New Mandai Nature Fund to advance wildlife conservation efforts in Asia

Mandai Nature Fund will tackle issues such as wildlife trade and nature-based solutions for climate change.
Mandai Nature Fund will tackle issues such as wildlife trade and nature-based solutions for climate change.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - A new fund has been set up to advance efforts in conserving wildlife and mitigating climate change in Singapore and Asia.

Called the Mandai Nature Fund, it will focus on tackling overlooked issues, such as wildlife trade and nature-based solutions for climate change like restoring tropical forests, mangroves and peatlands, said Singapore investment company Temasek and Mandai Park Holdings in a statement on Wednesday (Dec 9).

Mandai Park is the parent company of park operator Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which runs the Zoo and Jurong Bird Park, among others.

The statement said that by protecting and restoring the natural landscapes, it will also help provide habitats for wildlife, especially threatened species on the brink of extinction.

The fund will receive money yearly from Mandai Park Holdings through WRS, as well as annual disbursements through an endowment from Temasek. Both declined to disclose how much they will be giving.

The statement said the fund, working closely with Temasek and Wildlife Reserves Singapore, will team up with local communities and organisations to improve their conservation efforts.

It will replace the WRS Conservation Fund and further its efforts on species conservation, while expanding its mandate to include habitat protection and community engagement across Asia.

The WRS Conservation Fund had previously supported local conservation projects for endangered animals including the Sunda pangolin, Raffles' banded langur, a type of monkey, and the Singapore freshwater crab.

Some of its regional conservation projects included conserving species such as the songbirds and hornbills, as well as the Palawan forest turtle.

The Mandai Nature Fund's chief executive is Ms Kavita Prakash-Mani, who was previously the global conservation director for World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Its board will be chaired by Mr Robin Hu, head of Temasek's sustainability and stewardship group.

President Halimah Yacob, patron of the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund, has also agreed to be patron of the new fund.

Ms Prakash-Mani noted that Asia is home to a third of the world population, with South-east Asia accounting for 15 per cent of tropical forests and 60 per cent of tropical peatlands.

"However, these ecosystems and unique wildlife that they support are at risk in Asia, with some of the highest loss rates globally."

She also said the fund will take a bottom-up approach to, among other things, enable wildlife and people to thrive and co-exist.