ABUNDANCE OF BABIES AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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INCLUDES ENDANGERED SPECIES SUCH AS COTTON-TOP TAMARIN, PYGMY HIPPOPOTAMUS AND DOUC LANGUR

Singapore, 31 January 2011 – The year ended with a bumper brood of babies at the Singapore Zoo with nearly 300 births and hatchings in 2010, which include endangered species like the cotton-top tamarin, pygmy hippopotamus and the Douc langur.

Considered one of the world’s top 25 most endangered primates and classified as critically-endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the cotton-top tamarin is one of the few species that survives better in captivity than in the wild. Despite protection from the international laws, there are only about 2,000 adult cotton-top tamarins left in the wild in South America. Eleven cotton-top tamarins were born at the zoo last year. The park now has a thriving population of 30.

The Singapore Zoo also celebrated its sole pygmy hippopotamus birth for the year in October. This species is listed as endangered by the IUCN. Similar to the cotton-top tamarins, the survival of this reclusive mammal in captivity is higher than in the wild. With the latest addition, the Singapore Zoo now has four pygmy hippopotamus in its collection.

One of the most colourful primates, the Douc langur, known for its extremely striking appearance, is also considered endangered by IUCN. This species is endemic to Indochina and can be found in Lao, Vietnam and northern Cambodia. These primates suffer from intense levels of hunting for food and for use in traditional medicines. Destruction of its natural habitat is also a major threat to this species. Singapore Zoo saw four births last year and now has a population of 15.

Other animal babies welcomed in 2010 include the proboscis monkey, meerkat, manatee, spotted mousedeer, oriental small-clawed otter, Chinese stripe-necked turtle and Linne’s two-toed sloth, amongst the 44 species of births and hatchings.

“It has been very encouraging welcoming these newborns to our family of animals in the zoo, particularly those of an endangered status. WRS has enjoyed an abundant year of births and hatchings, and captive breeding is an important element of what we do for species conservation. With rising threats such as habitat loss, human encroachment and poaching, captive breeding programmes may be the only hope of saving some species for future generations,” said Mr Biswajit Guha, Director of Zoology at the Singapore Zoo.

The Singapore Zoo, operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) which also runs the award winning Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park and the upcoming river-themed park, the River Safari, has a number of conservation research initiatives such as the captive breeding of proboscis monkeys and study of their dietary requirements, as well as hormonal analyses to chart the oestrous cycles. It continues to work with other zoos and wildlife institutions around the world to facilitate animal exchanges to expand the captive gene pool and increase the population of endangered animal species.

Cotton-top Tamarin

Pygmy Hyppopotamus

Linne's two-toed sloth

JURONG BIRD PARK USHERS IN THE YEAR OF THE RABBIT WITH FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND FLAMINGO PARADE

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SINGAPORE, 26 January 2011 – Chinese traditions and avian species are coming together in a unique celebration this February as the Jurong Bird Park welcomes the auspicious Year of the Rabbit 2011 with a colourful flamingo parade, lion dance performances, zodiac trail, sumptuous Yu Sheng meals, and cartoon character meet-and-greet session.

Over 50 greater flamingoes will flaunt their pink hued plumes and do their long legged strut in the Bird Park in a first-of-its-kind parade this festive season. Flamboyant, beautiful and gregarious, these birds are the pink jewels of the Bird Park. The largest species of flamingo with average heights of 110–150 cm, these striking birds are found in parts of Africa, southern Asia and southern Europe. Predominantly pink and crimson in appearance, greater flamingos also have black on their flight feathers and on the tip of their bill. Visitors to the park from 3-6 and 12-13 February at 4:45pm can follow their delightful walk-about and savour the chance to admire these stunning birds up-close. All visitors will get a chance to take some close up pictures of the flamingoes, but 5 lucky visitors who answer the questions correctly will have a rarer photo opportunity – past the barricaded area with the birds.

To top it all, 8 rabbits will be making a special appearance at the Bird Park’s Penguin Coast in a pen, and guests can take pictures and have a look at these special rabbits daily from 3- 13 February. For an up close session, guests can come up close and stroke the rabbits from 2 – 2:30pm.

Visitors curious to find out their fortunes in the Year of the Rabbit can embark on the Bird Park’s Zodiac Trail, which features 12 Chinese zodiac characters foretelling the challenges and golden opportunities ahead. The younger ones in the family can also learn about the origins of Chinese New Year the fun way through an interactive story-telling session at the Pools Amphitheatre with popular Nickelodeon character Kai-Lan from the show “Ni Hao, Kai- Lan”. Selected kids will get a chance to go on stage to solve puzzles and win prizes. Parents can then whip out their cameras and take pictures of their kids as the Kai-Lan mascot will appear for 20 minutes for a photo-taking session.

After a full day of activities, families can dig into a healthy treat of prosperity salmon Yu Sheng at Bird Park’s Hawk Café to usher in prosperity and good health. Interested parties should make reservations at the café for meals from 3 – 13 February. As part of the festive celebrations, patrons will receive a 20% discount off Yu Sheng with every main course ordered.

