Kranji Marshes, largest freshwater marshland in Singapore, opens

Visitors to the new Kranji Marshes can climb the 10m-tall Raptor Tower for a bird's-eye view of the area. The 56.8ha marshland is home to 54 species of butterflies, 33 species of dragonflies and more than 170 species of birds - including the critical
Visitors to the new Kranji Marshes can climb the 10m-tall Raptor Tower for a bird's-eye view of the area. The 56.8ha marshland is home to 54 species of butterflies, 33 species of dragonflies and more than 170 species of birds - including the critically endangered straw-headed bulbul.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Even in built-up Singapore, there are places where nature and wildlife thrive.

The Kranji Marshes, for instance, is home to 54 species of butterflies, 33 species of dragonflies and more than 170 species of birds - including the critically endangered straw-headed bulbul.

The area was officially opened yesterday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the National Parks Board (NParks), which have been developing the area in collaboration with the Nature Society Singapore (NSS) and national water agency PUB since May 2014.

Even before then, NSS volunteers had helped to clear overgrown vegetation to build a suitable habitat for the wildlife.

Located in north-western Singapore, near the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, the 56.8ha Kranji Marshes is roughly the size of 60 football fields. It is the largest and most accessible freshwater marshland in Singapore, compared with the two other known freshwater marshlands here: the pond in Tampines Eco Green and Poyan Reservoir in the Safti Live Firing Area.

To help visitors learn more about the marsh, woodland and grass habitats in the nature area, there will be information on signboards and free guided walks by NParks and NSS.

Mr Desmond Lee, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development, was guest of honour at the opening held ahead of World Wetlands Day today.

He said: "In our dense urban landscape, nature conservation and greenery provision are key to the high-quality physical environment that we are so proud of.

"We will continue to make best use of the greenery we have, through projects like Kranji Marshes, and many others."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2016, with the headline 'Largest freshwater marshland in S'pore opens'. Print Edition | Subscribe