Vital to complete Mandai eco-link bridge soon

Artist's impression of the Mandai Eco-Link.
Artist's impression of the Mandai Eco-Link. PHOTO: MANDAI PARK HOLDINGS

Developer Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) has said that "only two incidents in Mandai Lake Road involved species of conservation significance" flies in the face of its promise to develop sustainably (Animals affected by Mandai park works: Wildlife groups; March 24).

The Mandai forests are being turned into a large safari which will house two new wildlife parks in addition to the existing three, with the development being packaged as a rejuvenation of the habitat and a nature precinct for our existing native wildlife.

Two road deaths may seem like no big deal, but not when we consider that our island now has one less leopard cat in a population of at most 20.

The other road incident involved the critically endangered Sunda pangolin.

While road accidents cannot be avoided, they can be mitigated.

While it is noteworthy that MPH is committed to implementing an eco-link bridge and other measures to facilitate wildlife movements, why were these measures not in place before work began in February last year?

While there is no official data on roadkill incidents in Mandai Lake Road, MPH stated that "there has not been any notable change in trend in terms of the overall diversity of wildlife species involved in road mortalities".

But, unless the road is being monitored constantly, how can one be certain of this?

I strongly urge MPH to take the native biodiversity in the Mandai forests seriously and consider its protection a priority by implementing the eco-crossing as soon as possible and monitoring the wildlife roadkill incidents in the roads adjacent to the development site.

Janelle Phua Niam Sin (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2018, with the headline 'Vital to complete Mandai eco-link bridge soon'. Print Edition | Subscribe