JURONG BIRD PARK LAUNCHES BIRDZ OF PLAY

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NEW ‘WET AND WILD’ CHILDREN’S PLAYGROUND OPENS IN CELEBRATION OF PARK’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY

Singapore, 22 November 2011 – The world’s largest Park for birds is now home to Singapore’s newest children’s playground. Launched today, Birdz of Play at Jurong Bird Park is the only place in Singapore where kids of all ages can get wet and wild amidst a colorful avian paradise.

Birdz of Play is designed with children, fun and colour as key priorities, which resulted in vibrant bird motifs of all shapes and sizes liberally placed all over the play area. The 9,700sqm playground was officially opened by Mr David Ong, Member of Parliament, Jurong GRC this morning. Its’ unique features include wet and dry zones for both toddlers and older children.

Toddlers who love frolicking in the water in this tropical heat, can have hours of fun just going over and under water sprays; getting splashed by a “Flamdingo”; and catching the little water sprouts at the Dandelion Dome. Older kids can hold mock water fights by squirting a friend with the “Little Sqwerts Fish and Duck”. They can also ride the fun slides, and get a tremendous soaking under the overhanging, tipping bucket at the splash zone.

Over at the dry area, young kids can explore two-seated see-saws, swings and slides, which feature sensory elements that will invoke a child’s intellect, hearing and sight. The upper body strength and agility of the older ones will be challenged as they play and take a ride at the Disc Challenge and the Flying Fox sections.

All through the December school holidays, the park is also organising a series of wholesome programmes for the entire family at Birdz of Play. These weekend activities include ‘egg citing’ creative art and craft stations to a celebratory Hatch Day Party. More details are available at http://www.birdpark.com.sg.

Said Ms Isabella Loh, CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, “The launch of Birdz of Play wraps up a very significant year for Jurong Bird Park, as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. This new, interactive attraction is also an important milestone for Wildlife Reserves Singapore, as we continue to come up with interesting and original family-centric activities and facilities at all our award-winning parks. It symbolizes our commitment to the family unit by engaging them and providing a venue which is all about good, clean fun. We are confident that Birdz of Play will develop into a very successful play and learning venue at the Jurong Bird Park.”

Flight of fancy; Bird Park’s famous resident, Sassy delivered the last puzzle piece to Mr David Ong, Member-of-Parliament, Jurong GRC. He was accompanied by Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, accompanied Guest-of-Honour Mr David Ong, Member-of-Parliament, Jurong GRC as he received and fitted the last puzzle piece from Sassy, a sulphur-crested cockatoo. The final piece completed the big jigsaw puzzle, and launched the new play arena, Birdz of Play.

Get splashed by Flamdingo!

YOUNG PRINCE OF NIGHT SAFARI TURNS ONE

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WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE’S BABY ASIAN ELEPHANT CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY IN STYLE

Singapore, 20 November 2011 – Nila Utama, the first elephant to be born at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari in nine years, is making yet another small but deep footprint today as he celebrates his first birthday at an exclusive tea party.

The little elephant, lovingly referred to as ‘Nila’ by his keepers and who is named after the Palembang prince who founded the kingdom of Singapura, will receive a giant birthday cake made with carrots, wheat and ice, among other ingredients, while his guests will enjoy delicious elephant-shaped mini cakes and other tea-time treats during the celebration.

As part of the 2-hour programme, invited guests will be taken on a gourmet safari tram ride at the Night Safari, which stops at the Asian elephants exhibit where the party will be held. They will get to see the Nila and his family frolicking in the water and observe the close bonds between the elephants and their keepers.

“The birth of Nila Utama was a significant milestone for us as it underscored the importance of education and conservation of Asian elephants in the wild,” said Mr. Kumar Pillai, General Manager, Night Safari. “This mini event is not only a birthday celebration for Nila – it also highlights the success of captive breeding programmes like ours and the plight of these beautiful animals in the wild.”

Currently housed at the Asian elephants exhibit at the Night Safari, the birthday boy is an active calf and has his own unique quirks. Keepers noticed his strong sense of independence right from his birth. He is also inquisitive and fun-loving, and always relishing the chance to play with the logs or those along his path at the exhibit. He also likes to swim and wallow in the mud whenever he has the chance.

