Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve's extension opens to the public

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve's extension opens to the public
The mid-canopy walk at Sungei Buloh's new extension.

SINGAPORE - Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee officiated the opening of the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve's (SBWR) extension this morning, marking the completion of phase two of the reserve's masterplan.

The reserve is the largest mangrove forest in Singapore, and is home to almost half of true mangrove plant species in the world. It became Singapore's first ASEAN Heritage Park in 2003, and is recognised as a site of international importance for migratory birds.

The 31-hectare extension, with its rich mangrove and coastal forests which are home to diverse species of fauna such as crabs and mudskippers, will be able to provide new outdoor recreational and educational activities.

Six new guided walks will be conducted on Saturdays by volunteers, the National Parks Board (NParks) announced today.

At the opening, Mr Lee announced that work on phase three of the masterplan has begun and will be completed by end-2017.

The third phase includes the sensitive enhancement of two conservation areas: the western end of the reserve, where Cashin House is situated, and the Kranji Marshes.

With the intention to keep the activity in the area low, nature appreciation of coastal habitats, education and outreach will take centre stage at the 6.16ha western end of SBWR.

The freshwater Kranji marshes will be enhanced to attract more marsh birds and include shelters and trails for better visitor access.

Speaking at the opening, MOS Lee said: "In 2008, NParks launched the Sungei Buloh Masterplan to ensure that Sungei Buloh continues to be a living wetland and a tranquil sanctuary for wildlife. The Masterplan included a new extension to be built at the fringe of the existing reserve, which will help reduce the pressure on the existing reserve as more Singaporeans and tourists visit the reserve."

NParks added that there has been a 50 per cent increase in active volunteers from last year, the highest rise in its volunteerism rate since its volunteer programmes began in the 1990s.

NParks said it welcomes more people who are passionate about nature to join its volunteer programme at www.nparks.gov.sg/volunteer.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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