MIRACLE RODENTS NOW ON EXHIBIT AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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- BIZARRE-LOOKING NAKED MOLE RATS MAY HOLD SECRET TO LONGEVITY
- LATEST OFFERING SHOWCASES THESE CURIOUS CREATURES’ UNDERGROUND LIFE

Singapore, 7 March 2012 – They are hairless, buck-toothed and very nearly blind. Pick one of these creatures up and you’ll realise that they smell really bad. It’s probably from all the rolling about in their own fecal matter so they’ll smell like one big happy family. Smelly or not, scientists believe that naked mole rats’ genetic material holds the secret to a long life – they can live over 20 years, almost eight times longer than mice.

These little rodents, only one of two mammals known to have a social structure similar to social insects, now have a huge exhibit all to themselves—Singapore Zoo’s first foray into showcasing such little creatures on a comparatively large scale.

Wrinkled “sausages” with teeth: Naked mole rats have lips that close behind the teeth. This way, they don’t end up with a mouthful of dirt when digging and burrowing!

The exhibit mimics their system of burrows in the wild in order to provide a naturalistic environment for them. Naked mole rats have burrow systems extending up to 4.8 kilometres long in the wild and covering an area as big as six football fields.

Singapore Zoo’s exhibit, measuring 50 square metres, is a scaled-down version of their complex living environment. Constructed with steel and concrete, it also has glass-fronted panels for visitors to view the naked mole rats at work and play. Lighting is kept dim, as these creatures are used to living in dark environments.

Tunnel vision: Guests peering at the naked mole rats in their ‘natural’ home!

Did you know the tunnels are actually completely man-made! This is how the intricate system of tunnels looks like from the back of house area.

To facilitate convenient cleaning, two identical sets of burrow systems were constructed. Each set is washed and switched every month, then lined with pine shavings to keep them clean and relatively odourless. It is hard work, as the components of the exhibit are extremely sturdy – a necessary defense against the strong teeth of these rats. Unfortunately, these little creatures seem to possess superhuman strength, and have already managed to make dents in some of the concrete components, much to the dismay of their keepers!

Though only recently opened, the naked mole rat exhibit is already a popular spot for curious visitors

An interactive element was also added – a pint-sized tunnel for children to crawl through and imagine a day in the life of a naked mole rat. Periscopes and child-friendly interpretive and activity panels complete the educational component of this exhibit.

Mind your head, for these tunnels are made for little humans only

“Having such an accessible and engaging exhibit allows us to observe the behaviour of these fascinating critters closely, as such animals cannot be studied so easily in the wild. Singapore Zoo hopes to be able to contribute to the education and research of this species, and at the same time introduce the lesser-known wonders of nature to our guests,” said Dr Sonja Luz, Director, Conservation, Research and Learning Centre, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Come visit and learn more about the naked mole rat at Singapore Zoo today! If these little creatures end up contributing to longer lives for all of us one day, you can tell everyone you saw them first at our Zoo!

Note: Daily feeding sessions are held at 11.30am

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 AND PA WELCOME THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS WITH CELEBRATIONS ACROSS ALL PARKS

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Singapore, 28 October 2011 – Singapore’s three wildlife parks will be bursting with lights and festivities every evening this Deepavali weekend, as Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) hosts its inaugural celebration with grand elephant parades and performances, cultural and fashion shows, as well as food bazaars at the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and Night Safari.

In collaboration with the People’s Association (PA), WRS will also be hosting 1,000 underprivileged children, elderly and their families on Saturday and Sunday to a special programme at the Singapore Zoo. These guests will enjoy a dinner at the Ah Meng Terrace, cultural shows, and be part of “live” elephant photography and the elephant parade.

“We hope to attract Singaporeans from all walks of life and their families to our first Deepavali family event at our wildlife parks, which provide a great setting for family bonding and an opportunity for us to spread greater awareness for wildlife conservation. We want to reach out to people of all ages and from different ethnicities to show the cultural diversity and what better way than to do this at our parks.” said Ms Isabella Loh, CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore. “PA’s collaboration was mooted by Singapore Manufacturers’ Federation’s President George Huang after a successful collaboration with SMa for Moon Night event. Our partnership with PA is also an excellent avenue for us to do our part in bringing together people of all races in our unique multi-ethnic society.”

Added Mr Yam Ah Mee Chief Executive Director of PA, “The People’s Association is happy to collaborate with WRS in this meaningful partnership. It allows us to offer even more choices and privileges to our more than one million PAssion Card members for admissions to the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and Night Safari. These, together with special programmes organised during the weekend promotion and meeting packages for our grassroots network, will facilitate our work of bringing the community together. Visits to WRS’ attractions are popular with many families, and we find them to be ideal venues for encouraging community bonding and social cohesion. We look forward to more opportunities to work together with WRS in the future.”

Considered the most important day of the Hindu calendar, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil, WRS’ Deepavali celebration will showcase various aspects of Indian culture, from the significance of elephants to the history of the festivity. Elephants have enjoyed charismatic status in the Indian culture, depicted as symbols of domestic, artistic and religious importance. Due to their dwindling numbers in the region, the conservation and breeding programme at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari has also helped to educate the public about the importance of saving the elephant population in Asia.

To be held over this weekend from today (28 Oct) to Sunday, visitors to the parks can enjoy cultural performances including instrumental classical music displays, shop for festive goodies at the various bazaars and catch the mighty Asian elephants as they parade through the zoo. The event will be launched by Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West District this evening.

For more information, visit:
http://www.birdpark.com.sg/l2_t2.aspx?l1=10&l2=30&langid=1
http://www.nightsafari.com.sg/l1_t2.aspx?l1=10&langid=1
http://www.zoo.com.sg/l1_t2.aspx?l1=10&langid=1

Singapore Zoo Elephant Parade

Night Safari Thumbuakar

Deepavali - Meet the mighty Asian Elephant

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