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Wandering deer on Lornie Road highlights impact on wildlife by construction of highway

A deer was apparently seen wandering about in the middle of traffic late Sunday (25 Nov) night around 11pm on Lornie Road. A member of the public known only as Natalie shared a video with Stomp showing a confused deer slowly turning in circles on Lornie Road. A literal deer caught in the headlights.

Natalie shared with Stomp that she pulled over to alert Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) about the dear. Apparently, Acres had already been informed about the poor creature and had already deployed a team to handle the situation.

"It's quite a rare sighting in Singapore," said the Natalie. “We were just concerned that it was just wandering on the road. Luckily, it wasn't so busy at the time otherwise I imagine it could have gotten hurt or become roadkill. We wanted to make sure we helped by contacted the relevant authorities."

The SOS Bukit Brown Facebook page shared the story on their profile and commented that “this is an example of why the highway is bad for wildlife, even with the so-called eco-bridge”.

The comment is referring to the building of the Lornie Highway across Bukit Brown. The new highway was announced in 2011 as a means to alleviate the congestion along Lornie Road and the Pan-Island Expressway during peak hours. Taking into account the many wildlife in the area, the LTA announced that a section of the road was specially designed to create an eco-linkage underpass to allow wildlife to continue traversing between both sides of the road.

In their press release back in 2012, the LTA said, “Given the undulating topography of the area, which has several hillocks, a section of the road has been designed as a vehicular bridge over the existing creeks. Under the bridge, eco-linkage can be maintained and wildlife in the area can continue to traverse between both sides of the road. The bridge section between the hill-locks and across the existing streams will minimise the impact on the hydrology of the area.”

The image below shows the location of the bridge.

(Image by Land Transport Authority)

So, clearly the LTA knew that they would have to make provisions for the wildlife in the area to minimise the risk of animals wandering onto the road and ending up as roadkill. The idea of the eco-link is a good one and is probably quite effective. However, there’s clearly some room for improvement.

The deer ended up on Lornie Road, not the highway. So how did it get there? Well, animals don’t read signs and they don’t understand that the road is for metal machines travelling over 40km/h, which poses a fatal threat to them. And as much as the eco-link might have worked in keeping the deer off the highway, it didn't do much to keep the deer off Lornie Road.

At some point along the road, there must be an area that’s not cordoned off well enough to keep unsuspecting animals out. The deer was lucky to have wandered onto Lornie Road at night when traffic was light. The LTA and other relevant authorities should probably look into this to find a more effective way to protect the wildlife. The new highway, necessary though it may be, still caused some displacement to the local wildlife population and thoughtful measures ought to be taken to secure the well-being of these animals.