RUN ON THE WILD SIDE AT SAFARI ZOO RUN 2012

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Singapore, 27 December 2011 – Award-winning parks Singapore Zoo and Night Safari will be transformed into a race course for Safari Zoo Run 2012, an annual run that takes participants through its scenic paths and interesting animal exhibits.

The run will be held on 5 February 2012 and is organised in its fourth consecutive year. The Safari Zoo Run was conceptualised to commemorate the death anniversary of orang utan Ah Meng, one of Singapore’s most adored animal personalities.

Energetic little ones and adults can participate in the 2.8km and 12km competitive run while families looking for a fun, healthy activity amidst the wilderness can take part in the 6km non-competitive Safari Zoo Fun Run. Unlike previous years, Safari Zoo Run 2012 will flag off participants in the morning instead of late afternoon.

This run not only offers families and individuals the opportunity to enjoy the wonders of the parks in a different way, it also aids in wildlife conservation as part of the proceeds will be donated to the care of endangered animals in the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.

Each participant will receive an exclusive Safari Zoo Run 2XU dry-fit tee (worth $55 for adults and $29.90 for kids) amongst other attractive goodies and discounts. In addition, all runners will each receive an exclusive animal-motif finisher medal and a one-day entry to the Singapore Zoo on the day of the run.

Attractive prizes worth up to $2,000 will be awarded to the top three winners in each category in the competitive segment.

Early bird registration is now open until 31 December 2011. For more information, please log on to www.safarizoorun.com.sg.

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VISUALLY IMPAIRED GUESTS TO JURONG BIRD PARK CAN NOW ‘SEE’ MUCH MORE

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EXHIBITS FITTED WITH BRAILLE WILL GREATLY ENHANCE THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THE AVIAN WORLD

Singapore, 21 December 2011 – Launched last Sunday, visually impaired guests can now look forward to ‘seeing’ more of Jurong Bird Park and learning about the winged animals which inhabit the skies with newly-installed Braille interpretives.

Ten of the Bird Park’s most popular exhibits have been chosen to be the sites of these interpretives; Birds of Prey, Flamingo Pool, Hornbill & Toucans, Lory Loft, Macaw Island, Mandarin Ducks, Dinosaur Descendents, Pelican Cove, Penguin Coast and World of Darkness. These exhibits were also selected with the beneficiaries’ needs in mind, making sure that the latter get to experience as much of the world’s largest Bird Park as possible.

The Braille interpretives’ text and information took the Bird Park’s Education team slightly more than a year to conceptualize and research, while the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) helped to produce the Braille as well as the ‘pictures’ of the birds so that the visually impaired can ‘feel’ what the particular bird is like. This collaboration ensured that the interpretives would be useful to the beneficiaries. “We are very excited to launch this project, and we are now able to conduct educational group tours catering to these special guests. This strengthens one of our three key pillars, namely, Education, and we hope that the Braille interpretives provide the visually challenged with another means by which to explore the very vibrant and interesting avian world,” said Ms May Lok, Director, Education, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

As part of the launch, NTU’s Welfare Services Club brought a group of 50 beneficiaries and their families from SAVH to Jurong Bird Park. It was also an annual Christmas and Family Day event for the visually impaired with the theme ‘JIA.’ Interpreted as ‘family’ in Mandarin, JIA also symbolises Joy In Abundance, which means that having a family is a blessing to be joyful for.

Beneficiaries spent a whole day at the Bird Park going through 10 different stations learning more about the birds at each pit stop. At selected stations, they also experienced feeding the birds. One key stop was made at the Bird Discovery Centre, a living classroom where they touched and felt bird specimens, their feet, feathers and eggs, and obtained an even greater understanding of the bird world. To better equip the NTU student volunteers with avian knowledge, Bird Park’s Education team trained the students based on the 10 exhibits fitted with Braille, so that they could in turn impart the information to the beneficiaries.

