November 20, 2011
Asian elephant, birthday cake, captive breeding programme, carrots, chawang, CITES, convention on international trade in endangered species, elephant-shaped mini cakes, endangered, exclusive tea party, first birthday, gourmet safari express, ice, International Union For Conservation of Nature, nandong, Night Safari, nila utama, palembang prince, sang raja, sang wira, singapore, tea-time treats, wheat
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
One-year-old baby elephant Nila Utama takes a walk with his mother, Sri Nandong, at the Night Safari.
November 13, 2011
Singapore Zoo, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund
art, Asian elephant, awareness, conservation, coolpix, education, elephant parade, endangered, exhibition, global, mad about elephants, MINDS, movement for the intellectually disabled of singapore, Nikon, photography contest, sculptures, Singapore Zoo, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, wildlife reserves singapore conservation fund, WRS, wrs facebook fan page, wrscf
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.
April 4, 2011
Asian elephant, breeding programme, chawang, malayan sun bear, Night Safari, nila utama, orangutan, sang nila utama, sang raja, sang wira, sri nandong, wildlife conservation society, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, WRS
Singapore, 4 April 2011 – This April, Night Safari visitors will get to see the park’s first baby elephant in nine years, when the five-month-old calf makes his first public appearance. Born on 23 November last year, this latest addition to Night Safari’s brood of endangered Asian elephants has been named ‘Nila Utama’, after the Sumatran prince Sang Nila Utama, who founded the kingdom of Singapura in 1324.
The bold and inquisitive elephant was sired by Chawang, the sole bull elephant at Night Safari, which is managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS). Now 125cm tall and weighing a hefty 318 kg, it is the first elephant to be born at both Night Safari and Singapore Zoo in almost a decade. Visitors can witness the close bond between mother and baby at the Asian elephant exhibit from April onwards.
“Our four-month-old calf is growing up to be strong, curious, and independent. He is not afraid to leave his mother’s side to explore his surroundings and we have seen the little one even getting into the pool of water himself. Nila Utama is like our very own ‘Singapore son’ and we are excited for Singaporeans and tourists to get acquainted with him. WRS hopes his birth will go towards sustaining and increasing the population of Asian elephants both in captivity and in the wild,” said Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO of WRS.
Nila Utama is the 11th addition to the family of Asian elephants at WRS, which also runs the Jurong Bird Park, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming River Safari. His mother, Sri Nandong, has raised two other males, Sang Raja (‘noble one’) in 1999 and Sang Wira (‘brave one’) in 2001.
WRS runs successful breeding programmes across all its parks, and has done particularly well with breeding endangered animals such as the pangolin, Malayan sun bear, the orang utans and many others. It works with global partners to increase the gene pool of captive animals through various exchange programmes. For example, Chawang’s semen has been sent to zoos in Australia to help facilitate artificial inseminations with elephants there.
The population of Asian elephants in the wild is dwindling fast – even more so than their better recognised counterpart, the African elephant. An estimated 30,000 to 50,000 are left in the forests of India, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Habitat loss poses the most serious threat to the future of these magnificent creatures, as a large part of their native homes are being logged and cleared for urban and agricultural development resulting in human – elephant conflict. WRS is working with Wildlife Conservation Society in mitigating this in Sumatra, Indonesia.
Photo courtesy of Bjorn Olesen
Photo courtesy of Bjorn Olesen
December 5, 2010
Asian elephant, baby elephant, captive breeding program, chawang, cologne zoo, endangered, habitat loss, malayan sun bear, nandong, Night Safari, nocturnal animals, orang utan, pangolin, sang raja, sang wira
Singapore, 3 December 2010 – Night Safari, the world’s first wildlife park for nocturnal animals, was the birth place of a baby giant recently. The first elephant to be born in nine years, it arrived on 23 November 2010 at an auspicious time of 8.08am.
Considered large for a newborn at 1.5 times the average size, the 151-kg calf arrived after 3 hours of labour, making it the fifth elephant to be born at the Night Safari. His mother, Nandong, is 25 years old and is also the mother of the previous two elephant babies – Sang Raja which is currently in Cologne Zoo and nine-year-old Sang Wira which still resides at the Night Safari. The baby elephant is sired by Chawang, the only bull elephant in Night Safari and Singapore Zoo’s collection of Asian elephants. The birth brings the total number of Asian elephants at Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), parent company of Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming River Safari, to 11.
The active calf, which has yet to be named, is already developing a character of its own. While most baby elephants stick close to their mothers in the early stages, zookeepers have noticed that this brave little one likes to wander from his mother to explore his surroundings.
“These elephants have such unique personalities. They are highly intelligent and self- aware,” said Mr Kumar Pillai, Director, Zoology, Night Safari. “We have been fortunate enough to witness 5 elephant births at our parks, as there can be a 4-5 year interval before a female will breed again. Her pregnancy lasts about 22 months, and she will not mate until the first calf is weaned, and this takes up to 2-3 years.”
