This event was a highly anticipated one because of the amazing sights we saw when we were “Kayaking Through the Mandai Mangroves” in December 2013. Unfortunately due to last minute unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to make this trip personally. Thanks to Stephen (Travelled Paths crew) and Leong Kwok Peng of Nature Society Singapore (NSS), we were able to put together this video to provide viewers a visual experience of this 25 July 2014 trip. Below is a writeup and introduction to the Sungei Khatib Bongsu provided by NSS.
Sg. Khatib Bongsu (Mangrove & Secondary Forest)
It is marked as a Reserve area in the updated URA Master Plan. Nature Society had submitted a conservation proposal for the whole area to URA in 1993 (NSS, 1993).
The area is bordered by Sg. Khatib Bongsu, Sg. Seletar Estuary, the JohoreStraits and Yishun Avenue 6. The portion near Yishun Ave 6 has been cleared for HDB development. A road called Admiralty Road East is under construction running east-west between this planned HDB housing estate and the boundary of the MINDEF area. A large part of the mangrove along Sg Khatib Bongsu and round the coast eastwards to the Sg Seletar is still intact together with the wooded area within the MINDEF zone.
The general area is also highly scenic and beautiful with a great potential for fishing along the coast, hiking, mountain-biking, etc. A reservoir is planned for the coast here covering the Sg Seletar Estuary, Sg Khatib Bongsu & Sg Simpang. This should not be implemented or if implemented to be restricted to the Sg Seletar Estuary.
The Simpang Development Guide Plan (1993), which also covers this Khatib Bongsu area, has designated a portion of the area centred around the mangrove to be incorporated into the housing plan for the area. This had been confirmed by Mr Lim Hng Kiang (the Minister of MND) in Parliament in 1994: “We have acceded to their request in priorities and we have conserved Sungei Buloh Bird Sanctuary and Khatib Bongsu.” (Singapore Parliament Reports (Hansard) 17th March, 1994).
Present here is the endangered mangrove tree species, Lumnitzera racemosa, listed in RDB. Growing plentifully by the edge and on the mangrove is the Hoya diversifolia. On the whole the mangrove here is extensive and healthy, with thicker stretches along Sg Khatib Bongsu and the estuary of Sg Seletar.
A total of 185 species of birds, resident and migratory, have been recorded at the Khatib Bongsu area. This comes to 49 % of the total number of bird species in Singapore (376, Pocket Checklist 2011, unpublished ) – almost comparable to that at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. 13 bird species found here are listed in the RDB and among these are: Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Straw-headed Bulbul, Ruddy Kingfisher, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle, White-chested Babbler, etc. The Grey-headed Fish Eagle and the Changeable Hawk eagle are nesting in the Albizia woodlands in this area.
The mangrove dependent species present are : Crab-eating Frog, Dog-faced Water Snake & Malaysian Wood Rat. The Malaysian Wood Rat is regarded is locally uncommon. In 2000, Banded Krait (RDB species) was found here near the edge mangrove. Otters, probably the Smooth Otter, have sighted by fishermen and birdwatchers in the abandoned fish ponds and the Khatib Bongsu river.
Check out the amazing pictures taken by Jerome Lim of The Long and Winding Road in his Facebook album here
Also don’t forget to view
Kayaking through the Mandai Mangroves with Nature Society Singapore (Video)