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Bird park, new rainforest to be added to Mandai wildlife attractions

SINGAPORE — The lush greenery of the Mandai area is set to be transformed with two new wildlife parks — a rainforest-themed adventure park and a new bird park transplanted from Jurong — to add to the trio of wildlife attractions already in the area.

An artist’s impression of the Rainforest Park, which will allow visitors to move around on forest-floor pathways and treetop canopies. Photo: Mandai Safari Park

An artist’s impression of the Rainforest Park, which will allow visitors to move around on forest-floor pathways and treetop canopies. Photo: Mandai Safari Park

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SINGAPORE — The lush greenery of the Mandai area is set to be transformed with two new wildlife parks — a rainforest-themed adventure park and a new bird park transplanted from Jurong — to add to the trio of wildlife attractions already in the area. 

By 2023, the Mandai precinct will be home to a nature-themed education centre and eco-sensitive lodging for vacationers, part of the planned 126ha mega-nature attraction.

Mandai Safari Park Holdings (MSPH) revealed these plans on Wednesday (June 1), although they will still be subject to regulatory approval, while an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is under way.  

To be sited outside the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, the 17ha Bird Park will house one of the world’s largest collection of birds. Visitors will be able to observe free-flying birds in nine different walk-in aviaries modelled after various habitats, such as the wetlands, bamboo forests and rainforests. The current 20ha Jurong Bird Park has only three walk-in aviaries. 

Certain iconic features of the Jurong Bird Park will also be “reimagined” for the new park. These include a new waterfall and a custom-designed amphitheatre for bird performances. 

A breeding and research facility will also be built within the new park to breed critically-endangered species from around the world in captivity, particularly South-east Asian species such as the Bali Mynah and the Black-winged Starling. 

The new bird park is expected to be ready within the first phase of Mandai’s makeover in 2020. 

Temasek Holdings was earlier named as Singapore Tourism Board’s partner in this project, and the first phase estimated to cost some S$1 billion. 

The relocation of the 45-year-old Jurong Bird Park was first mooted as a possibility by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during a live television forum in September 2014 when the Government was seeking the advice of nature groups on refining its plans for Mandai. 

Meanwhile, visitors can expect to set out on a “multi-layered adventure” in the new 12.5-ha Rainforest Park on forest floor pathways to the tree-top canopies. 

Located along Mandai Lake Road — facing the new Bird Park — it will also feature walking trails while the MSPH is also toying with the idea of placing resting pods mounted in the trees. 

With ongoing reforestation works expected to take place in this area, the Rainforest Park will only be fully open in 2023. 

At the press conference on Wednesday, MSPH said that stringent environmental protection measures will be put in place to minimise any potential impact on the flora and fauna in the area. 

An eco-bridge also be built across the Mandai Lake Road to allow wildlife to move between the central and northern reaches of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, similar to the one built to connect two nature reserves over the Bukit Timah Expressway. 

The plans to redevelop Mandai had previously sparked concern among nature advocacy groups here due to the area’s proximity to the swathes of forest in the nature reserve. An EIA is being conducted by Temasek with the National University of Singapore and Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, under the guidance of the National Parks Board. 

On Wednesday, MSPH group chief executive officer Mike Barclay declined to reveal findings from the EIA due to ongoing consultations. The report is expected to be ready w    ithin the next few weeks, and will be put up for public consultation. 

“The engagements that I mentioned it has already shaped some of our decision-making. I would say that the big blocks we’ve all agreed on and we’re now into the smaller detailing,” said Mr Barclay.

Tapping the popularity of the overnight camps already available at the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari, MSPH also plans to have more permanent accommodation such as tents, rustic cottages and family rooms. 

Visitors will also have access to some of the public green spaces within the Mandai nature precinct. These areas will be designed to include seating areas, nature trails, boardwalks, playgrounds as well as dining outlets.

Asked if the five parks would mean a saturation of attractions, Mr Barclay disagreed, saying the parks are “well-differentiated”. Prices will also be positioned to encourage people to visit multiple parks, he said, adding that their multi-park pricing introduced this year have already seen an encouraging response.  

Addressing concerns that the Mandai area is relatively inaccessible, MSPH also plans to introduce shuttle bus services between the upcoming Springleaf MRT on the Thomson-East Coast Line to Mandai, among other transport options being considered. All the attractions will also be connected with shuttle buses and trams.

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Jurong Bird Park Mandai resort

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