Nila was born on 23 November last year to mother Nandong and father Chawang, and is the 11th addition to the population of Asian elephants at Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which manages the Night Safari, Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and the upcoming River Safari. He was a whopping 151kg at birth, and at 11 months of age, is a healthy elephant weighing 544 kilograms and measuring 1.38 metres in height. Considered large for a newborn at 1.5 times the average size, Nila arrived after 3 hours of labour. He has two siblings – 12-year-old Sang Raja which is currently at Cologne Zoo, Germany, and nine-year-old Sang Wira which still resides at the Night Safari.

Asian elephants are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and is protected from international trade by its listing on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). They are more endangered than their better recognised counterpart, the African elephants and the threat of habitat loss is eminent for these creatures. The native homes of the Asian elephants are often being logged and cleared for urban and agricultural development. They are also often captured and killed by poachers for their tusks.

Asian elephants are found in the forests of India, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. These gentle giants survive on a diet of grass, leaves, bark, roots and fruits. Many of them are widely domesticated and are used for forestry, harvesting, or ceremonial purposes. There are only an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild today.

For more information on the Asian elephants at the Night Safari, please visit http://www.nightsafari.com.sg

One-year-old baby elephant Nila Utama takes a walk with his mother, Sri Nandong, at the Night Safari.

JURONG BIRD PARK’S PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION A SMASHING SUCCESS

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MORE THAN 6,700 ENTRIES RECEIVED FOR ‘PICTURE THE COLOUR’

SINGAPORE, 16 November 2011 – The long awaited results of Jurong Bird Park’s ‘Picture the Colour’ photography competition are out! Held in conjunction with the Park’s 40th anniversary, the three-month-long competition received an overwhelming response of more than 6,700 entries, which included photos of exotic and beautiful bird species taken at the park.

Participants could choose to compete in one Old Skool category and Shoot from the Hip. There were two distinctions within Old Skool – Professional and Amateur. The first category was catered for avid semi-professional photographers, while the Old Skool Amateur category was aimed at photography fans using point and shoot cameras. Lomo users competed in the Shoot From The Hip category, using any toy or mobile phone camera which featured lomography photo applications.

The newly crowned winners walk away with Nikon products such as the D300s DSLR camera, as well as the D5000 and D3000 kits. Other prizes include vouchers from Cathay Photo and toy camera vouchers, as well as Jurong Bird Park merchandise.

The participants were judged on composition, subject, technical detail, creativity, amongst other criteria. C.S Ling, Professional Photographer from Nikon as well as professional industry photographers including Mr Lee Tiah Khee, Chief Photographer from Lianhe Zaobao, Mr Desmond Foo, Executive Photojournalist from The Straits Times, Mr Then Chih Wey, Photographer at Xinhua News Agency and Mr Terence Tan, a freelance photojournalist, were amongst the panel of distinguished judges.

“We were looking for something unusual – photographs which are unique to Jurong Bird Park, yet not apparent that they were taken in the Park. The winning photographs in the Professional category display a level of professionalism in artistry, composition, getting the action, sharpness and technical skill. Photography is also about having an element of luck in the process, and that, coupled with the above, make these photographs stand out,” concurred the panel of judges.

Every photograph submitted also had the chance to win Jurong Bird Park merchandise in a Facebook voting contest. Members of the public could vote daily for their favourite pictures in each category.

In collaboration with National Geographic Channel, photos from this competition will be showcased in a roving exhibition around Singapore at venues such as Tiong Bahru Plaza, and Century Square on 18 to 24 November 2011 and 9 to 15 December 2011 respectively.

“We are very happy with the public’s response to this inaugural competition. We received so many high-quality entries that the judges had a tough time choosing the winners in each category. This fun and interactive campaign was successful in highlighting the importance of conserving our natural heritage, which includes our colourful feathered friends as they face the pressures of rapid urbanisation and destruction of their natural habitats. We would like to thank all our partners, namely Cathay Photo as well as Nikon, the photojournalists who spent precious time going through thousands of photographs, as well as National Geographic Channel for their strong support,” said Mr Raja Segran, General Manager, Jurong Bird Park.

