POLAR BEAR INUKA MOVES INTO NEW FROZEN TUNDRA EXHIBIT AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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First polar bear born in the tropics back with new neighbours, the raccoon dogs and wolverines.

Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics

Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics

Singapore, 29 May 2013 – The first polar bear born in the tropics, Singapore Zoo’s very own Inuka, moved into his new Frozen Tundra home today during a grand ‘housecooling’ party. The 2,700 sq metre exhibit features climate controlled resting areas, an expanded pool for Inuka to swim in, and two new sections for Inuka’s new neighbours: raccoon dogs and wolverines.

Modelled closely after the arctic habitat, some of the innovative features of Frozen Tundra that help replicate the chilly climate of the arctic include a new, larger pool filled with giant ice blocks so Inuka can enjoy refreshing swims, and an ice cave where he can retire to, to enjoy a polar siesta. Natural substrates have also been incorporated to provide him with a rich and varied home.

Frozen Tundra is the result of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS)’s commitment to upgrade Inuka’s living space and also reinforce WRS’ vision of providing visitors with interactive and enriching wildlife exhibits that provide for greater knowledge of the natural world, including of the climate, wildlife and issues facing the arctic habitat.

“At Singapore Zoo, we remain committed to not only providing a fun and beautiful park where families can bond over the wonders of mother nature, but also to our vision of engaging and educating our visitors about the natural world, the animals that share our planet and their habitats. This is a core value of Singapore Zoo,” said Mr Lee Meng Tat, CEO, WRS. “Those values and goals go hand in hand with our deep love of our animal friends here at Singapore Zoo, and Inuka is a shining example of that love.”

Dr Lee Boon Yang, Chairman of SPH and SPH Foundation, officiated the launch ceremony of Frozen Tundra with Mr Lee and WRS board member Mr Chia Ngiang Hong. SPH Foundation is a long-time adopter of Inuka.

The launch of Frozen Tundra also showcases Inuka’s new neighbours, the raccoon dogs and wolverines. Raccoon dogs, also known as tanuki, are native to East Asia. Frozen Tundra’s raccoon dogs are named Pom and Poko and come from Japan’s Asahiyama Zoo.

Wolverines are the largest land-dwelling species of the weasel family. Native across the Northern Hemisphere, wolverines have adapted to a wide range of habitats. Frozen Tundra’s wolverines are a brother and sister pair named Boris and Ivana from Russia’s Novosibirsk Zoo.

The idea of creating a new habitat for Inuka was conceptualised in 2006, and Frozen Tundra was designed to not only give Inuka a bigger space but more importantly, create a new exhibit that provides visitors a window into the arctic world from which Inuka’s ancestors came from. Native to the Arctic Circle, polar bears are the world’s largest land carnivore and adult males can weigh up to 700 kg.

Classified as vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the bear occupies a narrow ecological niche and preys almost exclusively on seals. Polar bears hunt mostly on ice floes in winter months, and retreating sea ice due to global warming has resulted in the diminishing of their hunting grounds and food sources. If global temperatures continue to rise, polar bears may become extinct across most of their range within a hundred years.

Frozen Tundra opens daily to the public from 29 May 2013. Visiting hours are from 8.30am to 6pm.

Dr Lee Boon Yang, Chairman of SPH and SPH Foundation, officiated the launch ceremony of Frozen Tundra with Mr Lee and WRS board member Mr Chia Ngiang Hong. SPH Foundation is a long-time adopter of Inuka.

Dr Lee Boon Yang, Chairman of SPH and SPH Foundation, officiated the launch ceremony of Frozen Tundra with Mr Lee and WRS board member Mr Chia Ngiang Hong. SPH Foundation is a long-time adopter of Inuka.

Frozen Tundra is the result of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS)’s commitment to upgrade Inuka’s living space and also reinforce WRS’ vision of providing visitors with interactive and enriching wildlife exhibits that provide for greater knowledge of the natural world, including of the climate, wildlife and issues facing the arctic habitat.

Frozen Tundra is the result of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS)’s commitment to upgrade Inuka’s living space and also reinforce WRS’ vision of providing visitors with interactive and enriching wildlife exhibits that provide for greater knowledge of the natural world, including of the climate, wildlife and issues facing the arctic habitat.

