Opening of wildlife parks in Mandai delayed due to Covid-19

The opening of two wildlife parks in the leafy Mandai area has been pushed back because of delays wrought by Covid-19 on the construction sector.

The Jurong Bird Park was originally slated to move to Mandai and open last year, as announced in 2016. But the attraction - renamed Bird Paradise - is now expected to open next year instead.

As for the upcoming forest-themed wildlife park, which will be known as Rainforest Wild, its opening has been pushed back a year from 2023 to 2024.

Mr Mike Barclay, chief executive of the parks' operator Mandai Wildlife Group, said yesterday: "We are struggling with the number of workers due to Covid-19 and quarantine requirements, so there is generally a tight supply of labour and equipment. But there is still labour and we are making good progress."

He was speaking to the media at the Singapore Zoo to mark the launch of the park operator's new corporate identity as Mandai Wildlife Group, from Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

As part of the corporate revamp, the River Safari - one of three existing wildlife parks in Mandai - will be renamed River Wonders. The Singapore Zoo and Night Safari will retain their names.

When the works for the two new parks are complete, the Mandai area will be home to five wildlife parks. This new "integrated destination" will be known as the Mandai Wildlife Reserve.

Mr Barclay said that with the revamp, he hopes "Mandai" will become as globally synonymous with Singapore as "Changi", so people worldwide will associate the word with the nation's wildlife scene.

"Our rebranding comes at a critical time when action is urgently needed to mitigate climate change and reverse the devastating decline in the earth's biodiversity," he said.

There are currently 15,000 animals and 1,000 species housed across the zoo, Night Safari, River Wonders and Bird Paradise. A quarter of these species are classified as threatened with extinction.

Local tours arranged by Dynasty Travel for foreign tourists with young children usually include the parks.

Its spokesman Alicia Seah said the rebranding of the Mandai nature precinct will keep the visitor experience fresh and help attract new visitors locally and abroad.