Winners of the Old Skool Professional category:

1st prize winner: Jervis Mun. Species: White crested hornbill, Taken with a Canon Eos 1 D Mark IV

2nd prize winner: Tan Choon Lai. Species: Red crested cardinal, Taken with a Nikon D5100

3rd prize winner: Bernard Poh. Species: Lovebirds, Taken with a Nikon D300

Winners of the Old Skool Amateur category:

1st prize winner: Erlina Husada. Species: Dalmatian pelican, Taken with a Canon Powershot G11

2nd prize winner: Saurab Viviek Nair. Species: Greater Flamingo, Taken with a Canon Powershot A450

3rd prize winner: Rick Lee. Species: Rhea, Taken with a Fujifilm Digital Camera

Winners of the Shoot from the Hip category:

1st prize winner: Choo Fai Cheong. Species: Moustached parakeet, Taken with a Samsung Wave S8500

2nd prize winner: Lawrence Ang. Species: Scarlet macaw, Taken with a Samsung Galaxy S2

3rd prize winner: Hester Tan. Species: African penguin, Taken with an iPhone 3Gs

ZOO COMMUNITY HELPS TO SAVE AFFECTED WILDLIFE

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Gland, Switzerland, Tuesday 15 November 2011 (WAZA): After the heavy flooding which has affected nearly the whole of Thailand since beginning of November, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has coordinated flood relief measures within the region. To date, help is provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums and additional help is being prepared by Zoos Victoria in Melbourne, Oceans Park, Hong Kong and Malaysian zoos. Today two vets from Singapore are arriving in Bangkok, bringing urgently needed drugs and other equipment.

Beginning in late July and continuing for over three months, the floods have caused 506 reported deaths by early November, affected over 2.3 million people, and caused damages estimated at up to 156.7 billion baht (5.1 billion USD) as of 18 October.

The flooding has inundated about six million hectares of land, over 300,000 hectares of which is farmland, in 58 provinces. It has been described as the worst flooding yet in terms of the amount of water and people affected.

“Luckily, only Dusit Zoo in Bangkok is in the pathway of the flood. We have made preparations by moving approximately 30 of our hoof stocks to Khao Kheow Open Zoo and the rest of the animals to higher grounds within the zoo. As the flooding continues to spread to lower elevations, we believe there will be more translocations of wildlife needed in the coming weeks” says Mr. Pimuk Simaroj of the Thai Zoological Park Organization.

In order to be able to help, about 30 items, which are urgently needed, have been listed, ranging from anesthetics, to injection needles and nets for capturing snakes and crocodiles. In an unbureaucratic manner emergency relief action could be organized within the wider Asian region. Two vets from Wildlife Reserves Singapore will bring drugs, an anesthetic machine and other equipment such as snake hooks and nets, and also assist their Thai colleagues on the spot to capture escaped reptiles and provide medical care. “In times of increased natural disasters, it is of utmost importance to cooperate within a global community and provide mutual support and assistance, I thank all our member zoos and other partners like Thai Air for their immediate support”, says Dr Gerald Dick, Executive Director of WAZA.

“WRS, as a member of WAZA and SEAZA, is happy to extend assistance in the form of medical supplies and vet resources to our neighbouring partners on the Flood Relieve Mission for wildlife rescue. We will continue to assess the situation together with the Thai conservation groups, and determine further levels of assistance needed. In the meantime, WRS is committed to wildlife research and conservation especially for Asia,” says Isabella Loh, Director and Group CEO of WRS.

Rescue of Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), carried out by the Zoological Park Organisation ©Wanlaya Tipkantha

Rescue of Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), carried out by the Zoological Park Organisation ©Wanlaya Tipkantha

WILDLIFE MEETS ELEPHANT ART AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE UNVEILS 25 SCULPTURES AT THE ZOO AS PART OF ELEPHANT PARADE SINGAPORE ART EXHIBITION

Singapore, 13 November 2011 – This weekend, Singaporeans everywhere will come face to face with multi-coloured, life-sized baby elephant sculptures throughout the island, with the launch of the Elephant Parade two days ago. This open-air art exhibition across the world promotes and supports the conservation of the endangered Asian elephant, and the Singapore Zoo will have a collection of 25 such sculptures grazing on its grounds for over two months.

Painted by local and international artists, each ‘elephant’ is a unique piece of art, which will be auctioned off during two private events on 12 and 14 January 2012, to raise funds for the cause. Five percent of the proceeds from the auctions will be donated to Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund, the conservation arm of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which was set up with the primary purpose of conserving Singapore’s endangered native wildlife, and also supports capacity building, education and awareness programmes on key species and conservation issues in the Southeast Asian region.

