NIGHT SAFARI CELEBRATES A RARE FIRST WITH THE BIRTH OF TWO CLOUDED LEOPARDS

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Singapore, 29 June 2011Night Safari, the world’s first wildlife park for nocturnal animals, recently celebrated the first birth of its clouded leopards, an endangered wild cat. The arrival of the pair of cubs is a major achievement for Night Safari as clouded leopards are notoriously difficult to breed. The high frequency of aggression between the two genders of the beautifully patterned predator sometimes results in the death of the female during mating in wild populations.

Named for the cloud-like spots on its coat, the clouded leopard is a medium-sized wild cat found primarily in lowland tropical rainforest habitats throughout Southeast Asia, Nepal and southern China. Listed as ‘vulnerable’ under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species, little is known about the behavior or population numbers of the wild species because of their enigmatic nature.

The parents of the new arrivals, father Tawan and mother Wandee, arrived from Thailand’s Khao Kheow Open Zoo two years ago. Since then, keepers at the Night Safari have been hoping to kick start a breeding programme between the two and has been waiting for them to reach breeding age.

Mr Kumar Pillai, Director of Zoology at Night Safari said: “The park has been studying various ways of increasing the success rate of captive breeding of clouded leopards for some time now, such as introducing the pair at an early age to promote bonding and lessen aggression. We have also paired an older female with a younger male as she will be more experienced and capable of defending herself. We are very pleased that our efforts have paid off with the birth of not just one, but two clouded leopard cubs.”

Wild populations of clouded leopards are fast declining as a result of the loss of habitat and are highly sought after in the illegal wildlife trade for their skin and bones. Globally, there are fewer than an estimated 10,000 mature individuals in the wild, with no single population numbering more than 1,000.

This further increases the pressure on wildlife institutions to establish viable captive breeding programmes.

The Night Safari is run by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which also operates award winning parks Jurong Bird Park, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming river-themed wildlife park, River Safari. All three parks are actively involved in the captive breeding of endangered species and take part in coordinated global breeding programmes with reputable zoological institutions around the world. To date, WRS has successfully bred endangered wildlife such as the Bali Mynah, white rhinoceros and the Red-shanked douc langur.

TAKE A PEEK-TURE OF COLOURS THROUGH YOUR LENS

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BIRDS AT JURONG BIRD PARK BECOME MODELS AND SUBJECTS FOR UPCOMING PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST

SINGAPORE, 29 June 2011 – Get ready for some camera action while experiencing a vivid spectrum of colours with a photography competition organised by world’s largest bird paradise. From 1 July to 30 September, Jurong Bird Park will present its colourful and fascinating avian residents as subjects in ‘Picture the Colour,’ a photography competition designed to promote and encourage avian conservation and awareness. In line with the Bird Park’s 40th anniversary, the competition underscores the importance of protecting our colourful feathered friends as they face the pressures of rapid urbanisation and the destruction of their natural habitats. Best of all, the winning prizes – Nikon cameras as well as Cathay Photo vouchers – are up for grabs for the most outstanding photo submissions. Participants can choose to compete in two of three categories: Old Skool Professional, Old Skool Amateur and Shoot From The Hip.

Old Skool Professional category caters to the avid semi-professional photographers, challenging the skills of contestants in taking birds with DSLR cameras while the Old Skool Amateur category is aimed at photography fans who use point and shoot cameras. Lomo fans fret not; Shoot From The Hip gives them a chance to capture fun and creative photos with any toy camera or mobile phone camera with the use of lomography photo applications. All photo entries are expected to be of birds in the exhibits, wild or even migratory birds at Jurong Bird Park.

The judging panel for Picture the Colour consists of professional photographers from the industry including Mr Lee Tiah Khee, Chief Photographer from Lianhe Zaobao, Mr Desmond Foo, Executive Photojournalist, from Straits Times, Mr Then Chih Wey, Photographer, Xinhua News Agency and Mr Terence Tan, Freelance Photojournalist. They will be joined by a representative from Nikon as well.

There will be three winners in each category, who will be selected by the judges based on composition, subject, technical detail, creativity, amongst others. Fans of WRS’ Facebook page will also get the opportunity to pick their favourite pictures through a public vote, and a winner will be selected in each category for the ‘most liked picture’.

Prizes for this inaugural competition include Nikon products such as the D300s DSLR camera, as well as D5000 kit and D3000 kit. Other prizes include vouchers from Cathay Photo and vouchers for toy cameras, as well as Jurong Bird Park merchandise. For more information about the ‘Picture the Colour’ photography competition, please visit: http://www.birdpark.com.sg/

Join in the fun and test your skills

INDERA THE SUN BEAR’S JOURNEY TO THE WEST

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EXCHANGE PROGRAMME WITH UK’S RARE SPECIES CONSERVATION CENTRE WILL BOOST CAPTIVE BREEDING OF THE ENDANGERED SPECIES

Singapore, 28 June 2011Singapore Zoo’s juvenile Malayan sun bear has arrived safe and sound in the United Kingdom and has made himself right at home at the Rare Species Conservation Centre (RSCC) in Kent.

