HUMAN RACE INTRIGUES ANIMALS AT SAFARI ZOO RUN 2014

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- Over 8000 runners show up in race to pay homage to the late Ah Meng, Singapore Zoo’s orang utan as elephants, lions, and rhinoceros watch on.

Singapore, 16 February 2014 – Unlike the usual lazy Sunday morning spent lounging in the treetops, the orang utans in Singapore Zoo watched curiously as runners raced in the Safari Zoo Run 2014, which was conceived six years ago to commemorate their most famous matriarch, Ah Meng.

Over 8000 runners arrived at Singapore Zoo for the run to pay homage to the late Ah Meng, one of Singapore’s most loved and iconic animal personalities, which died of old age in February 2008. The race spans across Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, taking runners through lush green paths and enthralling animal exhibits.

The Safari Zoo Run also aids in wildlife conservation; a portion of the proceeds from this year’s race will go towards the care of endangered animals in Night Safari and Singapore Zoo.

(Centre, on stage) Guest-of-Honour Mr Ching Wei Hong, Chairman, National Family Council, flags off the annual Safari Zoo Run. He said, “I’m delighted to see the many families and happy faces today participating in the Safari Zoo Run. These families have created special family moments today, which will stay with them for life. This is in essence what we hope to promote through ‘Families for Life’ – to encourage families to spend more time together and strengthen family bonds. The Safari Zoo Run is an excellent event for families, and the Families for Life Council hopes to work with more like-minded partners to create opportunities for family bonding.” PHOTO CREDITS: PINK APPLE

(Centre, on stage) Guest-of-Honour Mr Ching Wei Hong, Chairman, National Family Council, flags off the annual Safari Zoo Run. He said, “I’m delighted to see the many families and happy faces today participating in the Safari Zoo Run. These families have created special family moments today, which will stay with them for life. This is in essence what we hope to promote through ‘Families for Life’ – to encourage families to spend more time together and strengthen family bonds. The Safari Zoo Run is an excellent event for families, and the Families for Life Council hopes to work with more like-minded partners to create opportunities for family bonding.” PHOTO CREDITS: PINK APPLE

A spirited crowd over 8000-strong, which included these enthusiastic children, participated in the Safari Zoo Run 2014, and ran amidst the lush greenery of Singapore Zoo and Night Safari as lions, rhinoceros and elephants, among other wild creatures, watched on. PHOTO CREDITS: PINK APPLE

A spirited crowd over 8000-strong, which included these enthusiastic children, participated in the Safari Zoo Run 2014, and ran amidst the lush greenery of Singapore Zoo and Night Safari as lions, rhinoceros and elephants, among other wild creatures, watched on. PHOTO CREDITS: PINK APPLE

SINGAPORE ZOO CELEBRATES 40 YEARS OF LIFE ON THE WILD SIDE

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Homegrown zoo among pioneers of open concept wildlife attractions.
Search is on for people who share Zoo’s 27 June birthday for special surprise.

Singapore, 5 March 2013Singapore Zoo, which ranks among the world’s best zoos, reaches another significant milestone this year as it turns 40; and the wildlife institution’s own growth and success story mirror closely that of the nation that bore it.

“As a young zoo in an equally young nation, turning 40 is monumental, and a time for us to both reflect and look ahead. We have learnt much along the way, and grown with our visitors who have come to appreciate and recognise our efforts in conservation, education, and recreation,” said Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore. “We hope, in our way of striving to provide exciting and meaningful experiences, we have managed to inspire in our visitors an appreciation of nature and wildlife.”

Built in the budding years of Singapore’s independence, Singapore Zoo was the brainchild of a very young team led by Dr Ong Swee Law. Although armed with little knowledge of zoos, their unreserved gusto and foresight propelled them ahead and Singapore Zoo has been a hit since its opening in 1973, with its pioneering open concept and its ‘people-friendliness’.

Over the years, Singapore Zoo became a major recreational and educational centre that grew up alongside the nation and her people, and the millions of tourists that arrive on the island. The zoo is an evergreen destination which many visitors discover as children with their parents or during school excursions. As years pass, they re-visit as parents when their own little ones are growing up, and eventually they return as grandparents with their grandchildren.

In 1994, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, then Senior Minister of Singapore, said, “The Singapore Zoo makes Singapore a better place for children and their parents.”

Echoing that sentiment even today, Ms Chiang continued, “Generations of Singaporeans have walked the paths of Singapore Zoo since we opened in 1973, supporting us and loving our family members like Ah Meng, Inuka, and Omar as their own. Many visited first as schoolchildren, then as adults with their own families. We are honoured to be a part of Singapore life, and we do hope that our visitors will continue the tradition of introducing their children, and even grandchildren, to the wonders of wildlife.”