Asian elephants are endangered – even more so than their better recognised counterpart, the African elephant – with an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 left in the wild. They are found in the forests of India, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. Many of them are widely domesticated and are used for forestry, harvesting, or ceremonial purposes.
Habitat loss poses the most serious threat to the future of these magnificent creatures, as a large part of their native homes are being logged and cleared for urban and agricultural development.
WRS has a very successful captive breeding programme and has bred other endangered animals such as the pangolin, Malayan sun bear, the orang utans and many others.
For a video on the birth of the elephant, please click here. The video shows the mother giving birth to the baby and the natural process of the adult elephants removing the amniotic bladder from the newborn.
The young 151-kg calf is the fifth elephant to be born in the Night Safari.
Nandong, the 25-year-old mother, watches closely as the team of zookeepers and vets from Wildlife Reserves Singapore weighs the calf.
May 21, 2010
River Safari, Wildlife Reserves Singapore
amazon, anaconda, animal species, animal specimens, arctic, Asian elephant, Bali mynah, captive breeding programmes, climate-controlled, congo, critical endangered animals, deadly river creatures, electric eel, first in asia, fresh water animals, freshwater aquatic animals, freshwater systems, frozen caves, ganges, giant catfish, giant freshwater stingray, giant panda, giant river otter, icy pools, inuka, mandai, mekong, mississippi, multi-sensory experience, murray, nile, orang utan, permafrost, plant species, polar bear, raccoon dog, rich biodiversity, River Safari, sheba, tanuki, threatened species, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, world's largest collection, world's largest repository, WRS, yangtze
GROUND-BREAKING CEREMONY FOR ASIA’S FIRST RIVER-THEMED WILDLIFE PARK TO BE HELD TODAY
Singapore, 21 May 2010 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), the parent company of award-winning attractions Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming River Safari, celebrates a significant milestone today with the ground-breaking of Asia’s first river-themed wildlife park.
River Safari, which will be the world’s largest repository of fresh water animals and many critically endangered animals like the giant panda, marks a new chapter of growth for the 10-year-old company, bringing it closer to its vision of being the foremost wildlife institution in the world.
WRS’ three attractions – Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo – attracted 3.6 million visitors in 2009, and the numbers have been growing every year. These parks rank among the best leisure destinations in Singapore and are well-known for their successful captive breeding programmes for endangered species such as the Bali mynah, Asian elephant and orang utan.
“We aim to offer the best wildlife experience in Asia and part of this effort is the expansion of our unique product offerings,” said Ms Claire Chiang, WRS’ Chair. “Being a first in Asia, River Safari will not only bring the rich biodiversity of the freshwater systems around the world right to our doorstep, it will be home to many endangered and threatened species, which we hope to preserve through our captive breeding programmes.”
River Safari is expected to draw at least 820,000 visitors annually. The 12-hectare park located between the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari in Mandai, is scheduled to open in the first half of 2012, and will house one of the world’s largest collections of freshwater aquatic animals, with more than 300 plant species, 500 animal species and over 5,000 individual animal specimens.
Comprising boat rides and displays of freshwater habitats of the famous rivers of the world like the Mississippi, Congo, Nile, Ganges, Murray, Mekong and Yangtze, the River Safari will provide a close-up, multi-sensory experience for visitors. For example, the indigenous wildlife at the Amazon River will be showcased at the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit, which will be home to deadly river creatures like the anaconda and electric eel, as well as the elusive giant river otter, one of the most endangered animals in South America.
One of the star attractions – the giant pandas – will live in a specially designed, climate-controlled exhibit along the “Yangtze River”. Different species of bamboo, which is the panda’s staple diet, will be planted throughout this 1,600 sqm landscaped enclosure. Sheba and Inuka, the Singapore Zoo’s pair of mother-and-son polar bears, will also have a new home at River Safari’s Frozen Tundra, which comprises over 1,400 sqm of living space that will mirror conditions in the Arctic. Other animals like the tanuki, a raccoon dog native to Japan, will join the polar bears at this new exhibit, which will feature permafrost, frozen caves, and icy pools of water.
“Biodiversity in freshwater habitats is disappearing at a faster rate than marine and forest environments. By bringing visitors up close to the fascinating underwater animals and terrestrial animals that live in such ecosystems, we aim to highlight how our survival is dependent on their well-being,” said Ms Fanny Lai, WRS’ Group CEO. “We expect people to be awed by many of these strange and interesting fresh water creatures including the ‘giants’ of river habitats. These include the giant catfish and the giant freshwater stingray from Mekong river, giant river otters from Amazon river; and not forgetting the giant pandas from China. All of these charismatic animals are disappearing at an alarming rate due to habitat destruction.
The ground-breaking ceremony this morning will be held at one of the actual development sites fronting the reservoir and will be graced by Mr S Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and Education.