Friday, March 1, 2024

Mandai Wildlife Reserve to add Bird Paradise to its animal attractions reserve

Set to open in the second quarter of 2023, the 17-hectare (290-acre) Bird Paradise will be the first of the new wildlife parks located at Mandai Wildlife Reserve to open to the public. Managed by the Mandai Wildlife Group, Singapore’s new bird park — Bird Paradise — will transport visitors into a colorful world that will be the home to 3,500 birds from over 400 avian species. Designed to encourage discovery at every turn, Bird Paradise will welcome visitors into immersive and naturalistic mixed-species habitats, where they will explore eight large walk-through aviaries which reflect different biomes of the world such as dense African rainforests, South American wetlands, Southeast Asian paddy fields, Australian dry eucalypt forests and more.

Mike Barclay, Group CEO of Mandai Wildlife Group said, “When the Mandai Rejuvenation Project was envisioned, we wanted Bird Paradise to exemplify our commitment to operating open, immersive wildlife parks that place animal welfare at the center 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. The support facilities are also of the highest standard, including a state-of-the-art avian hospital and an extensive breeding facility. As an organization dedicated to protecting wildlife, I am confident that Bird Paradise will provide us with the perfect platform to further our education programs, capacity-building initiatives and our important work to protect threatened bird species across the region.”

Artist’s illustration of Australian Outback habitat. Image courtesy of Mandai Wildlife Group.
A fascinating exploration through immersive habitats

A key highlight is the Heart of Africa where visitors will find themselves in the forested valleys of continental Africa. Featuring an elevated canopy experience, visitors will be led into a dense misty forest with meandering forest streams, where they can observe birds displaying their natural behaviors. A recreation of the tranquil bamboo forests and sloping rice terraces of Southeast Asia can be found at Wings of Asia. The landscaping serves more than just an aesthetic function, with the labyrinth of bamboo providing a major food source for the animals living in the habitat. The terraces also create a unique ecosystem for birds like the critically endangered Baer’s Pochard and endangered Milky Stork.

Over at the Penguin Cove, an indoor habitat will eventually be home to penguins such as the Gentoo Penguin, King Penguin, Humboldt Penguin and Northern Rockhopper Penguin. It will offer guests a fascinating look into the oceanic life of these birds.

Guided by the knowledge and experience accumulated from operating the 51-year-old Jurong Bird Park, the new Bird Paradise will continue to preserve the incumbent bird park’s heritage and legacy and pay tribute to Singapore’s pioneer wildlife park by retaining iconic features such as the heliconia collection.

Artist’s illustration of Penguin Cove. Image courtesy of Mandai Wildlife Group.
Integrating conservation education into visitor experiences

Some of the park’s most threatened species will be housed in Winged Sanctuary, a zone specially dedicated to birds of high conservation value including Critically Endangered species like the Philippine Eagle, Vietnam Pheasant and the Negros Bleeding-heart pigeon.

Throughout the park, education programs and features such as tactile and digital interactives, bird interactions and feeding sessions will allow visitors to engage in hands-on and interactive encounters with the birds. Going beyond play, these elements also create awareness among visitors and evoke deeper reflection on the real-life threats faced by the animals in the wild, many of which are at risk of extinction should action not be taken to conserve their habitats.

Every area of the park is designed to ignite the call-to-action for visitors to do their part for conservation. Transitional zones in between habitats double up as educational spaces where visitors can learn more about avian features and behavioral patterns. Fun and interactive elements will deepen visitors’ appreciation of the avian world, alongside sensorial exploratives like human-sized nests, and opportunities to recreate the dawn choruses of Southeast Asian songbirds.

Visitors can embark on meaningful behind-the-scenes tours to Bird Paradise’s fully-equipped Avian Health and Research Centre, Avian Nutrition Centre as well as a Breeding and Research Centre. Through these tours, they will learn about breeding programs as well as how to establish assurance colonies that hedge species in the wild against extinction.  They will be exposed to conservation research projects that help to sustain and protect species populations in the wild. A 2,000-seat amphitheater is also set to enchant with free-flying demonstrations and refreshed presentations.

Visitors can also look forward to designated family fun areas at Treetop Play and Egg Splash for dry and wet play, respectively. Treetop Play is inspired by the movement of birds within the tree canopies, while Egg Splash takes inspiration from eggs of waterbirds to create a fun, playful waterscape for children.

Jurong Bird Park is currently on its last flight, A Flight To Remember. Following Jurong Bird Park’s official last day of operations on January 3, 2023, the process of moving the avian residents to Bird Paradise will begin.

With Singapore’s new bird park set to open next year, development work for the rest of the precinct is also well underway. The remaining features are set to open progressively through to 2025.

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