In the 1980s, a section of forest that connected Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Central Catchment Nature Reserve — two of Singapore’s most important natural habitats for wildlife — was cleared make way for the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE).
While the BKE shortened travelling time between Woodlands and the city centre, it also disrupted ecosystems and fragmented wildlife habitats. This lead to more roadkill and endangered local plants and animals. We had to do better, to balance wildlife conservation against our urban development.
So in 2005, the Eco-Link@BKE — an hour-glass-shaped bridge that stretches across BKE — was proposed as a way to reconnect these natural habitats, expand the foraging range of animals, and promote conservation. When completed in 2013, it was the region’s first wildlife crossing. Other bridges have been built since then, including the Mandai Wildlife Bridge in 2019.
Today, the Eco-Link@BKE is lush with native vegetation, and provides safe passage for animals between the two nature reserves. The Asiophlugis thaumasia (aka the missing marvellous katydid), once presumed extinct in Singapore, was rediscovered in recent years. NParks has also spotted rare mammals, such as the Sunda pangolin and lesser mouse-deer crossing the bridge.
In Singapore, we’re constantly grappling with the challenges of building our city and protecting our heritage. How can we make this island an #EvenBetter home for all?