JURONG BIRD PARK ACHIEVES ANOTHER FIRST WITH SUCCESSFUL ARTIFICIAL INCUBATION OF GREAT PIED HORNBILLS

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Singapore, 30 May 2011Jurong Bird Park, the world’s largest avian paradise, has scored a first yet again with the successful artificial incubation of two great pied hornbills, one of the most notoriously difficult species to breed in captivity. Eggs were carefully removed from the hornbills’ nest box this breeding season and incubated at the park’s Breeding and Research Centre (BRC). This was necessary as the breeding pair had cannibalised the chicks the previous year.

“While such cannibalisation behaviours are natural and common in hornbills, it differs from species to species. With the oriental pied hornbills, it is the survival of the fittest where the weakest hatchling is usually killed and eaten by the female,” said Dr Minerva Bongco-Nuqui, Curator, Jurong Bird Park.

To avoid a similar situation, avian keepers kept a close watch on the nesting pair, and quickly extracted their eggs the second week after laying. “Hornbills are generally very selective and monogamous when it comes to mating and take a while to breed as they would require a long time to bond. Conservation and captive breeding are crucial for great pied hornbills since they are losing their natural habitat because of rapid urbanisation and human activities,” she added.

Due to the size of this magnificent bird and its special nesting requirements, captive breeding is especially difficult as tree cavities need to be big enough. Hornbills have unique breeding characteristics as the female seals herself in the nest, leaving a tiny slit through which her male counterpart feeds her foraged or hunted food. She would remain sealed in the nest for up to three months, when her chicks are ready to fledge and leave the nest.

The pair has been together for over 10 years, and had their first offspring in 2006. Their two new chicks hatched in the BRC on April 14 and 20 respectively, and have been under the care of Mr Elden Gabayoyo, the Avian Management Officer in charge of the Centre.

“As these hatchlings were artificially incubated, we were very careful about their diet,” he noted. “In the first few days, they were fed with mice pinkies, papaya, vitamin supplements and Pedialyte for hydration. When they grow older, they will eat mealworms, crickets and fruit such as papaya and banana, and will eventually be moved to the exhibit when they can feed on their own.”

This is the first time the Jurong Bird Park has artificially incubated a hornbill species. The latest offspring brings the total number of great pied hornbills at the park to 17. They are one of the largest members of the hornbill family, and can live up to 50 years in captivity. They are found in the forests of India, the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. Admired for their size and bright colours, they are prized for their body parts, e.g. beaks and heads are used as charms and souvenirs, feathers used in head dresses and flesh as medicine; hence the urgent need for greater conservation efforts for this and other hornbill species.

SAVE OUR BIRDS – AND RESTORE OUR COLOURFUL WORLD

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JURONG BIRD PARK BECOMES AN ORIGAMI WONDERLAND THIS JUNE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

Singapore, 24 May, 2011 – Jurong Bird Park will be aflutter with activity this June as our feathered friends and their origami counterparts bring to life a first-of-its-kind paper wonderland.

The event, titled “Save the Colour,‟ is a hands-on way in which the whole family can learn about avian conservation and the various elements that contribute to a healthy ecosystem. Most of the Penguin Coast area will be turned into an “Origami Village‟ and visitors will be asked to help rebuild the village and habitats of the birds, who represent the colours of our world. With the combined efforts of many participants throughout the weekends of June, the village will become “populated‟ with origami items which symbolise avian habitats, and kids also learn that everyone can make a difference to saving the colours of our world.

The three habitats represented in the village will each have a different conservation theme. For example, at Antarctica, the aquatic and the tropical garden landscape, kids will learn to fold origami items like “ice blocks‟, fishes and flowers to highlight the dangers of global warming and deforestation.

Kids can also “adopt a bird” by making a contribution to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund (WRSCF) and learn how to fold an origami crane which symbolises the bird that they have saved. They can then show their commitment to the cause by attaching a personal pledge to each crane they place on the trees in the garden habitat.

Kids can also help to spread the message about “Saving the Colour‟ by sending their friends free postcards. The postcards will be mailed for free to their friends and is limited to local addresses only.

For a little more fun, kids can also experience and celebrate the vibrance of our feathered friends by getting free colourful air-brushed bird tattoos and face painting makeover at our Origami Village.

