Greening of wildlife bridge begins

Greening of wildlife bridge begins
NParks volunteers Triffany Yeo Zhi Xiang, 23, and Koh Tiang Lip, 20, helping to plant trees at the Eco-Link@BKE, a bridge built to allow wildlife, such as monkeys, to roam freely between the nature reserves.

SINGAPORE - The "greening" phase of Eco-Link@BKE, a bridge built to allow wildlife, such as monkeys, to move between the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Central Catchment area separated by the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE), has started.

About 80 people from nature groups, schools, non-government organisations and other agencies were on the 62m-long linkway on Saturday to help plant trees.

They were also there to get a first look of the $16 million project developed by the National Parks Board (NParks) and Land Transport Authority. Construction on Eco-Link@BKE began in 2011. Native species of trees, shrubs and plants will gradually be introduced on and around the bridge to simulate a natural habitat, NParks said.

Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee, the guest of honour at the event, said the project "represents a commitment to preserving what is precious about our biodiversity". There was a lot of potential for future collaboration between government agencies, passionate volunteers and nature groups, he added.

The bridge is located about 600m north of Rifle Range Road, between the Pan-Island Expressway and Dairy Farm exits.

Wildlife is expected to be able to move between the two nature reserves by the end of this year, said NParks in a statement. Public access will be restricted during the initial years to reduce human disturbance.

Mr Tony O'Dempsey, a council member of the Nature Society (Singapore), said he was happy with the project coming together. "Nature groups have always been uncomfortable with the separation of the two reserves.

"The eco-bridge shows initiative on the part of the Government to promote biodiversity."

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