JOIN THE PANDA PARADE AHEAD OF PANDA PARTY 2014

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River Safari’s black and white ambassadors invade Westgate and ION Orchard to light the way for endangered giant pandas

Joyful shoppers participated in a panda parade at Westgate on Sunday as part of River Safari’s conservation outreach ahead of the park’s Panda Party held from 6-14 September. CapitaLand is the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the Giant Panda Collaborative Programme.  (PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE)

Joyful shoppers participated in a panda parade at Westgate on Sunday as part of River Safari’s conservation outreach ahead of the park’s Panda Party held from 6-14 September. CapitaLand is the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the Giant Panda Collaborative Programme.
(PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE)

Singapore, 24 August 2014 – In anticipation of Panda Party 2014 which commemorates Kai Kai and Jia Jia’s birthdays and second year in Singapore, visitors to Westgate today participated in a panda parade that involved a party of eight dancing giant panda mascots which spurred the public to do their part for conservation.

Crowds of shoppers donned panda masks and pledged their commitment to save pandas through many ways, from conserving fuel by taking public transport to refraining from using products that may endanger animals. River Safari aims to increase public awareness on the plight of giant pandas, and the activities at the malls is part of the park’s efforts to spread conservation messages beyond its gates. Shoppers to the event were also given a chance to win tickets to River Safari’s Panda Party week from 6 – 14 September.

The public can look out for more panda invasion on 30 and 31 August at ION Orchard, from 12pm to 1pm.

Shoppers were treated to a party of eight dancing panda mascots at Westgate ahead of River Safari’s Panda Party held from 6-14 September. Members of the public also pledged to do their bit for conservation during this outreach event. CapitaLand is the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the Giant Panda Collaborative Programme.  (PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE)

Shoppers were treated to a party of eight dancing panda mascots at Westgate ahead of River Safari’s Panda Party held from 6-14 September. Members of the public also pledged to do their bit for conservation during this outreach event. CapitaLand is the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the Giant Panda Collaborative Programme.
(PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE)

LIGHT THE WAY FOR GIANT PANDAS WITH RIVER SAFARI THIS SEPTEMBER

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Panda Party aims to increase conservation awareness through week-long interactive programmes and a new behind-the scenes tour

pandaparty

Singapore, 14 August 2014 – Plant pledges and ‘grow’ a bamboo forest for pandas, sign up for a new behind-the-scenes experience, read about Kai Kai and Jia Jia’s adventures in Singapore, and be part of a Panda Lantern Parade – these are some of the activities visitors can look forward to at River Safari’s Panda Party, which aims to increase public awareness on the plight of giant pandas and the efforts to save them.

Panda Party 2014 marks the second anniversary of giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia in Singapore, and celebrates Jia Jia turning six on 3 September and Kai Kai turning seven on 14 September. This year’s theme “Light The Way” highlights the threats that pandas face and encourages individuals to take actions to ensure a brighter future for this iconic animal.

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “As ambassadors of one of the world’s most endangered species, giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia have brought joy to many visitors in the last two years. We hope the love for pandas can be transformed into initiatives to protect the species, and help light the way for their future. The Panda Party is an excellent occasion to invite the public to celebrate with a cause and be inspired to protect not just pandas, but threatened wildlife all around the world.”

Aside from the one million visitors who come to River Safari annually, the park aims to spread conservation messages beyond its gates. This year, giant panda mascots will be making special appearances at two CapitaMalls to spread the festive cheer and collect conservation pledges to spur the public into action.

To kickstart the festivities during the Panda Party week, River Safari will organise a private birthday bash for Kai Kai and Jia Jia on 5 September. This occasion will also mark the launch of a new children’s book that tells the adventures of the two pandas in Singapore. In addition to invited guests, 50 lucky members of the public will be able to partake in this event which includes a Panda Lantern Parade to shine lanterns of hope for the future of giant pandas.

During the Panda Party week from 6 to 14 September, visitors to River Safari can expect a line-up of festivities from free guided tours at the Giant Panda Forest to interactive show & tell sessions where they will get the opportunity to feel a panda skull replica and get a whiff of panda poop. Visitors can also plant pledges to help symbolically ‘grow’ a lush bamboo forest for the bears. Kids can enjoy panda art and craft, from face painting to clay modelling activities.

