Mandai to host 5 parks in one location by 2020

Mandai to host 5 parks in one location by 2020
The elevated walking trail in the new Rainforest Park.
PHOTO: Mandai Safari Park Holdings

Mandai will be home to the new Bird Park and the brand new Rainforest Park from the year 2020.

At a press conference held earlier today (June 1) at the Singapore Zoological Gardens, Mandai Safari Park Holdings (MSPH) revealed that the two parks will be part of the 126ha integrated nature wildlife park which also houses the Singapore Zoological Gardens, Night Safari and River Safari.

This comes after MSPH, Temasek Holdings and Singapore Tourism Board announced a partnership to revamp the zoo in January last year.

The inclusion of the new Bird Park at Mandai, which will be situated at where the now defunct Mandai Orchid Gardens used to be, will be home to the species of birds at the present Jurong Bird Park.

This means that Jurong Bird Park will be closed down when the species of birds are fully brought over to the new 17ha park, although the exact date of the closure has not been confirmed. Its name has yet to be finalised.

The new Bird Park will centre around nine large walk-in aviaries and each aviary will feature a different habitat and birds associated with that habitat. Visitors can expect to see tropical birds flying freely.

A walk-in trail will be designed around water courses and visitors will have a close view of some red birds like the Carribean flamingoes and Roseate spoonbill.

According to Mr Mike Barclay, Chief Executive Officer of MSPH, the new Bird Park will "amplify parts of Jurong Bird Park which are enjoyed by the public".

New Rainforest Park

For the new Rainforest Park installation, visitors can enjoy a "mulit-layered" experience. There will be elevated walking trails to allow for different perspectives when viewing the flora and fauna.

According to Ms Neo Gim Huay, Managing Director of Enterprise Development Group of Temasek Holdings, public utilities will mostly be kept underground as hard structures could be an "eyesore" in the nature park. The carpark will be kept "submerged" as the area is meant for visitors to view greenery and not be interrupted by infrastructure.

Resting pods will be available for visitors to the Rainforest Park.

A rehabilitation centre will also be set up where agencies and the public can bring in injured or abandoned wildlife for the veterinarian team to treat and if appropriate, release back into the wild.

Eco-accommodation and new bird species

The area for development of the two new parks is situated outside of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. It occupies about 35ha and used to house settlements and farmers in the past.

There will be an eco-bridge for wildlife to move freely and help prevent roadkill.

There will be eco-accommodation options too. After requests from the public about lodging, WRS said that it is considering this option for tourists in the future.

A representative from WRS said that the Rainforest Park will have new species of birds which are undecided as of now.

There will be two phases to the development of the new parks, which will be separate and gated. 

Construction of the new Bird Park will fall in the first phase which costs $1 billion, while the second phase is still subject to government approval and a budget has not been set aside as yet, according to Mr Barclay. Construction is expected to take place at the end of this year.

Accessibility to the area, however, seems limited for now. Mr Barclay said that public transport is currently "a bit patchy" but when the Thomson-East Coast line is ready from 2019, WRS will introduce shuttle buses from Springleaf MRT station and direct bus services from key regions that are not well-connected to Mandai.

In this new development project, there will also be public spaces that are not gated or ticketed, and seating places will be incorporated for a view of the reservoir. There will be a playground for children, nature trails and boardwalks along the edge of the reservoir.

According to Ms Neo, there might also be a potential introduction of a heritage trail in Mandai documenting the place's historic and memorable moments.

Mr Barclay said: "We're really excited by the idea of having five wildlife parks at one location where guests can hop between all these different parks.

"Visitors have asked for more novel, engaging and immersive experiences and we hope the new Mandai nature precinct will provide all that and more," the 49-year-old added.

stephluo@sph.com.sg

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