With so much to do and see over Chinese New Year at the Bird Park, it’s time to hop over! For more information, please visit www.birdpark.com.sg

Event details

Dates Activity Venue Time
3 – 13 Feb (daily) Flamingo Parade Pools Amphitheatre 4:45pm
3 – 13 Feb (daily) Fortune Rabbit photography and contact session Penguin Coast 8:30am – 6pm 

2 – 2.30pm (contact session)

3, 4, 5, 6, 12 and 13 Feb (weekends only) Northern Lion Dance Performance Palm Plaza to Pools Amphitheatre 10:30am and 2:30pm
3, 4, 5, 6, 12 and 13 Feb (weekends only) Story telling session on Kai-Lan’s Chinese New Year and mascot photo taking session after Pools Amphitheatre 11:30am & 1:30pm
3 -17 Feb (daily) Zodiac Trail All around the Park 8:30am – 6pm
3 -17 Feb (daily) Penguin Mascots meet and greet Penguin Coast 8:30am – 6pm

Flamingo Parade

WORLD’S LARGEST BIRD PARADISE – JURONG BIRD PARK – TURNS 40

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YEAR-LONG CELEBRATIONS KICK OFF WITH PARK DISCOUNTS, SOUVENIR GIVEAWAYS AND FACEBOOK CONTESTS

Singapore, 4 January 2011Jurong Bird Park, one of four wildlife attractions managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), with the others being Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming River Safari, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, by offering discounts off admission prices and gifts to selected visitors.

From now till the end of January, Singaporeans and Permanent Residents who turn 40 this year get 40% off admission ticket prices. From 3-9 January, those who celebrated their 40th birthday on 3 Jan 2011 will get free admission into the park, and the first 40 who come in also get an exclusive Bird Park 40th anniversary T-shirt and a cute plush toy.

Next month, celebrations continue with a Facebook contest to encourage couples to share their 40 years of romantic moments at the park. Couples will be asked to dust off their old photo albums and post pictures of them during their courtship days or weddings. Winners will walk away with free admission tickets and a limited edition Valentine’s Day YooHoo plush toy.

Other exciting activities planned for the year include a wildlife photography contest, as well as the launch of a play area for kids at the park and a brand new Birds of Prey show.

Opened on 3 January 1971, Jurong Bird Park is the first wildlife park to be established in Singapore and is today the largest bird park in the world. Situated on a 20.2-hectare hillside, the award-winning park is a haven for 4,600 birds representing 380 of the world‟s bird species. As the oldest wildlife park here, it is an excellent model of success, spearheading avian conservation and education infused with fun recreation for both young and old, locals and tourists.

Over the years, the Bird Park has made significant strides towards establishing itself as the region’s leading institution for the conservation of avian biodiversity. In the area of ex-situ conservation, it has a Breeding and Research Centre tasked to ensure the welfare, breeding and promulgation of birdlife, and has won several accolades for its breeding programmes.

For example, it was the first park in the world to successfully breed the black hornbill in captivity in 1995 and the twelve-wired Bird of Paradise for which the park received the Breeders‟ Award from the American Pheasant and Waterfowl Society in 2001. In 2006, the Bird Park received the Conservation & Research Award for the Oriental Pied Hornbill Conservation Project by IV International Symposium on Breeding Birds in Captivity (ISBBC). More recently in 2010, the park successfully bred and hatched the highly endangered red fronted macaw, hyacinth macaw and the near threatened great pied hornbill species in captivity. Committed to conservation, research and providing the best possible veterinary care to the birds in the park, the world class Avian Hospital was established in 2006. It is also Singapore‟s designated avian rescued centre for the treatment and rehabilitation of wild birds. The Bird Park frequently collaborates with relevant government agencies in re-introducing indigenous species back into the wild, such as the oriental pied hornbill in its most recent project.

In addition, the park is one of Singapore’s most popular tourist and family destinations. Key attractions such as the Bird Discovery Centre, African Waterfall Aviary, Lory Loft, Southeast Asian Birds Aviary, and the newly launched Penguin Coast as well as its daily shows attracted close to 900,000 visitors in 2009. The S$1.9 million Penguin Coast exhibit features six penguin species, one third of the world‟s total penguin species. It features the African Penguin, one of few species which live in the tropics, as well as five species of cold climate penguins in the indoor climate-controlled den of the exhibit. It was launched to spread greater awareness for the conservation of penguins by bringing visitors up close to these endearing birds.

”2011 represents a milestone for us at the Jurong Bird Park. It is a time for us to look back on our achievements and look ahead to new horizons. We have come a long way since our humble beginnings in the 1970s. Today, the Bird Park is a shining example of the successful integration of conservation, education and recreation. This is possible only with the passion and dedication shown by our staff towards the WRS mission of preserving birdlife biodiversity and spreading the message of conservation„, said Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

“We hope Singaporeans will continue to have fond memories of their wonderful times spent at the Bird Park by participating in our 40th anniversary festivities throughout the year. Now would be a good time to pay yet another visit to the park and take a walk down memory lane by re-living those cherished moments,” she added.

For more information and the latest updates on the Jurong Bird Park‟s 40th anniversary celebrations, please visit www.birdpark.com.sg, or logon to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s Facebook page.

Front entrance of Jurong Bird Park (1985)

Jurong Falls Aviary, Jurong Bird Park (1971 -1980)

Visitors queuing up at front admission to purchase tickets (1971 – 1980)

Old tram system, Jurong Bird Park (1971 -1980)

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