Event Details
Date: Every weekend in June, 10am – 4pm
Venue: Jurong Bird Park
Price: Park entrance fees apply, event participation is free
Adult: $18.00
Children (12 years old and below): $12.00
Free for children below 1 year old

Annual Camps
Jurong Bird Park’s annual 2-Day Bird Quest Camp and Sleep with the Penguins Camp will also be part of the exciting activities lined-up this June holidays. The 2-day Bird Quest Camp is an exciting adventure that allows kids to get up-close with raptors, and some may even get to handle a bird of prey! Behind the scenes tours are also scheduled, and there will be lots of hands-on activities and feeding sessions with birds. It includes a tour around the Bird Discovery Centre where they will come face to face with the world’s largest egg, and learn more about how birds fly. Families get to spend quality time with our feathered friends during the Sleep with the Penguins Camp. Camp participants will also meet Pinky, the park’s star Humboldt penguin, get a chance to get behind the scenes and separately, feed some feathered friends!

For more information on the annual camps, log onto: http://education.birdpark.com.sg/

Save The Colour

ITE PARTNERS WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE ON GREEN INITIATIVES

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MOU PAVES THE WAY FOR DEVELOPMENT OF INNOVATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY SOLUTIONS AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

ITE students will soon have the opportunity to hone their technical and service skills at some of Singapore’s finest, award-winning park attractions – the Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo, and the upcoming River Safari.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), inked this morning, will pave the way for both parties to collaborate on environmental sustainability and conservation initiatives, such as the development of innovative technologies and solutions for conservation, and the conduct of joint community events, projects and competitions to raise awareness for the green cause.

The five-year partnership also provides for training and work opportunities at WRS’ park attractions for ITE students in hospitality, tourism, events-management and service- related courses. ITE will also work with WRS on continual learning programmes for WRS employees, through short courses, modules or enrichment programmes conducted by ITE.

Mr Bruce Poh, Director & CEO, ITE said: “At ITE, our commitment to the community and environment is encapsulated in our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Ethos. We are committed to using our resources and skills to care for the community and to build a sustainable environment. We hope to develop generations of graduates who are not only environmentally conscious but will engender practices that are environmentally friendly and sustainable at their places of work. Our partnership with WRS is invaluable in providing us with the context where our staff and students can use our skills to contribute meaningfully to a cause we fully believe in.”

Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO, WRS, added: “One of our core objectives is to educate visitors on the importance of wildlife and conservation. This partnership with ITE will allow us to spread the message of environmental awareness beyond our parks. At the same time, we hope this collaboration will better prepare trainees for future jobs in hospitality and tourism, and ensure that our own employees continually upgrade their skills through the excellent courses provided by ITE.”

BECOME THE KING OF THE FOREST AT THIS YEAR’S ZOOLYMPIX

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11 May 2011 – The annual Zoolympix at the Singapore Zoo returns for the seventh time this year with a new theme centered around the International Year of the Forests and more challenging activities to put young ones to the test.

‘Olympians of the animal kingdom’ will get to show off their athletic abilities in a series of challenges that will test their agility, speed, accuracy and brain power.

Adrenaline pumping stations will be scattered around the rainforest-themed zoo, and participants who accumulate the highest score of the day at each station will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, which profiles a daily Zoolympix champion. What’s more, all participants who complete the challenges stand to win attractive lucky draw prizes including Wildlife Unlimited Memberships and Wildlife Reserves Singapore gift vouchers.

In addition, young visitors can enjoy optional activities such as face painting, DIY pebble painting and animal appearances, for those looking for a more laid back day at the zoo.

Stations

Power Pollinators
Kids will race against the clock to ‘pollinate’ as many flowers as possible in 30 seconds. The ‘pollinators’ have to stick coloured Velcro balls onto their vests and sprint in a shuttle run-style race to deposit them in colour-coded baskets.

Venue: Garden Pavilion

Awesome Orang Utan
This station puts a spin on the classic monkey bar as it doubles up as a ‘tree’. Participants have to be as agile as the orang utans to make it across in the shortest possible time.

Venue: In front of orang utan island

Hand-some Otters
While identifying items in a fish tank sounds easy enough, this activity takes it to the next level by blindfolding the participants. This game puts their sense of touch and speed to the test.

Venue: Open area opposite otter exhibit

Ele-fun Foot
Participants will experience for themselves just how nimble and surefooted elephants are as they try to navigate along logs in gum boots.

Venue: Interpretive Hut at Elephants of Asia

Shoot-em Archers
Armed with water guns, participants will find that sharp shooting skills are essential if you are an archer fish hunting for insects.

