MPH said it will assist in the regeneration of previously degraded habitat within the protected areas.

It also detailed some of the work that will be involved, which includes removing and replacing invasive plant species with native species, and propagating plants from seeds collected within the Mandai precinct.

Aside from common species of plants, the project will also include species of conservation value as well as pioneer species that are suitable for restoring sites that are severely degraded.

“Monitoring will be carried out to evaluate the progression of the site recovery,” said MPH. “These methods can be adjusted where necessary to take into consideration key learnings from the implementation.”

It added that a plan to enhance vegetated areas within the existing zoological parks will also be deployed in future.

Work on the bridge began in June 2017 as part of the first phase of development for a new nature attraction in Mandai.

When the whole development is ready in 2023, it will house five parks: The Rainforest Park, the Bird Park — which will be relocated from Jurong — and the existing Singapore Zoo, the Night Safari and River Safari. A new eco-resort, allowing visitors to stay close to nature, is also part of the overall project.

Mr Barclay said the animal-only bridge was “intentionally planned to be opened” well ahead of the other projects.

“Native animals have always moved between the nature reserve forests to the north and south of Mandai Lake Road,” said Mr Barclay. “The bridge is therefore a key milestone for the precinct, as it stitches together the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and provides a safe passage for our local wildlife.”

The bridge will help “re-connect” the buffer areas leading to the CCNR on both sides of the road.

The bridge, which was first unveiled to the media on Nov 6, will allow animals such as sambar deers, wild boars and even pangolins to travel further, and safely, by using the bridge above Mandai Lake Road — the road visitors use to get to the Singapore Zoo and other attractions in the area.

The Mandai area, where construction work to build the new attractions is ongoing, has seen a number of roadkill incidents. Last year, a critically-endangered Sunda pangolin, leopard cat and sambar deer died in road accidents, which led to nature enthusiasts calling for more preventive measures to be undertaken by project developer Mandai Park Development.

The completed bridge was officially launched on Friday by Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, who is also Second Minister for National Development, MPH chairman S Dhanabalan, Mr Barclay and Mr Lim Peng Hong, a member of Mandai’s environmental advisory panel.

Related topics

Singapore Zoo conservation wildlife bridge Mandai

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