One of the elephants was specially designed in collaboration with the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS). Seven artists, four from the MINDS – Woodlands Gardens School and three from the MINDS – Woodlands Employment Development Centre, came together to paint the ‘elephant’, called Love and Protect, which depicts a boy and girl linking protective hands around the elephant, in a field of grass.

Singapore Zoo has also scheduled several activities in conjunction with the inaugural Elephant Parade. A Nikon Photography Contest will be held on Facebook to encourage people to look for quirky photo opportunities with the elephant sculptures. To participate, visitors need to take a photo with the displays at the Singapore Zoo and upload them with the completed caption: “My wish for the Asian elephant is…” Winners will walk away with Nikon Coolpix cameras and Elephant Parade replicas.

In addition, WRS will set up an educational booth, “Mad about Elephants”, at the Ele-fun play area at the Elephants of Asia exhibit for five weekends from 19 November. Visitors can view elephant artifacts and specimens at a show and tell session. This activity aims to highlight how Asian elephants are dying in the wild – from 200,000 a century ago to a fifth of that population now.

Ms Claire Chiang, WRS Chairman and Ambassador of Elephant Parade Singapore said: “We are very proud to be part of this meaningful initiative, which brings global attention to the plight of these beautiful animals in the wild. WRS runs a very successful captive breeding programme for these Asian elephants, which has recently resulted in the birth of one-year-old Nila Utama at Night Safari, the first of its kind to be born at our parks in nine years. Through partnerships with organisations like the Elephant Parade as well as tie-ups with voluntary welfare organisations such as MINDS, we hope to raise awareness and encourage the wider public to join the effort to protect these charismatic creatures for future generations.”

Ms Claire Chiang (left), Ambassador of Elephant Parade Singapore and Chairman of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, and Mike Spits, Managing Director of Elephant Parade, get ready to unveil the elephant sculpture called ‘Love and Protect’ painted by seven artists from the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS).

Ms Claire Chiang Ambassador of Elephant Parade Singapore and Chairman of Wildlife Reserves Singapore signing her name on the cast of the ‘We Love Mosha’ elephant. Mosha is the elephant that was the inspiration for Elephant Parade, an open-air art exhibition across the world that promotes and supports the conservation of the endangered Asian elephant.

Samba performers and real elephants in quirky finery livened up the launch of Elephant Parade Singapore at Singapore Zoo.

HATCH DAY EGGS-TRAVAGANZA: EGG-CELLENT FUN AT JURONG BIRD PARK’S BIRDZ OF PLAY THIS DECEMBER

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Singapore, 10 November 2011 – The world’s largest bird paradise, Jurong Bird Park, will be celebrating the “hatching” of its latest kids’ playground, Birdz of Play, through a series of eggciting activities during an event called the Hatch Day Eggs-travaganza in conjunction with the December school holidays.

Birdz of Play is a colourfully themed play area, with wet and dry play areas for toddlers and older children. Kids of all ages are in for a splashing good time as they engage in some wild water fun. One of the highlights is the water play area, which has a huge clambering splash and slide element, where a huge bucket of water will tip every few minutes, thoroughly drenching anyone under it. The dry play area will be a sensory one for kids, as they go though the interactive component, as well as play on the swing, see-saw or flying fox.

Event Highlights
Hatch Day Eggs-travaganza
Date: 3-25 December (Saturdays and Sundays only)
Activities are free but usual Park admission rates apply

Hatch Day Party
Kids will meet the cuddly and friendly egg mascots, Dodo and Didi at this free party. Both guardians in the Land of Eggs, they are overjoyed about a beautiful and exotic egg that they have uncovered. With the help of a magical stethoscope, Dodo has determined that today will be the day that this rare and beautiful egg hatches! Kids will also watch a magic show by the Egg Wizard and learn how to perform Dodo and Didi’s signature egg dance.

Time: 12.00noon
Venue: Birdz of Play

Join the Water Dippers at Waterplay!
Come have a bucket of laughs with the Water Dippers! Dressed in wet suits, big snorkel masks and flippers, the Water Dippers will entertain with heaps of physical comedy and slapstick antics. Armed with water guns and water buckets, they will play with the kids at the wet play area for a splashing fun time.

