YOUNG PRINCE OF NIGHT SAFARI TURNS ONE

1 Comment

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 http://www.nightsafari.com.sg

One-year-old baby elephant Nila Utama takes a walk with his mother, Sri Nandong, at the Night Safari.

SINGAPORE BRED, CRITICALLY ENDANGERED BALI MYNAHS RETURN HOME

Leave a comment

SUCCESSFUL CAPTIVE BREEDING BY JURONG BIRD PARK PROMOTES REINTRODUCTION OF PROGENIES BACK INTO THE WILD

Singapore, 27 July 2011 – It’s a call for celebration as three Bali mynahs bred at the world’s largest bird park have returned to their native home in Indonesia.

As part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore’ joint conservation programme with Begawan Foundation, 2 male and 1 female three-year-old Bali Mynahs, successfully bred at Jurong Bird Park have been sent to Bali to increase the gene pool and boost the population of these critically endangered birds.

“We are very excited about the reintroduction of these lovely birds in Bali. We have been breeding them successfully since 1990 and 10 of them are in our collection now. Captive breeding programmes like ours will ensure the survival of such precious wildlife for future generations,” said Mr Raja Segran, General Curator, Jurong Bird Park.

“We are very proud to be working together with Jurong Bird Park’s parent organization, Wildlife Reserves Singapore. The arrival of the three Bali starlings from Jurong Bird Park adds to the professionalism of our breeding programme, and ensures improved breeding stock for future release on the mainland,” said Mr Bradley T. Gardner, Founder, Begawan Foundation.

The Bali Mynahs from Jurong Bird Park will be paired at Begawan Foundation’s Breeding Center and their progenies will be released into the wild.

The Bali Mynah, or better known as the Bali Starling was registered as an endangered bird species by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1970 and is now classified as one of the most critically endangered animals in the world.

Bali Mynahs, the only animals endemic to the island of Bali, are famous for their clear white feathers, black-tipped wings and vivid blue skin around their eyes. They are often captured for the illegal pet trade. Coupled with rapid habitat destruction, this species is close to extinction in the wild with approximately fewer than 50 of them left in the wild.

Photo courtesy of Bjorn Olesen


ABUNDANCE OF BABIES AT SINGAPORE ZOO

Leave a comment

INCLUDES ENDANGERED SPECIES SUCH AS COTTON-TOP TAMARIN, PYGMY HIPPOPOTAMUS AND DOUC LANGUR

Singapore, 31 January 2011 – The year ended with a bumper brood of babies at the Singapore Zoo with nearly 300 births and hatchings in 2010, which include endangered species like the cotton-top tamarin, pygmy hippopotamus and the Douc langur.

Considered one of the world’s top 25 most endangered primates and classified as critically-endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the cotton-top tamarin is one of the few species that survives better in captivity than in the wild. Despite protection from the international laws, there are only about 2,000 adult cotton-top tamarins left in the wild in South America. Eleven cotton-top tamarins were born at the zoo last year. The park now has a thriving population of 30.

The Singapore Zoo also celebrated its sole pygmy hippopotamus birth for the year in October. This species is listed as endangered by the IUCN. Similar to the cotton-top tamarins, the survival of this reclusive mammal in captivity is higher than in the wild. With the latest addition, the Singapore Zoo now has four pygmy hippopotamus in its collection.

One of the most colourful primates, the Douc langur, known for its extremely striking appearance, is also considered endangered by IUCN. This species is endemic to Indochina and can be found in Lao, Vietnam and northern Cambodia. These primates suffer from intense levels of hunting for food and for use in traditional medicines. Destruction of its natural habitat is also a major threat to this species. Singapore Zoo saw four births last year and now has a population of 15.

Other animal babies welcomed in 2010 include the proboscis monkey, meerkat, manatee, spotted mousedeer, oriental small-clawed otter, Chinese stripe-necked turtle and Linne’s two-toed sloth, amongst the 44 species of births and hatchings.

“It has been very encouraging welcoming these newborns to our family of animals in the zoo, particularly those of an endangered status. WRS has enjoyed an abundant year of births and hatchings, and captive breeding is an important element of what we do for species conservation. With rising threats such as habitat loss, human encroachment and poaching, captive breeding programmes may be the only hope of saving some species for future generations,” said Mr Biswajit Guha, Director of Zoology at the Singapore Zoo.

The Singapore Zoo, operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) which also runs the award winning Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park and the upcoming river-themed park, the River Safari, has a number of conservation research initiatives such as the captive breeding of proboscis monkeys and study of their dietary requirements, as well as hormonal analyses to chart the oestrous cycles. It continues to work with other zoos and wildlife institutions around the world to facilitate animal exchanges to expand the captive gene pool and increase the population of endangered animal species.

Cotton-top Tamarin

Pygmy Hyppopotamus

Linne's two-toed sloth

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 71 other followers