No 'observable increase' in roadkill since Mandai development works began, says developer

Channel NewsAsia 29 Mar 18;

SINGAPORE: There has been no "observable increase" in roadkill of wildlife animals since work began on the Mandai Project, said Philip Yim, senior vice-president of the Mandai Park Development, on Thursday (Mar 29).

He was responding to Channel NewsAsia's queries on the animals that have been killed by vehicles since the Mandai development works started.

Mr Yim confirmed that two incidents - involving a pangolin and a leopard cat - happened along Mandai Lake Road in September 2017 and February 2018, respectively. A sambar deer was also killed last month on Mandai Road, about 450m outside of the boundaries of the Mandai Project.

Mr Yim said that several measures have been implemented to prevent such incidents from happening since 2016, even before the development works started.

For instance, speed limits for most parts of Mandai Lake Road have been reduced to between 20 and 40kmh, while road humps and speed regulating strips have been put in place.

"In addition, there are wildlife crossing signs placed at multiple locations along the road and at car park entrances to remind drivers to slow down and pay attention to wildlife crossings," said Mr Yim.

"To raise awareness of the need for drivers to slow down for wildlife, we have also reached out to major transport companies (including taxis and private hire companies) and travel agents that operate tour buses."

He said that Mandai Park Holdings (MPH), the company that is driving the rejuvenation of the precinct, has been working with Animal Concerns Research and Education Society to rescue and rehabilitate animals that were involved in accidents as well.

It has also been consulting its environmental advisory panel, experts and stakeholders from the nature community to ensure that the project is being developed "sensitively and in careful consideration" of the neighbouring nature reserve and local wildlife in the area.

"The development is also guided by the recommendations of the Environmental Impact Assessment and we have been reviewing our monitoring data and progressively enhancing our measures in response to these learnings," said Mr Yim.

"We will continue to work with these partners to seek their inputs and identify new and innovative solutions to help reduce wildlife road incidents."

AERIAL CROSSING AIDS

Mr Yim also shared that the construction of the eco-link bridge, which will link two parts of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and provide safe passage for wildlife in Mandai, has started and is underway.

It is slated for completion in 2019.

In the meantime, he said that MPH has begun adding "aerial crossing aids on Mandai Lake Road to facilitate connectivity for tree-dwelling animals" across the road.

"All incidents of roadkill are of concern to us, and we continually review the effectiveness of our speed reduction and wildlife protection measures, to strengthen them," Mr Yim said.

"We have a dedicated team that monitors and responds to wildlife road incidents within and around the project area. The public can report wildlife incidents along the road through our wildlife response hotline at 9088 5068."

Announced in January 2017, the Mandai Project is aimed at rejuvenating the Mandai area and includes a development of a new Rainforest Park in the same area as the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari.

The parks are located in close proximity to wildlife in Mandai.

Once developed, Mandai's eco-tourism hub is expected to attract more than 10 million visitors each year, as well as generate a significant number of jobs in conservation research, tourism and hospitality.

Source: CNA/ng


Make Mandai Road vehicle-light to reduce roadkill
Straits Times Forum 29 Mar 18;

The reports on the incidents of roadkill involving the critically endangered leopard cat and Sunda pangolin, as well as the rare sambar deer are deeply troubling (Animals affected by Mandai park works: Wildlife groups; March 24).

The animal deaths took place close to where the new Rainforest Park and relocated Bird Parkare being constructed.

Any road mortality involving our native wildlife, especially an endangered species, is one too many.

Developer Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) in 2016 had stated that mitigation measures at the construction and operation phases of the new development would reduce its impact on wildlife and that it was committed to being a responsible steward of nature.

MPH should keep its word.

This large new development sits next to our fragile Central Catchment Nature Reserve, where rare native species of our flora and fauna are found.

Hence, we would like to see smaller-scale developments and more effective mitigation measures.

We applaud the traffic-calming measures implemented, and that underground culverts are being retained along Mandai Lake Road for the safe passage of ground-dwelling wildlife.

But to effectively prevent more roadkill incidents involving endangered species, Mandai Lake Road should be made vehicle-light at the very least.

At best, the bigger Mandai Road should be diverted away from the wildlife-sensitive areas of theCentral Catchment Nature Reserve and moved north.

The new road could be designed to be Singapore's first wildlife-friendly road, while the current road becomes a park or is reforested.

Vilma D'Rozario (Ms)
President
Cicada Tree Eco-Place

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