To commemorate this year’s Panda Party, River Safari will launch a new behind-the-scenes tour where participants can get up-close with pandas before the park opens and assist keepers in preparing breakfast for Kai Kai and Jia Jia. This premium experience brings participants to back-of-house areas such as the pandas’ dens, kitchen and bamboo storage room.

As part of the festivities during the Panda Party week, visitors can bring home a free panda lantern with purchases at River Safari’s retail and F&B outlets. In addition to this birthday treat, visitors can look forward to new panda-licious treats such as Panda Chocolate Mousse and wild discounts on panda merchandise.

1. Pandamonium at CapitaMalls (August)
Bask in the pre-party atmosphere this August as pandamonium hits selected CapitaMalls managed by CapitaMalls Asia, CapitaLand’s shopping mall business. CapitaLand is the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the Giant Panda Collaborative Programme. Panda mascots Kai Kai and Jia Jia will be making public appearances to surprise panda fans with lots of birthday treats, including a chance to win instant tickets to the Panda Party in a lucky draw and a contest for the best-dressed panda outfit. Members of the public are invited to make conservation pledges, from conserving fuel by taking public transport to refraining from using products that may endanger animals. Shoppers can also take home free panda masks* and partake in a Panda Parade!

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*While stocks last

2. Exclusive Panda Party Launch Event (5 September)
Light up with us as we launch Panda Party week with an evening of exclusive celebration at River Safari. 50 lucky visitors will get to share a special moment with our VIPs (Very Important Pandas) with giant birthday cakes and exciting performances. The highlight of the evening is a festive Panda Lantern Parade where visitors will shine lanterns of hope for the future of giant pandas.

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3. Panda Party Week at River Safari (6-14 September)

All About Pandas

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All New Panda-Themed Bites

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Wild Discounts on Panda Merchandise

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For more information, visit pandas.riversafari.com.sg 

BE A JUNIOR BIRDWATCHER AT JURONG BIRD PARK

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- Kids hone their skills in birding this June with multitude of holiday activities. Jurong Bird Park offers free admission for kids accompanied by a paying adult.

Singapore, 19 May 2014
– Enthrall young minds with the fascinating world of birds this June with Jurong Bird Park’s Be A Junior Birdwatcher programme.

Created with the aim of making learning journeys both fun and educational, Be A Junior Birdwatcher will take children through the Junior Birdwatcher Academy where they will hone their skills in birdwatching, go on a birding expedition, and experience feeding and up close encounters with birds!

What’s more, this holidays, the ‘Kids Come In Free’ promotion, entitles all kids to free admission* when accompanied by a paying adult. This offer will be available throughout the school holidays, and complements the host of egg-citing activities lined up for young ones.

Birds Gone Wild!

Birds Gone Wild!

Activity details

1. Be a Junior Birdwatcher
Kids will love being a Junior Birdwatcher for the day. Armed with multiple tools such as a logbook and binoculars, young ones are sure to enjoy their journey as they document their observations.

Dates: 7-29 June, weekends only
Time: 8.30am – 6.00pm

2. Junior Birdwatcher Academy
Young and aspiring visitors have a chance to be certified as a Junior Birdwatcher at Jurong Bird Park! All they have to do is to complete the tasks in the birdwatcher logbook, receive a stamp and they will be presented with a Junior Birdwatcher Certificate at the end of their mission.

Dates: 7-29 June, weekends only
Time: 12.00pm – 4.00pm

3. The Curious Adventures of Rico
Everyone knows that the Kaka bird is extinct except Rico, a passionate birdwatcher, who believes that it still exists. No one has seen the Kaka bird since 1851. Based on his research, it was last ‘seen’ in a remote waterfall in Waterfall Aviary. His journey starts at the Penguin Coast where he looks for other bird watcher enthusiasts to join him on his search. Featuring a puppet show and tell, kids will assist Rico in identifying various bird species.

