07 July 2007 2312 hrs
SINGAPORE: National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said 35 new plant and animal species have been recorded in Singapore in an ongoing two-year survey by National Parks and its volunteers.
Seven other species, thought to be extinct, have also been rediscovered.
And now, nature lovers can go on DIY tours of the Chek Jawa Wetlands on Pulau Ubin after new facilities were launched by Mr Mah on Saturday morning.
These facilities include a visitor centre with a viewing jetty, a boardwalk and a viewing tower.
Altogether, S$7 million have been invested by the government to protect the fragile eco-systems at Chek Jawa.
Environmentally friendly features have also been integrated into the designs, such as energy-efficient lights, motion sensor lights and solar-powered battery cells.
Reclamation plans on Chek Jawa were put on hold in 2001, following appeals by nature lovers.
Since then, more than 20,000 people have visited it.
Significant care was taken to ensure construction work on the new facilities did not affect the wildlife there.
Mr Mah said: "During the conversion of the former British cottage into the visitor centre, extra care was taken to protect a family of rare Malayan False Vampire Bats that had made the old watch tower its home for many years.
"To protect these bats, the old watch tower was left untouched and a new one was constructed. A family of Pouched Tomb Bats was also found roosting in the chimney of the cottage. Work near the chimney was carried out with extra care. I understand that both species of bats are still around."