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.

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE AND NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SERVICES IN JOINT COLLABORATION TO EXTEND FREE ADMISSION FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

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Singapore, March 15, 2010 – As part of its ongoing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) collaborated with the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) to extend free admission to its parks for persons with special needs and seniors with dementia who are holding the NCSS Developmental Disability Registry (DDR) Identity Card.

All 2,000 DDR ID cardholders from 88 programmes run by Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) will be able to visit WRS’ three parks – Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo. Up to two accompanying caregivers will also enjoy 20% discount off admission.

WRS is the first organisation to collaborate with NCSS to extend free admission to its parks throughout the year for persons with special needs and seniors with dementia issued with the DDR ID cards. WRS operates under the principle that its parks are accessible to everyone living in Singapore. As such, prior to this scheme, WRS accorded free admission to its parks for VWOs catering to people with special needs.

“WRS is pleased that the collaboration with NCSS has come to pass. We have strived to be an all inclusive organisation to cater to the different sectors of the local community by putting in place necessary infrastructure for residents with disabilities. In 2006, Singapore Zoo introduced Braille interpretives to 10 of its most popular exhibits; Night Safari has in place audio interpretives, and all our three parks are wheelchair accessible,” said Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Enhancing the Lives of Persons with Special Needs
“NCSS proactively works with VWOs, the community and corporate partners to identify the needs of persons with special needs to help them integrate into society and live independently. We are pleased that WRS shares this common goal and has been a supportive partner in bringing about this incentive to a special group of people in our community. We hope more organisations will join us in enhancing the lives of persons with special needs,” said Ms Fatima Mustafa, Deputy Director, Service Development Division, NCSS.

NCSS urges persons with special needs and seniors with dementia to register for a DDR ID card through their VWOs and agencies to receive appropriate intervention when the need arises and to enjoy the cost savings offered by partners of the benefit schemes.

The DDR ID card serves as a form of identification and captures useful information like the contact details of the VWOs and next-of-kin. In July last year, NCSS launched the DDR ID card benefit scheme to provide cardholders access to services and facilities at affordable rates. Please refer to Annex A for more information.

Launch of Initiative
To mark the launch of the programme, WRS will be hosting 10 DDR ID cardholders and their accompanying minders to the Night Safari for dinner at Ulu Ulu Safari Restaurant and a tour of the park this evening.

Barakathali Bin Shajahan enjoys a furry moment with Mei Mei the Asian small-clawed otter before tucking into a sumptuous dinner at Ulu Ulu Safari Restaurant.

Kamisah Bte Ramlan pleasantly surprised at how soft and velvety Mei Mei the Asian small-clawed otter feels.

Mdm Heng Kwee Huang coaxes her son Lim Ching Siang to have a feel of the green iguana during the animal appearance session.

Adam Chan sneaks a peek at the camera while posing with the green iguana. Looking on are his mother and grandmother.

A brave Mdm Elizabeth Koh also enjoyed interacting with the reptile. Her caregiver Mr Victor Sim said having DDR ID card allowed him to take his wife out to more places more often, which has resulted in a happier and more radiant Mdm Koh!

WRS Group CEO Ms Fanny Lai welcomes the DDR ID cardholders to Night Safari and hopes that more caregivers will take the opportunity to visit the three parks with their loved ones with special needs.

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