Time: 11:30am and 12:45pm
Venue: Birdz of Play

Eggnimal Craft Booth
Kids can show off their brilliant art-and-craft skills and learn how to make adorable animals and birds out of plastic eggs.

Time: 10am – 4pm
Venue: Birdz of Play

Send your Egg-mas Greetings
With Christmas just round the corner, kids can visit the booth to design their very own Eggmas e-card and send their personalised Christmas greetings to friends and family for free!

Time: 10am – 4pm
Venue: Entrance of Jurong Bird Park

Meet & Greet Dodo and Didi
Kids will get a chance to come up close to the cuddly egg mascots, Dodo and Didi, and take a fun picture with them.

Time: 9:30-10:00am and 3:30-4:00pm
Venue: Entrance of Jurong Bird Park and Birdz of Play

Meet the Birds
At this session, kids will get to meet our talking Amazon parrot, Quincy and come up close and take a photo with our beautiful cockatoo and macaw.

Date: 17, 18, 24, 25 December
Time: 2:00pm – 2:30pm
Venue: Birdz of Play

Birdz of Play

Egg-citing Fun!

Egg-cellent Handicraft

MEET THE SECRETIVE AND SHY TODDY CAT AT NIGHT SAFARI

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NIGHT SAFARI OPENS ONE OF ITS LATEST EXHIBITS TO BRING THE PUBLIC CLOSER TO THESE NATIVE CRITTERS

Singapore, 4 November 2011 – If you spot one of these shy and furry creatures right at your doorstep, don’t be alarmed. They are native, nocturnal animals called common palm civets, locally known as toddy cats, which live in our forests and parks. Five of these adorable toddy cats are currently on display at the Night Safari, boosting its collection of endangered native animals and enabling visitors to learn more about this species.

Visitors can now observe the toddy cats and their nocturnal foraging behaviour in a huge enclosure simulating a ‘kampong’ scene. To reflect the species’ history in Singapore, the exhibit features chicken coops, coconuts and baskets, which convey a typical village feel. The ‘kampong house’ is made of real thatched roofs and house plants that are commonly found in villages such as banana trees, serai and tapioca.

The toddy cat – known as musang in Malay – is one of the last wild carnivores which can still be seen around residential areas in Siglap and forests in Bukit Timah, the Central Catchment, Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong. They range in parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia. The animal earned its name from its apparent liking for the sap from palm trees that is used to produce the alcoholic drink, ‘toddy’.

The toddy cat enclosure covers a total area of over 126 m2 and is one of the latest exhibits to open at the Night Safari.

“We would like visitors to leave our parks with increased knowledge and awareness of wildlife conservation through our animal exhibits. In this case, we hope they will appreciate some of our native species such as the common palm civets, so as to minimise human-animal conflict in our urban environment. It is important that we preserve the natural wildlife of Singapore for future generations to come,” said Mr. Kumar Pillai, General Manager of Night Safari, which is operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), together with Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and the upcoming River Safari.

Another unique feature of the exhibit is that it has an educational interpretive where visitors can learn more about the plight of this wild resident of Singapore, whose natural habitat has been encroached by humans through the years. It also showcases items associated with the animal such as packets of kopi luwak, one of the world’s most expensive coffee beans produced from coffee berries that pass through the toddy cat’s digestive tract. Known to be excellent climbers with a preference to stay in trees, these Night Safari residents will also enjoy climbing up and down three finely crafted tree trunks and vines.

WRS is currently working with various governmental organizations such as the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore and National Parks Board to rehabilitate and relocate captured toddy cats. We have rehabilitated and released a total of 57 civets since 2009. More recently, WRS is looking into radio-collaring civets to be released into the wild to study their range, survival and integration of this species in the new habitat.

The Night Safari had collaborated with the National University of Singapore to study the toddy cat population, specifically in the Siglap and Opera Estate areas. The project aimed to educate and encourage residents to live harmoniously with these creatures of the night. Recently, a team from Night Safari also conducted a talk on these native animals to students at Temasek Junior College.

Toddy cats are native animals that are distinguished by their shaggy grey hair, the three rows of black markings on their bodies and the black mask that goes across their eyes and noses.

Visitors at the Night Safari can now observe the toddy cats and their nocturnal foraging behaviour in a huge enclosure simulating a “kampong” scene

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