WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE AND TRAFFIC SOUTHEAST ASIA JOINTLY ORGANISE PANGOLIN CONSERVATION WORKSHOP

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FINAL CALL FOR PANGOLINS

Singapore, June 30, 2008Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) and TRAFFIC Southeast Asia jointly organised a three-day pangolin conservation workshop to be held at the Singapore Zoo, starting today, to discuss the perilous situation facing pangolin populations in Asia, as its survival comes under increasing threat.

Pangolins are poached for their meat, consumed as food and used in traditional medicines across the region. Its numbers in the wild are dwindling rapidly in Asia with regular seizures by the authorities in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. A majority of the shipments resulting from illegal poaching are destined for China.

“WRS is extremely fortunate to have been instrumental in bringing together key-decision makers and conservationists from 14 countries and territories around the region, to discuss and make recommendations that will hopefully secure and protect the future of pangolins in the wild. Through our collaboration with TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, we are able to approach the issue of illegal pangolin trade, from a more comprehensive conservation perspective, that includes both enforcement and legislative angles. Our main hope is to catalyse the region into seriously conserving one of the most unique species of biodiversity which we call our own, and to ensure that this cascades into actionable initiatives in the pangolin’s range countries.” said Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Pangolins, or scaly anteaters, are the most numerous mammal species found in confiscated illegal wildlife cargoes throughout Southeast Asia. In 2000, a complete ban on international trade of pangolins was adopted by Parties to CITES.

The three-day workshop will discuss issues and challenges of pangolin trade enforcement in Asia, conservation, its ecology and biology as well as husbandry and management in zoological institutions.

Workshop participants reflect the diversity of the problems and threats facing pangolins, and represent government as well as non-governmental agencies responsible for wildlife trade management coming from as far as China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Brunei, Laos and Singapore. During the workshop, participants will also develop an action plan to help relevant enforcement agencies focus their efforts to halt the illegal pangolin trade.

Participants’ recommendations will be sent to the CITES Secretariat, the International Criminal Police Organisation (ICPO)-Interpol, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and national focal points of the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN), to ensure a coherent approach to information and intelligence sharing on pangolin trade in the region.

“This meeting is vital to the future survival of pangolins. It is now or never for pangolins. The poaching simply has to stop,” said Ms Azrina Abdullah, Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

In February and March 2008 alone, a staggering 23 tonnes of pangolin carcasses and scales, the remains of approximately 8,000 animals—were seized in Hai Phong, Vietnam, in a single week.

The commonest species currently in trade is believed to be the Malayan pangolin (Manis javanica), found in Malaysia and Indonesia; populations elsewhere in Asia have been decimated. Recent pangolin seizures have even involved African species.

In China, tough penalties can be imposed on pangolin smugglers, with two men receiving suspended death sentences in November 2007 and fined a total of RMB3 million (USD400,000) whilst their accomplices received jail sentences ranging between 10 years and life.

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE TO HOST SLOW LORIS IDENTIFICATION TRAINING AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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Singapore, June 11, 2008Wildlife Reserves Singapore will be hosting a Slow Loris Identification Training Workshop on June 13, 2008 at the Singapore Zoo. Through a combination of presentations and interactive learning, the day long training workshop aims to raise awareness of the slow loris’ endangered status. A total of 27 enforcement officials and Wildlife Reserves Singapore representatives are participating in the training workshop.

Mr Kumar Pillai, Assistant Director of Zoology, Night Safari said: “The workshop will present a golden opportunity for participants to learn more about slow lorises and wildlife conservation. Learning from an expert in the field will help us better educate the public about slow lorises in the future.”

Conducted by acclaimed conservationist Dr Anna Nekaris, of Oxford Brookes University, UK, the programme will address numerous topics related to the slow loris. Reasons behind its endangered status, slow loris taxonomy and morphology, and the identification of various slow loris species as well as its look-alikes are just some of the many topics that will be addressed. Additionally, a glimpse into the workings of the illegal wildlife trade, specifically with regards to common slow loris smuggling methods will be touched on.

Participating officials include those from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), National Parks Board (NParks), NUS Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research as well as representatives from the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.

The training workshop aims to ultimately contribute to a reduction in illegal slow loris trade and the inappropriate release of confiscated slow lorises.

Currently, Night Safari has 18 slow lorises, which can be seen along the Leopard Trail.

WILDLIFE RESERVES PARKS COMMEMORATE WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

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Singapore, June 5, 2008 – In line with the 2008 World Environment Day slogan “CO2 Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy,” Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo symbolically planted 75 tree saplings and 120 shrubs on June 5 in recognition that deforestation not only affects animals’ habitats but also affects climate change.

The tree planting was carried out by employees of all three parks and took place at the new and upcoming attraction in Singapore Zoo called Rainforest Kidzworld, slated to be opened later this year.

The symbolic planting is only a fraction of the 20,000 more trees, palms, shrubs, ferns, grasses and epiphytes that will eventually be nurtured within the entire Rainforest Kidzworld area. Interestingly, plants with intriguing animal names were chosen to kickstart the greening of this area. These include Spider Lily, Cat’s Whisker, Peacock Flower, Snake Weed, Butterfly Ginger and Tiger Orchid.

“The tree planting is a significant occasion for us at Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo as it is in accordance with our mission to not only conserve endangered animals but to also preserve biodiversity. As we continue to transform the Parks into Rainforest Parks, we hope to also bring the message across to the public on the need to preserve and grow more trees,” said Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

More than 60 employees from the three parks let loose their ‘green fingers’ and planted the saplings in an effort to do their part for the environment.

Of the more than 298,000 species of plants in the world, the IUCN 2007 Red List indicates that 70% are threatened. In Asia alone, this numbers 3,113 species of plants. The world is losing its tropical forests at an alarming rate, owing mainly to agricultural expansion. Native plant species are facing extinction, and a net increase in greenhouse gases is contributing to global climate change, increased soil erosion, drought and flooding. This environmental degradation forces farmers to clear even more land to grow food for their families.

There are more than 1.5 million trees and shrubs in Jurong BirdPark, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo. Each year more than 70,000 trees and shrubs are planted, replanted and established to maintain our rainforest.

In addition to the tree planting activity, to instill the habit of recycling amongst visitors, the Zoo also placed a paper recycling bin at the exit for visitors to dispose of their paper products, including unwanted maps and brochures at the end of their visit. The paper will in turn be recycled. Recycling bins for other materials such as plastic and aluminum are also placed at significant areas around the parks.

Jurong BirdPark, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo hopes guests will take away with them the green message of recycling, and subsequently start their own recycling initiative at their homes or workplaces.

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