To commemorate the momentous 40th year, Singapore Zoo will be rolling out celebratory activities from now till the end of the year. Among the most exciting is the search for people born on 27 June 1973 to join the Singapore Zoo Birthday Bash, 40% discounts off admission prices for people turning 40 in 2013, and more. Details of some of the upcoming activities:

  1. The Wild Search for a 40th Birthday Buddy!: As part of the 40th birthday celebrations, Singapore Zoo is on the lookout for people who share her birthday on 27 June 1973. People born on that date are invited to email corpcomms.szg@wrs.com.sg and Singapore Zoo will invite them for a very special Singapore Zoo Birthday Bash, and take them on an exclusive tour with a zoo pioneer.
  2. Turning 40 in 2013: From 1 March until 31 December 2013, Singaporeans and Permanent Residents who turn 40 this year can enjoy 40% off admission ticket prices for themselves and four other friends when they visit during their birthday month.
  3. 40th Birthday Bash Zoo Hunt: Over the 16-17 March school holiday weekend, the young (and young at heart) can take part in the 40th Birthday Bash Zoo Hunt. Participants get the chance to complete a trail that takes them through some of the Zoo’s most notable sites.

Singapore Zoo is one of four wildlife attractions managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, with the others being Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and the upcoming River Safari. The Zoo is also a designated rescued wildlife centre by the governing authority.

For more information and the latest updates on Singapore Zoo’s 40th anniversary celebrations, visit www.zoo.com.sg, or Singapore Zoo’s Facebook page.

Many Singaporeans will remember their first visit to Singapore Zoo. In a file photo, children visiting Singapore Zoo during its early years seem to imitate the apes they see before them, or is it the other way around?

Many Singaporeans will remember their first visit to
Singapore Zoo. In a file photo, children visiting
Singapore Zoo during its early years seem to imitate
the apes they see before them, or is it the other way
around?

Although Ah Meng, famed orang utan and Singapore Zoo icon for many years has passed on, her legacy lives on in her descendants; here, her granddaughter Chomel proudly carries her son Bino. Close to 40 orang utans have been born in Singapore Zoo

Although Ah Meng, famed orang utan and Singapore
Zoo icon for many years has passed on, her legacy
lives on in her descendants; here, her granddaughter
Chomel proudly carries her son Bino. Close to 40
orang utans have been born in Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo has welcomed numerous critically endangered cotton top tamarin babies and exhibits this species in a free-ranging environment at Rainforest Walk. These feisty and fearless primates are the first residents visitors see when they enter the park.

Singapore Zoo has welcomed numerous critically
endangered cotton top tamarin babies and exhibits this
species in a free-ranging environment at Rainforest
Walk. These feisty and fearless primates are the first
residents visitors see when they enter the park.

Visitors are often awed when faced with a troop of more than 90 Hamadryas baboons at the award-winning Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia exhibit, in surroundings that mirror the dramatic rocky landscape reminiscent of the majestic rugged terrain that the exhibit is named after.

Visitors are often awed when faced with a troop of more
than 90 Hamadryas baboons at the award-winning Great
Rift Valley of Ethiopia exhibit, in surroundings that mirror
the dramatic rocky landscape reminiscent of the majestic
rugged terrain that the exhibit is named after.

WOMENFOLK AT SINGAPORE ZOO CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

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GRANDDAUGHTER OF SINGAPORE ZOO’S FAMED ORANG UTAN AH MENG FOLLOWS IN HER NURTURING FOOTSTEPS

Singapore, 8 March 2012 — This International Women’s Day, Singapore Zoo pays tribute to the fairer sex, albeit not of the two-legged kind. Of particular interest is female Sumatran orang utan Chomel who, following in her famed grandmother Ah Meng’s footsteps, is caring for an orang utan baby that is not her own.

Although a first time mother, Chomel has always shown nurturing qualities. In her younger days, she would often be seen helping the younger orang utans navigate the free-ranging areas with ease, teaching them how to test their weight on the branches before moving ahead. She thus became a natural choice for surrogate mother, when keepers made the decision to remove the baby from her mother Sayang, who was gravely ill. Incidentally, Sayang is Chomel’s aunt, which means Chomel is fostering her cousin.

“When we took the baby away, Chomel was outside Sayang’s den. The baby cried as it had never been away from its mother, and Chomel’s instinct was to immediately reach for her. We cautiously gave the baby to her, and she held her close. That’s when we knew things would be okay,” explained Alagappasamy Chellaiyah, Assistant Director, Zoology, Singapore Zoo.

“Like Ah Meng, after a few days of fostering, Chomel actually started to show more loving care to her foster child. During feeding, if the baby cries, she quickly offers the food she is eating. During interactions with visitors, she happily allows Bino, her own son, to explore on his own while holding the adopted one close to her. This is truly a heartening sight to witness, and it almost feels like Ah Meng is back with us” continued Mr Chellaiyah, who was Ah Meng’s primary caretaker during her residence in the Zoo.

