SINGAPORE - Bird Paradise in Mandai Wildlife Reserve is set to open in the second quarter of 2023, following the closure of Jurong Bird Park on Jan 3.
Mandai Wildlife Group said in a media release on Monday that the new park will have eight walk-in aviaries – up from four in the current bird park.
Bird Paradise will feature a variety of "immersive and naturalistic mixed-species habitats" that reflect different ecologies from around the world, said the group.
It added that the new park is designed to showcase the natural behaviour of birds.
At about 17ha, or the size of about 24 football fields, the new Bird Paradise will be smaller than the 20.2ha Jurong Bird Park, but bird keepers at the park had previously said that the facilities housing birds would be bigger in the new park.
The new park will feature about 3,500 birds from more than 400 species – similar to the current mix at Jurong Bird Park – of which 24 per cent are threatened species.
More than 20 species of hornbills will be on display, making the collection the "world's largest living genetic reserve of hornbills under human care", the group added.
Highlights of the new park include Heart of Africa, the largest walk-in aviary in the park, which will showcase colourful birds of the forested valleys of continental Africa. There will be a canopy walk in a misty forest with meandering streams.
Crimson Wetlands will feature scarlet ibises and roseate spoonbills gliding over marshy wetlands set against the backdrop of a floating village in South America. Visitors can watch colourful macaws feeding here. A waterfall will be built here as a tribute to Jurong Bird Park’s iconic Waterfall Aviary.
Visitors to Bird Paradise will find critically endangered birds of high conservation value at the Winged Sanctuary. These include the Philippine eagle, Vietnam pheasant and Negros bleeding-heart pigeon.
Mandai Wildlife Group’s chief executive Mike Barclay said the new park will exemplify the group’s commitment to operating open and immersive wildlife parks that “place animal welfare at the centre of what we do”.
“We have designed Bird Paradise to offer guests an array of carefully themed and choreographed walk-through aviaries that will bring visitors even closer to some of the most stunning bird species in the world,” he said.
Those who miss the old park can look forward to familiar features such as Lory Loft – featuring colourful lories and parrots amid lush forest canopies – and Penguin Cove, which will house the park's various penguin species.
The group said the new park will offer visitors behind-the-scenes tours of its Avian Health and Research Centre, Avian Nutrition Centre and Breeding and Research Centre, where they can learn about breeding programmes and the park's conservation research efforts.
Mrs Esther Foong, a mother of two, said such tours will help her children, aged nine and 11, develop empathy towards not just birds, but also the people involved in their care and conservation work.
The family life educator, 37, added that she welcomes having more immersive walk-in aviaries, where her children are likely to “walk quietly and contain their excited squeals when they get close to the birds”, as they did in the aviaries at Jurong Bird Park.
The group said that the new park will have a strong focus on getting visitors involved in conservation. The transitional zones between habitats will be used as educational spaces with information on birds and their behavioural patterns.
A 2,000-seater amphitheatre will offer presentations, including flying demonstrations.
Young children can look forward to Treetop Play, a dry play area inspired by the movement of birds in tree canopies, and Egg Splash, a wet play area that references the eggs of water birds.
Mandai Wildlife Group said Bird Paradise’s entry fees, as well as details on how to book tours in the new park, will be announced at a later date.
The great ‘migration’
Between the Jurong Bird Park’s closure and Bird Paradise’s opening, a great "migration" of some 3,500 birds will take place.
Mandai Wildlife Group said on Monday that preparations for the move began more than three years ago when the park’s avian team worked on the acquisition of new birds.
The group added that in the past two years, bird species to be housed together at the new park were brought together in Jurong.
Conditioning enclosures were placed in aviaries to allow the birds to get used to them.
The birds will be transported to Mandai in these enclosures.
Mr Christopher Khoo, managing director of hospitality consultancy MasterConsult Services, said: “I have no doubt that the eight walk-in aviaries will set new standards for aviary experiences in the world.”
He added that with the bird park moving to Mandai, the full range of wildlife and natural attractions there, which include the Singapore Zoo and River Wonders, will help to build global recognition for Mandai.
The remaining new features of Mandai Wildlife Reserve, such as Rainforest Wild and a new resort operated by Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, are set to open by 2025.