The first polar bear born in the tropics, Singapore Zoo’s very own Inuka, moved into his new Frozen Tundra home during a grand ‘housecooling’ party on 29 May 2013. Frozen Tundra was designed to not only give Inuka a bigger space but more importantly, create a new exhibit that provides visitors a window into the arctic world

The first polar bear born in the tropics, Singapore Zoo’s very own Inuka, moved into his new Frozen Tundra home during a grand ‘housecooling’ party on 29 May 2013. Frozen Tundra was designed to not only give Inuka a bigger space but more importantly, create a new exhibit that provides visitors a window into the arctic world

Modelled closely after the arctic habitat, some of the innovative features of Frozen Tundra that help replicate the chilly climate of the arctic include a new, larger pool filled with giant ice blocks so Inuka can enjoy refreshing swims, and an ice cave where he can retire to, to enjoy a polar siesta.

Modelled closely after the arctic habitat, some of the innovative features of Frozen Tundra that help replicate the chilly climate of the arctic include a new, larger pool filled with giant ice blocks so Inuka can enjoy refreshing swims, and an ice cave where he can retire to, to enjoy a polar siesta.

FEATHERLESS PENGUIN SUITS UP AT JURONG BIRD PARK

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AVAIN KEEPERS ADAPT HUMAN WET SUIT TO HELP HUMBOLDT PENGUIN REGAIN HER NATURAL PLUMAGE

Singapore, 04 April 2011
– Belle, the Humboldt penguin at Jurong Bird Park, has been donning her very own ‘penguin suit’ recently, and it is not for a black tie, gala event at the avian wildlife park. The wet suit is part of a carefully managed holistic treatment programme involving husbandry practice coupled with necessary medications tailored to help Belle grow back her feathers.

The 10-year-old resident of the bird park’s Penguin Coast exhibit has been experiencing continued feather loss since last year, which spread gradually from her neck to her entire body, when she missed her yearly moulting cycle. Moulting is a natural occurrence where penguins grow a new coat of feathers by shedding the old one, typically before mating season. When penguins do not moult, the old feathers start to wear off, exposing the undercoat and skin. It is rare for penguins to remain featherless, but certain factors such as infection, stress, or hormonal imbalance can cause prolonged moulting, which was the case with Belle. This prevents her from swimming since penguins usually do not go into the water until they regain their natural plumage, as plumage plays a vital role in insulating them against the cold and helping them stay buoyant in the water.

The avian experts at the Jurong Bird Park then came up with a creative and resourceful idea to help the little Humboldt. They adapted a wet suit meant for humans, which Belle has been wearing for over two months.

“In our research, we discovered that two groups overseas – the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, US, and Marwell Wildlife in the United Kingdom – have been successful in treating moulting penguins with customised wet suits. These wet suits act as a natural feather covering, providing warmth and insulation. They also trap air and this helps them stay afloat,” said Ms Angelin Lim, the park’s Junior Avian Management Officer involved in Belle’s treatment.

The results have been very encouraging. Belle’s downy feathers have started to grow on her neck, sides of the chest and back regions. According to the park’s veterinarian Dr Melodiya Nyela F Magno, the adaptation of the wet suit, complemented with medical treatment, enhanced Belle’s recovery process.

“We gave Belle antibiotics and hormone replacement therapy as she had a hormonal deficiency. While we cannot really determine how much this helped in the initial stages, Belle started to show positive feather growth when we supplemented the medical treatment with the use of the improvised wet suit. We believe that this ‘penguin suit’ enhanced her normal swimming habits and with the exercise she was getting swimming, encouraged the production of endorphins, or what you call ‘happy hormones’ in the bird. She appeared much happier, was more active, and displayed a lot more of her natural behaviour,” said Dr Magno.

With the care provided by the keepers which contributed to her well-being aiding her recovery, Belle is now able to return to her enclosure progressively and socialise with the rest of the penguins for up to 20 minutes daily. She had to be housed separately during her recovery as she was being picked on by the other penguins for looking different. Being picked on is a natural reaction in penguin colonies where sick-looking birds tend to be easy pickings for predators, which endangers the colony.

As the improvised wet suit has improved Belle’s condition, the bird park is now in talks with several wet suit manufacturers who may be keen to undertake this creative project and design a customised outfit for her.

The Jurong Bird Park’s Penguin Coast, an upgrade of the former Penguin Expedition, is a climate controlled exhibit which features more than 96 penguins from six different species. It also includes the latest outdoor penguin enclosure showing African penguins, one of the few species that are adapted to the tropics.

Belle getting a helping hand to put on her wet suit

Belle, the Humboldt penguin, trying out her new wet suit in the water

Belle looking very comfortable in her wet suit

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