Dates: 7-29 June, weekends only
Time: 1.30pm
Venue: Waterfall Aviary Terrace
4. Let’s Go Birdwatching
Our veteran birdwatcher will bring junior birdwatchers on a hiking trail to Waterfall Aviary to start their journey and explain the types of birds found there and their favourite resting spots. This interactive session will allow kids to have fun while learning as they match the birds they have seen against their bird ID card. Junior birdwatchers who have matched their findings accordingly will win a prize!

Dates: 7-29 June, weekends only
Time: 1.00pm, 2.00pm
Venue: Waterfall Aviary

5. Birds Go Wild!
One of the senior birdwatchers has found a special spot thriving with amazing birds. He will meet the young birdwatchers there and they will then get a first-hand experience in feeding and getting up close and personal with the birds.

Dates: 7-29 June, weekends only
Time: 10.30am, 2.30pm
Venue: Waterfall Aviary

* ‘Kids Come In Free’ terms and conditions:

  • Offer includes one (1) complimentary single day child admission ticket with one (1) full-priced single day adult admission ticket to Jurong Bird Park.
  • Valid from 31 May 2014 to 29 June 2014.
  • Valid for all Singaporeans, PR & employment pass/study permit holders.
  • Flash coupon, found on www.birdpark.com.sg and proof of identity to enjoy offer. Excludes tram rides.
  • Child defined as 3 to 12 years old.
  • Not valid with other discounts, promotions or rebates.
  • Not valid for tour groups, travel agents, school groups, online and SISTIC bookings.
  • Promotion is only valid for tickets bought over the Jurong Bird Park ticketing counters.
  • Offer applies to admission on day of ticket purchase.
  • Admission ticket purchased is not refundable or exchangeable for cash or kind.
  • No claims will be entertained for any lost, torn, defaced or expired ticket.
  • Jurong Bird Park reserves the right to amend the terms & conditions without any prior notice.

RIVER SAFARI LAUNCHES INAUGURAL BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOURS FOR VISITORS

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- Two exclusive programmes launched in June to take visitors on learning journeys.

Singapore, 14 May 2014 – For the first time, visitors can have a glimpse of the inner workings of River Safari with the launch of two new behind-the-scenes programmes. Titled Fishy Business and Be a Panda Researcher, these programmes are packed with hands-on experiences that present a unique perspective on Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park and its animal residents.

Participants exploring behind-the-scenes for a first-hand look at the life support system of the world’s largest freshwater aquarium at River Safari. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Participants exploring behind-the-scenes for a first-hand look at the life support system of the world’s largest freshwater aquarium at River Safari. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Panda fans can learn more about the park’s famous residents, giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia, as well as their wild cousins in Be a Panda Researcher. Through a series of investigative tasks at various activity stations, participants will get down and dirty to ‘dissect’ panda poo and appreciate the hard work that goes into meeting Kai Kai and Jia Jia’s special dietary needs. By examining paw prints and other markings, they will also gain insights into how researchers track pandas in the wild and implement conservation measures to save these endangered bears from extinction.

Participants preparing food for the park’s aquatic residents as part of the Fishy Business programme, one of the two inaugural behind-the-scenes tours launched at River Safari. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Participants preparing food for the park’s aquatic residents as part of the Fishy Business programme, one of the two inaugural behind-the-scenes tours launched at River Safari. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Those game for some Fishy Business can venture deep into the underbelly of the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit and discover what the aquarists do to keep the animal residents in the pink of health. Participants will explore the massive life support system of the world’s largest freshwater aquarium, conduct water tests and prepare food and enrichment for river giants such as the manatees and arapaimas. The finale to the programme is a visual spectacle of the silver arowana, also known as the water monkey, leaping out of the water to strike at its prey during special feeding sessions.

Ms May Lok, Director, Education, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “Many a times visitors are curious about our work, and our team is also eager to share the passion and joy in the day-to-day care for our 6000 animals. Be a Panda Researcher and Fishy Business are the first behind-the-scenes tours in River Safari we have curated for the public. We hope visitors who participate in these programmes will walk away with a deeper understanding on the park and its animal residents, and a greater appreciation of freshwater ecosystems.”