Commented Mr Tan Guan Heng, President, Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, “This initiative by Jurong Bird Park to provide signages in Braille is a demonstration of how the Bird Park is bringing more awareness about the needs of the visually handicapped. We hope that others will emulate the Bird Park. Thank you, Jurong Bird Park!”

For more information on Jurong Bird Park and the educational opportunities available, please visit http://www.birdpark.com.sg and http://education.birdpark.com.sg

Eugene Ng, 13, having a feel of the fairy penguin specimen at the Bird Discovery Center.

Eugene Ng, 13, having a feel of the Mandarin duck specimen at the Bird Discovery Center.

Eugene Ng, 13, having a feel of the African fish eagle’s claws specimen at the Bird Discovery Center.

Eugene Ng, 13, having a feel of an Ostrich egg at the Bird Discovery Center.

Eugene Ng, 13, running his hands through an ostrich feather, marveling at its softness.

Eugene Ng, 13, reading the ostrich Braille interpretative at Dino Descendants.

Eugene’s fingers moving nimbly over the Braille, learning about ostriches at Dino Descendants.

Lionel Tan, 15, picturing how a pelican looks like by touching the picture of a pelican in Braille, at Pelican Cove.

Mohammed Ratu, 19, in delight as she experiences having bee-eaters and starlings fly down and grab meal worms out of her hand at African Waterfall Aviary.

Mohammed Ratu, 19, reading about lories at Lory Loft, as a lory looks on.

Lionel Tan, 15, experiencing feeding a lory at Lory Loft.

NIGHT SAFARI CELEBRATES FESTIVE SEASON WITH BIRTH OF BABY GIRAFFE

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Singapore, 20 December 2011 – The world’s first Night Safari welcomed a lanky surprise this festive season – a 1.88m tall baby giraffe born on December 5, 2011.

The male calf got on his feet just moments after a six-foot drop from his mother, Dobeni, which gave birth standing up. The birth is the first after three years. The 75-kg baby, which is still unnamed, is the third South African giraffe born at the Night Safari. His father, Pongola, and mother Dobeni are also proud parents of female giraffe Kayin, that was born at the park in 2008.

“We hope that the birth of this South African giraffe sub-species at Night Safari will continue to increase the gene pool of the species for global zoological institutions through animal exchanges and breeding programmes,” said Mr. Subash Chandran, Assistant Director, Zoology, Night Safari.

Although the giraffe is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Least Concern, its range in Africa has been reduced due to habitat degradation. There are nine subspecies of giraffe, which differ in size, coloration, pattern and range. Some subspecies are classified as endangered.

“In the wild, young giraffes often fall prey to lions, leopards and hyenas. It is estimated that only a small percentage of baby giraffes reach adulthood. We are happy to see that our healthy calf is suckling from its mother and galloping in its yard. The first few weeks are very important milestones in a giraffe’s growth,” said Mr. Chandran.

Giraffes are the tallest land animals, growing to a height of between 4.7m and 5.3m. The tallest giraffe in the world recorded a height of 6.1metres. Females are usually shorter than their male counterparts. Being crepuscular, they are active at dawn and dusk and sleep approximately four hours a day. With a flexible upper lip and a long tongue, the giraffe can extend its tongue as far as 53cm to grasp its food of mainly acacia leaves.

Being social animals, wild giraffes exist in loose herds of 10 to 20 individuals. Unknown to many, giraffes, despite their lanky necks, share a similar number of neck bones with humans and mice — seven.

Visitors can visit the baby giraffe at its Night Safari exhibit by February 2012. For more
information on the giraffes at the Night Safari, please visit http://www.nightsafari.com.sg

21-year-old South African giraffe, Dobeni, gently nuzzles her 1.88m tall baby at the Night Safari.

Night Safari’s latest giraffe calf suckles from his mother, 21-year-old Dobeni.

An affectionate mother, Dobeni gently strokes her newborn at the Night Safari. Dobeni stands at approximately 4m in height.

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