Wildlife Reserves Singapore marks World Animal Day with tribute to babies born at Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo.

Singapore, 3 October 2013Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) marks World Animal Day with a presentation of furry, feathery and slithery babies born in Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo. The four parks saw more than 400 animal babies born between January and August this year, charming visitors with their adorable antics.

Among the most exciting births at WRS is that of Asia’s first giant river otter baby at River Safari. Born on 10 August, the unnamed male pup now weighs 1.6kg and measures 60cm. While it may be small now, giant otters can grow to an incredible length of 1.8m and weigh up to 34kg. River Safari is the first zoological institution in Asia to feature the endangered giant river otter, the largest of the world’s 13 otter species. Found only in South American river systems, giant otters are ferocious predators that hunt piranhas, anacondas and even caimans, earning them the title “river wolves”. Often hunted extensively for their fur and threatened by habitat loss, these river giants are now amongst the rarest otters in the world.

Since its birth on 10 August, Asia’s first giant river otter baby and his mother have been left alone in their den to bond. In a few weeks’ time, the pup will enter River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit where his parents will teach him how to swim. The parents, Carlos and Carmen, are from Germany’s Hamburg and Duisburg Zoo respectively, and arrived in Singapore in August 2012 as part of an animal exchange and breeding programme.

Since its birth on 10 August, Asia’s first giant river otter baby and his mother have been left alone in their den to bond. In a few weeks’ time, the pup will enter River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit where his parents will teach him how to swim. The parents, Carlos and Carmen, are from Germany’s Hamburg and Duisburg Zoo respectively, and arrived in Singapore in August 2012 as part of an animal exchange and breeding programme.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “We have maintained an excellent record of success in our captive breeding programme, and visitors to our parks are often pleasantly surprised to find adorable animal babies. The landmark birth of Asia’s first giant river otter baby represents the culmination of efforts and dedication of our zoology team in adopting and maintaining the highest standards of husbandry. With increasing threats such as habitat destruction and poaching, captive breeding programmes play a pivotal role in conserving threatened species for our future generations.”

Malayan tapir Putri, born on 3 June, enjoys her forest floor playtime at Night Safari. The Malayan tapir is one of the most endangered animals in Southeast Asia. Populations are declining due to poaching and habitat loss from deforestation for agricultural purposes.

Malayan tapir Putri, born on 3 June, enjoys her forest floor playtime at Night Safari. The Malayan tapir is one of the most endangered animals in Southeast Asia. Populations are declining due to poaching and habitat loss from deforestation for agricultural purposes.

Aside from the birth of the giant otter, over 100 species were born or hatched in the four WRS parks, of which 37 are classified as threatened in the *IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. These include the orang utan, manatee, hyacinth macaw and Malayan tapir. Through the years, WRS parks have exchanged many of these animals with other reputable zoos for breeding purposes.

*International Union for Conservation of Nature