Be a Panda Researcher and Fishy Business programmes are each available at S$39 for adults and S$29 for children, inclusive of River Safari admission*. Be a Panda Researcher can accommodate a maximum of 60 people while Fishy Business can accommodate a maximum of 30. Both tours are recommended for children 9 years and above. Reservations can be made online at http://education.riversafari.com.sg/whatshap.html. The two programmes are launched in commemoration of 50 years of tourism development and promotions in Singapore.

*Admission does not include Amazon River Quest boat ride.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR AS GROUND DOVES BOOST BREEDING PROGRAMME IN JURONG BIRD PARK

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- Ground doves, known for their faithfulness to their partners until death, hatched as a result of careful diet and husbandry planning; Luzon and Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons among rare species.

A Luzon bleeding heart pigeon in Jurong Bird Park’s South East Asian Aviary. After a successful breeding programme, 10 progenies will be sent back to the Philippines this year to increase the wild population on Polillo Islands.

A Luzon bleeding heart pigeon in Jurong Bird Park’s South East Asian Aviary. After a successful breeding programme, 10 progenies will be sent back to the Philippines this year to increase the wild population on Polillo Islands.

Singapore, 13 February 2014 – With Valentine’s Day happening tomorrow, Jurong Bird Park is a-flutter with successful hatchings of ground dove pigeons, known for their faithfulness to their partners until death. Amongst them are Luzon and Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons, both of which can only be found in the Philippines.

A Mindanao bleeding heart pigeon in Jurong Bird Park, seen here at Heliconia Walk.

A Mindanao bleeding heart pigeon in Jurong Bird Park, seen here at Heliconia Walk.

After a successful two-year breeding programme, Jurong Bird Park now has ten Luzon bleeding heart pigeon progenies ready to be sent back to the Philippines this year to be released to the wild on Polillo Islands. Luzon bleeding heart pigeons are a threatened species of bird, with declining numbers in the wild due to deforestation and the illegal pet trade.

The project is Jurong Bird Park’s first off-site conservation project involving an endemic species from the Philippines in the ASEAN region. Recognising Jurong Bird Park’s expertise in conservation and breeding, two pairs of Luzon bleeding heart pigeons arrived in the park two years ago as part of an agreement signed with Avilon Zoo (Philippines) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the Philippines. These birds started breeding from October 2012 and continued through January 2014 to produce 10 progenies.

All bleeding heart pigeons and golden heart doves are part of a group of Australasian pigeons known as ground doves, known to be very faithful to their partners until death. If one dies, the other will look for another to pair up with. Upon becoming parents, both males and females will take turns to incubate the eggs. For the first few days of a chick’s life, the chick is fed crop milk produced by both genders. Once the chick is older, both parents will forage for food for the young. Ground doves are very caring, often preening each other and their chicks. They will also sun bathe together, strengthening the bond communally.

“To have 10 Luzon bleeding heart pigeon progenies available for release over a short span of two years is a remarkable achievement. This project was initiated with the aim of contributing to the recovery of this species in its natural habitat, and we look forward to developing more conservation projects for other endemic Philippine species. The success and the knowledge gained paves the way for Jurong Bird Park to engage in other similar regional conservation projects.” said Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Science Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

A pair of Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons arrived in the Bird Park from San Diego Zoo in September 2013, as part of an exchange programme. Although this pair was not known to be prolific breeders, they adjusted well to their new home and that a few weeks after their arrival, they laid one fertile egg, which hatched after an 18-day incubation period. Another fertile egg was laid just before Christmas last year, which also yielded a chick.

A first-ever breeding of Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons in Jurong Bird Park, seen here at Heliconia Walk with a three month old chick.

A first-ever breeding of Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons in Jurong Bird Park, seen here at Heliconia Walk with a three month old chick.

A two-pronged scientific approach involving husbandry and diet was taken towards the successful breeding of the Luzon and Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons. The Luzon bleeding heart pigeons were placed in an off-site aviary with minimal human contact, while a specialised diet with increased protein levels was provided for added nutrients during breeding season. Although the Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons were placed in a visible public enclosure, the aviary was properly landscaped, which provided the birds with a heightened sense of security necessary for breeding. Similarly, they were also given a protein-rich diet during breeding season.

