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Reducing roadkill: New wildlife bridge for animals to cross Mandai Lake Road safely ready by December

SINGAPORE — A new animal-only bridge in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) that will help spare some of Singapore’s most prized native wildlife from becoming victims of roadkill is nearly completed.

Reducing roadkill: New wildlife bridge for animals to cross Mandai Lake Road safely ready by December

An artist's impression of the Mandai Wildlife Bridge, which allows animals to cross over Mandai Lake Road safely.

SINGAPORE — A new animal-only bridge in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) that will help spare some of Singapore’s most prized native wildlife from becoming victims of roadkill is nearly completed.

The Mandai Wildlife Bridge, which is under the purview of Mandai Park Holdings (MPH), was unveiled at a media briefing on Wednesday (Nov 6) and will be considered ready for use in December once the final vegetation is planted to encourage the animals to cross.

Sambar deers, wild boars and even pangolins will be able to travel further, and safely, by using the 140m-long bridge above Mandai Lake Road — the road visitors use to get to Singapore Zoo and other attractions in the area.

The Mandai area, where construction work to build 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 (MPD).

“(This area) is quite rich in biodiversity, but it is sort of in fragmented patches because of Mandai Lake Road,” said Ms Chua Yen Kheng, the assistant vice president of MPD, which is MPH’s development arm.

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

Dr Lee Hui Mien, MPD’s vice president for sustainable solutions, added: “For the first time in 60 years, we will have a continuous canopy (to connect both buffer areas).”

With more plants going in, Dr Lee expects the bridge to be covered by more than 31,000 plants, including 1,000 native trees from 25 species and more than 30,000 shrubs from eight species, when it is ready for use.

As part of community engagement efforts, volunteers have been helping to plant saplings across the 3,450sqm space. The bridge ranges in width from 35m to 44m.

Ms Chua explained that vegetation cover is important for forest-dependent animals to feel safe in order to cross the bridge.

The vegetation, which varies in height, will help to provide the cover they need, she said.

Other terrestrial animals that are expected to use the bridge include the mousedeer and civet cat. Six poles for colugos — a gliding mammal — to use as they glide across the bridge have also been erected.

Dr Lee stressed that once the planting stage is over, there will be minimal human activity on the bridge, aside from workers carrying out maintenance work.

Aside from foliage cover, there were other design considerations for the bridge. For instance, both ends of the bridge were made slightly wider so that animals would be funnelled towards it.

SIX CAMERAS WILL MONITOR WILDLIFE MOVEMENTS

Ms Chua said that fences are also being put up around Mandai Lake Road, which will not only help to direct animals towards the bridge, but also stop them from crossing the road. The fencing will be completed early next year when works around the road conclude.

Six wildlife monitoring cameras have also been installed around the bridge to track the movements of animals across it.

Dr Lee said this will allow MPD to monitor the usage of the wildlife bridge and make any adjustments, if necessary.

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

The first phase of works will also include a visitor arrival area and a new bird park.

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.

The bridge will not be the first animal-crossing bridge in Singapore. In 2013, the Eco-link@BKE was built across the Bukit Timah Expressway for animals to move between the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment reserves.

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wildlife Mandai Singapore Zoo conservation bridge

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