The Eco-Link@BKE is an ecological bridge that spans the Bukit Timah Expressway, connecting Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
It was completed in October 2013 and was the first of its kind in Southeast Asia.
Aerial photo of Eco-Link@BKE in 2023 (Photo credit: NParks)
Purpose of Eco-Link@BKE
The Eco-Link@BKE reconnects the forests of the two Nature Reserves that were separated after the construction of the BKE in 1986. Its main purpose is to re-establish the ecological connection between two nature reserves, allowing wildlife to expand their habitat, genetic pool and survival chances. In the longer term, the bridge helps to restore the ecological balance in the two nature reserves.
Effectiveness of Eco-Link@BKE
As of 2021, around 100 species of fauna have been recorded on Eco-Link@BKE. This reflects the effectiveness of the Eco-Link@BKE and provides insights for NParks’ ongoing efforts to strengthen ecological connectivity between our green spaces.
A total of 31 species of fauna were recorded on the bridge for the first time between 2018 and 2021, comprising 14 butterfly species, 13 bird species, three mammal species, and one reptile species.
Another notable finding is the increased use of Eco-Link@BKE by the native Lesser Mousedeer (Tragulus kanchil) over the years. The number of times the Lesser Mousedeer has been captured on camera traps at Eco-Link@BKE has increased over the years, and it was captured on camera traps for the first time at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in 2021. As the Lesser Mousedeer used to be found only in Central Catchment Nature Reserve, the confirmation of its presence in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve after the construction of Eco-Link@BKE shows that it is likely that the bridge has facilitated movement of this shy hoofed mammal.
Lesser Mousedeer captured on a camera trap at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (Photo credit: NParks)
Greenery on the Eco-Link@BKE
To simulate a natural environment, all trees and shrubs planted around and on the Eco-Link@BKE are native species. More than 3,000 native plants were used to lay the foundations of the connection between the two nature reserves.
These species were chosen as native plants can tolerate extreme conditions on the bridge while providing food and shelter for biodiversity and include species such as Petai (Parkia speciosa), Sandy-leafed Fig (Ficus heteropleura), Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum), Campanula Orchid (Daniella ensifolia) and Cane Reed (Cheilocostus speciosus).
Get to know Eco-link@BKE
To ensure the continued effectiveness of the Eco-Link@BKE as an ecological connection between the two nature reserves, it is not open for public access. This is to limit human impact and minimise disturbances to the wildlife that are using the passage to cross over from Bukit Timah Nature Reserve to Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Interested to discover more about Eco-Link@BKE? Check out this video.