In addition to the successful hatchings, Jurong Bird Park will welcome two pairs of golden heart doves from Germany for breeding and conservation purposes. Endemic to Papua New Guinea, these birds are uncommon in institutions as it is a challenge obtaining birds from New Guinea due to governmental restrictions.

Come to Jurong Bird Park this February to see the Luzon bleeding heart pigeons at the South East Asian Exhibit, and the Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons at Heliconia Walk. Two pairs of golden heart doves will be on display from April at Window on Paradise. For more information, please visit www.birdpark.com.sg

GALLOP INTO CHINESE NEW YEAR WITH WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

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- Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo usher in the Year of the Horse with horse-picious festive activities from 24 Jan – 15 Feb 2014.

Visitors to Jurong Bird Park will have the opportunity to be awe-struck by a pair of lions as they dance atop high poles in an adrenaline-laced performance this Chinese New Year.

Visitors to Jurong Bird Park will have the opportunity to be awe-struck by a pair of lions as they dance atop high poles in an adrenaline-laced performance this Chinese New Year.

Singapore, 15 January 2014 – Usher in the Chinese New Year with Wildlife Reserves Singapore and enjoy the festivities at Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari, and Singapore Zoo from 24 Jan to 15 February 2014.

There will be lots to see and do, as the parks get decked up for the Year of the Horse with flowering plants and creative displays. Amidst the festive ambience, enjoy energetic lion dance performances, rub off some good luck from prosperity mascots during the meet-and-greet sessions, take a walk on the ever-popular Zoo-diac Trail, and get up close with graceful horses to take a picture for luck!

Visitors to Jurong Bird Park during Chinese New Year will see festive flowering plants and creative displays, like this on showcase at the Penguin Coast.

Visitors to Jurong Bird Park during Chinese New Year will see festive flowering plants and creative displays, like this on showcase at the Penguin Coast.

Animal encounters
Horse-picious photography: Greet the auspicious horses, this Chinese New Year’s star animal and have your picture taken with them at Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari, and Singapore Zoo!

Falabella Parade at Singapore Zoo: Be charmed by graceful and exquisite falabellas at Singapore Zoo in the Falabella Parade, and witness an entourage of eight miniature horses trotting proudly alongside their keepers. This is a sight to behold! The Falabella is a rare Argentine breed of Miniature Horse, known as the first and original Miniature Horse breed. It is a true purebred due to their unique and historic ancestry, which is one of its greatest attributes. Estimates indicate that only a few thousand Falabellas exist in the world. Falabellas are viewed as prestigious to have and are highy prized by those who do own them.

One of horse-picious activities visitors can look forward to at Singapore Zoo during Chinese New Year is the Falabella Parade. A rare sight to behold, an entourage of eight miniature horses will trot proudly alongside their keepers.

One of horse-picious activities visitors can look forward to at Singapore Zoo during Chinese New Year is the Falabella Parade. A rare sight to behold, an entourage of eight miniature horses will trot proudly alongside their keepers.

Festive High Flyers Show at Jurong Bird Park: At Jurong Bird Park, between 30 January – 14 February, lucky visitors who get chosen during the twice daily High Flyers Show will receive red packets delivered by air from Sassy the sulphur-crested cockatoo, and well-wishes of ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’ from Amigo the yellow-naped Amazon.

At Jurong Bird Park, between 30 January - 14 February, lucky visitors during the twice daily High Flyers Show will receive red packets delivered by air from Sassy, the sulphur-crested cockatoo.

At Jurong Bird Park, between 30 January – 14 February, lucky visitors during the twice daily High Flyers Show will receive red packets delivered by air from Sassy, the sulphur-crested cockatoo.

Wild Treats at Night Safari: While on the tram at Night Safari, keep a keen eye out as animals like the hippopotamuses, Malayan tapirs, and Indian rhinoceroses undergo some festive animal enrichment by their keepers. Find out more from the tram commentators how the tapirs and hippopotamuses are related to the equine family. There is also much to see while on the walking trails as the animals enjoy Wild Treats. Watch as fishing cats, common palm civets, wallabies, and giraffes have food placed out for them which stimulates their naturalistic instinct at foraging. What’s more, watch the Festive Tiger Token Feeding and be wowed by the majestic Malayan Tiger’s moves. Before leaving the Night Safari, do make a pit stop at the entrance, where a photo-opportunity with life-sized standees, complete with educational information on the tapir, hippopotamus and zebra await.