Within minutes of settling in, the one-year-old was already eating fruit. Being young and adventurous, the curious sun bear also explored his new enclosure by sniffing out every nook and cranny, and was climbing and playing with enrichment devices almost immediately after being introduced to his new home.

Indera’s new ‘mate’ at the centre’s sun bear exhibit is Charlotte, a four-year-old female born in Cologne Zoo in Germany. Keepers at RSCC hope to kick start a breeding programme with the pair when Indera reaches sexual maturity in the next two years.

“Charlotte, however, was at first apprehensive about Indera and showed some aggression towards him. However, the little one stood his ground and rose on two feet to show he was not going to be intimidated. Such confidence is rarely seen in young sun bears and staff at RSCC have high hopes for him as a mate for Charlotte,” said Todd Dalton, Director of RSCC.

His journey to the UK was arranged in the summer to help him adapt more easily to the new surroundings. Both bears have a temperature controlled ‘house’ in the exhibit which keeps them warm in the winter.

Indera’s transfer from Singapore Zoo to RSCC is part of an exchange programme between the centre and Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which also manages Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and the upcoming River Safari. These animal exchanges boost genetic diversity by ensuring the survival of captive populations of endangered species.

Sun bears are found primarily in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. Though relatively diminutive in size and cuddly-looking, these animals can be aggressive in the wild, and are among the most dangerous creatures in the forest. Humans pose the biggest threat to their existence – deforestation and logging have led to their habitat loss. They are also poached for their parts, e.g. fur, paws, or bile, and many young sun bears are trapped for the illegal pet trade. International laws have made any commercial trade in the bear or its body parts illegal, and they have been listed as a species ‘vulnerable’ to extinction.

Besides WRS’ ongoing breeding programme, it has also been involved in overseas research and conservation projects, including a field research project in the Danum Valley region of Sabah to gather data on the ecology of the sun bear and its prospects for survival in disrupted forest habitats.

Photo courtesy of Balazs Buzas and Rare Species Conservation Trust - Indera explores his new home.

Photo courtesy of Balazs Buzas and Rare Species Conservation Trust - Like all adventurous young bears, Indera sniffs out his environment.

Photo courtesy of Balazs Buzas and Rare Species Conservation Trust - Indera plays with the various enrichment devices in his enclosure.

CONSERVATION GETS COLOURFUL AT JURONG BIRD PARK

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SAVE THE COLOUR AND HELP REBUILD HOMES FOR THE BIRDS AT THE ORIGAMI VILLAGE THIS JUNE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

SINGAPORE, 16 June 2011 – The Penguin Coast outdoor exhibit at the world’s largest bird paradise has been transformed into a first-of-its-kind origami wonderland this June holidays. ‘Save the Colour,’ an ongoing weekend event at Jurong Bird Park, allows visitors to step into the ‘Origami Village’ and help rebuild the habitats of the birds by folding origami items like cranes, ‘ice blocks’, fishes, flowers and colourful handicraft butterflies, and re-populating them back to their landscapes, each with their own conservation themes.

With each hands-on activity, kids learn about the symbolism of what they create. Through folding origami ice-blocks and adding them back to Antarctica, children learn about global warming and the melting of ice-caps. By placing folded fishes back to the “rivers” and planting folded flowers back to the ‘garden,’ they learn about the negative effects of over-fishing and deforestation. Through the act of adding their handicraft butterflies back into the ‘garden’, kids learn the importance of butterflies to a balanced ecosystem and are taught not to disturb the butterflies if they see them in gardens.

Kids can also ‘adopt a bird’ by folding a paper crane and making a contribution to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund. They are encouraged to attach a personal pledge to save the birds on their folded crane and thereafter, hang it on the ‘trees’ in the ‘garden.’ The young conservationists can also spread the conservation message by sending free pre-paid postcards to their family and friends at the village’s ‘Post Office.’ To add to the fun, kids can also celebrate the beautiful colours of the birds by getting free bird face-paintings and air-brush bird tattoos in the Origami Village.

‘Save the Colour” is a hands-on and colourful way in which the whole family can participate and learn more about avian conservation and the various elements that contribute to a healthy ecosystem. Activities will take place every June weekend from 10am to 4pm. Event participation is free, but normal park admission charges apply.

Kids learning how to fold their origami

A young conservationist intent on adding colours to his butterfly

Garden in bloom - Visitors planting folded flowers in the Garden Habitat.

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