Chomel bears a striking resemblance to her grandmother, whose name was synonymous with Singapore Zoo for almost 35 years before she passed on of old age in Feb 2008. Ah Meng too cared for two young orang utans whose mothers were unable to look after them; Anita, a Bornean female still residing here, and a Bornean male called Inoki which now lives in Taiping Zoo, Malaysia.

To mark International Women’s Day the Zoo held a private naming ceremony for the baby, which turns one today. She has been christened Ishta, which means the cherished or desired one.

“International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s and celebrates the achievements of women everywhere. Chomel is certainly one of our inspiring females and Singapore Zoo wanted to pay tribute to her this momentous day. It’s made doubly special as it also happens to be Ishta’s birthday” said Isabel Cheng, Director, Marketing and Communications, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Sumatran orang utans are critically endangered and wild populations are said to number fewer than 7,000 individuals. Their Bornean cousins are also considered endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Most recent estimates place their numbers at about 50,000.

Singapore Zoo, home to 26 orang utans, has an excellent worldwide reputation of having the largest group of captive orang utans in a social setting which also features the world’s only free-ranging habitat. It contributes to the conservation of Asia’s only great ape through captive breeding. A total of 37 orang utans have been successfully bred since the Zoo opened in 1973. Of these, some have been sent to various zoos in Malaysia, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka as part of a global exchange program me.

Chomel proudly shows off her babies: Bino, her own son, relaxes on his mother’s right arm, while adopted female Ishta clings comfortably to her left. PHOTO CREDITS: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Portrait of a loving mother: Chomel, with Bino on her shoulder and Ishta cuddled in her embracing arms. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

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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WRS HOLDS FACEBOOK CONTEST TO NAME AH MENG’S FIRST GREAT GRANDSON

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Singapore, 14 March 2011 – The legacy of Singapore Zoo’s most iconic resident, Ah Meng, continues to grow with the recent birth of her first great grandson earlier this year. Chomel, Ah Meng’s granddaughter, gave birth to the male orang utan on 31 Jan at about 4.20am. Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is inviting Singaporeans to pick his name via an online voting system on Facebook.

The Zoology team at the Singapore Zoo has shortlisted four names for the newborn and is asking members of the public to choose their favourite. The names are:

1. Ah Boy: A common term of endearment for many boys at home in Singapore
2. Bino: Meaning ‘Brave’ in Bahasa Indonesia
3. Terang: Meaning ‘Bright’ in Malay
4. Xing Xing: In Chinese, this means both ‘star’ and ‘ape

The contest on the WRS Facebook page is open to everyone who is a fan of the page. Voting will end 31 March 2011 and the name which earns the most number of ‘likes’ on Facebook will be the chosen name for the baby orang utan.

A lucky participant will be selected at random from the winning votes and will win a dining experience for five at Singapore Zoo’s Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife. The winner will also have the opportunity to take an exclusive photo with mother and baby.

The little orang utan made his public debut in February during Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife with mother Chomel, and will make regular appearances at this special wildlife breakfast programme. Singapore Zoo, operated by WRS which also runs other award-winning parks such as the Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, and the upcoming river-themed attraction River Safari, is the only zoo in the world that offers this unique dine-with-wildlife experience, which allows visitors to get up close to animals like orang utans and snakes during a breakfast buffet.

In celebration of the baby orang utan’s appearance on Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife, one child dines for free with every two paying adults from now until 20 March 2011.

The newborn is the 36th orang utan and the fourth descendant of Ah Meng to be born at Singapore Zoo. Keepers say he is a very amiable and expressive baby, and always looks like he has a smile on his face.

A total of 26 of these charismatic apes live at the zoo and are displayed as a large social group in a spacious naturalistic enclosure. Singapore Zoo is the first zoo in the world to create free-ranging areas for these arboreal creatures to swing, climb and play. These exhibits comprise tall trees, thick branches, abundant foliage and vines which replicate the animals’ natural environment.

There are two species of orang utan – Bornean and Sumatran. The population of Bornean orang utan is estimated at 55,000 while there are only 7,500 Sumatran orang utan left in the wild, making this species critically endangered. Ah Meng was a female Sumatran orang utan that was smuggled illegally into Singapore and given a home at the Singapore Zoo in 1971. She lived to a ripe old age of 48 (or approximately 95 orang utan years) and was the first to host the Zoo’s Breakfast with Ah Meng programme.

To vote, please visit:
http://www.facebook.com/wrs.sg

Chomel gently cradles her son, the first Sumatran orang utan to be born at Singapore Zoo in more than a decade. Photo courtesy of Bjorn Olesen

Chomel and her newborn

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