Venue: Outside Fragile Forest

Giraffe With Altitude
After all the fast-paced activities, visitors can relax and learn interesting facts about giraffes at this fact-finding station.

Venue: Giraffe exhibit

Details
Date: 23 May – 12 June (Daily)
Time: 10am – 4pm
Venue: Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826
Fee: $2 per Zoolympix passport

Available at the registration tent at Rainforest Walk (in front of the bird photography area).
Normal admission rates of $20.00 for adults and $13.00 for children 12 years and under apply.

Additional Wild Weekend Activities
DIY pebble painting
Time: 10am – 4pm
Dates: 28, 29 May, 4, 5, 11, 12 Jun
Location: Rainforest Courtyard (opposite Zoo Retail Shop)

Dr Ooz Show and Tell
Time: 1.30 – 2pm
Dates: 28, 29 May, 4, 5, 11, 12 Jun
Location: Rainforest Walk (in front of the bird photography area)

Special Animal Appearance
Time: 11am – 1pm
Dates: 28, 29 May, 4, 5, 11, 12 Jun
Location: Rainforest Walk (in front of the bird photography area)

*Zoolympix activities are recommended for children between 4 to 12 years old.

Zoolympix fun!

An aspiring Olympian!

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE, WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE CONSERVATION FUND AND SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL ORGANISE FIRST ASIAN PRIMATE CONSERVATION WORKSHOP

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Singapore, 6 May 2011 – Primates have the closest genetic link to Man, but we have played a hand in the very extinction of many of their species. To stem the tide of destruction and reverse the damage we have inflicted, two industry heavyweights – Wildlife Reserves Singapore and San Diego Zoo Global, together with Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund – are teaming up for the first time to hold a regional workshop to share best practices in primate conservation.

To be held from 1-15 May at the Singapore Zoo, the intensive workshop aims to impart technical skills and knowledge as well as provide hands-on training for zoo professionals and primate researchers who study endangered species in captivity and in the wild.

It will be attended by 32 participants from all over the region, including Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Nepal, China and Taiwan. Students from the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, as well as staff from WRS will also participate.

Lectures will encompass broad overviews of primate taxonomy, behaviour and conservation, and these sessions will include discussions on the best sampling and recording methods, assessments of primate welfare and compilation of scientific data, reports and presentations. Participants will be asked to design behavioural monitoring projects and present their findings at the end of the workshop. Additionally, they will go on field trips to study local primates such as the banded leaf monkey and long-tailed macaques.

Workshop chairman Mr John Sha, who is also curator of conservation and research at WRS said: “This is a very useful workshop for anyone who wants to acquire the professional skills in primate research. Data gathered through behavioural studies and monitoring can provide us with a lot of information on how well the population of species is performing. Through this programme, we hope to develop and adapt methods of study to help these amazing creatures survive in their natural habitat.”

Dr Chia Tan, scientist at San Diego Zoo Institute of Conservation Research said, “Previous partnerships with WRS such as conservation and research projects on the highly endangered proboscis monkeys and Douc langurs, and the turtle conservation workshop have reaped great rewards. We hope this event will strengthen our partnership and make a positive contribution towards primate conservation, especially in this part of the world.”

Human activities like logging are destroying the limited habitat of certain species such as the agile gibbon and proboscis monkey. The demand for pet monkeys also continues to fuel the illegal poaching of these animals.

Part of the funding for the workshop comes from a training grant from The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and contributions from San Diego Zoo Global, Offield Family Foundation, and Primate Conservation, Inc. Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund (WRSCF), an independent charity set up by WRS in 2009 with the purpose of conserving endangered native wildlife, is making up the rest of the cost.

Primate conservation is an important focus area for WRS. It has spearheaded several research studies in the past, including a field survey of proboscis monkeys in Sabah which was co-sponsored by WRS and San Diego Zoo Global. The Singapore Zoo houses one of the world’s largest primate collections, including three species of great apes, the chimpanzee, Sumatran orang utan and Bornean orang utan, the latter two of which are the flagship species of the Singapore Zoo. Visitors can learn more about them at the world’s first orang utan free ranging area built at the zoo.

Niu Kefeng, a participant from China tries to identify several Hamadryas baboons to observe for his workshop project.

San Diego Zoo Global workshop instructor Lance Miller shares tips on the art of observing chimpanzees with two of the participants.

Parkin Runcharoen, a participant from Thailand gets a closer look at the capuchins.

The proboscis monkey will also come under scrutiny during the workshop. Singapore Zoo has the largest breeding group of proboscis monkeys outside its range country,

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