Southern lion dance
A pair of spectacular Southern lions will dance their way atop high poles in a high-octane fuelled performance at Jurong Bird Park, River Safari, and Singapore Zoo. As night falls, Night Safari will feature a pair of Southern lions with specially designed LEDs – all the better to light the path in the New Year. This traditional mixture of martial art, acrobatic and stage performance was introduced in Southeast Asia more than a century ago, and remains a mainstay of Lunar New Year celebrations.

Prosperity mascot appearance
No Lunar New Year is complete without an appearance by prosperity mascots! Representing prosperity and good fortune, ‘Fu Lu Shou’ will make appearances at Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo, while visitors to Jurong Bird Park will get a chance to mingle with the ‘God of Fortune’.

Zoo-diac Trail
The Chinese horoscope is a perennial favourite, and one which visitors eagerly crane to see. Visitors to all four parks will have a chance to explore the ever-popular Chinese Zoo-diac Trail, to get a glimpse of what the Year of the Horse holds.

Delicacies and special delights (F&B)
Forest Lodge at Singapore Zoo, Flamingo Lodge at Jurong Bird Park and Ulu Ulu Safari Restaurant at Night Safari will be serving a Chinese New Year Sit Down Set at $688+ for 10 diners by special reservations from 24 January – 9 February. Tuck into a sumptuous 8 course meal amidst the tranquil surroundings of WRS parks and relish dishes like Baby Abalone with “Ling Zhi” Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce, Dual Flavoured Fried Prawns and Prosperity Yu Sheng.

The River Safari Teahouse has specially designed a Reunion Feast and Salmon Yu Sheng this Lunar New Year. The Reunion Feast, available in variations of 6 and 8 courses features dishes such as XO sauce fried rice with preserved meat and Braised Superior Fish Maw Soup with Crabmeat at prices from $78 (2 persons) to $288 (8 persons). Tantalise your taste buds with complementary flavours of sweet, sour and spicy with the Salmon Yu Sheng. This ever popular must-have dish for Chinese New Year is available for $8 (2 pax) to $38 (8 pax). Both menus are available from 27 January – 15 February.

Reservations for the Chinese New Year Sit Down Set can be made at saleshotline.wrs@wrs.com.sg or via a call to 6360 8560. Guests are welcome to walk into the River Safari Teahouse for the Reunion Feast and Salmon Yu Sheng, or can make email reservations through teahouse.rs@wrs.com.sg or via a call to 6360 2260.

A uniquely Singaporean dish, this Salmon Yu Sheng from the River Safari Teahouse is a must have this Chinese New Year.

A uniquely Singaporean dish, this Salmon Yu Sheng from the River Safari Teahouse is a must have this Chinese New Year.

Education booth
Gallop down to the Singapore Zoo to learn more about one of the most important domestic animals in the world! Kids can get their face and hand painted for a token S$4 and S$2 respectively while they horse around the booth.

Gallop down to the Education booth at Singapore Zoo this Chinese New Year and learn more about the noble horses from our knowledgeable volunteers!

Gallop down to the Education booth at Singapore Zoo this Chinese New Year and learn more about the noble horses from our knowledgeable volunteers!

Activity Details

WORLD’S RAREST TORTOISES TO LOSE FACE VALUE

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Tattooing the tortoise and keeping Ploughshares out of the Illegal Trade

Tattooing the tortoise and keeping Ploughshares out of the Illegal Trade

Singapore, 16th December 2013 – Conservation organizations fighting to save one of the world’s most threatened tortoises from poachers are resorting to a drastic measure—engraving identification codes onto the animals’ shells to reduce their black market value.

Although fully protected, Ploughshare Tortoises are prized for their beautiful high domed shells, but are being pushed closer to the brink of extinction due to high demand as unique and exotic pets. Engraving a tortoise’s shell makes it less desirable to traffickers and easier for enforcement agencies to trace.

Found only in north‐western Madagascar, the tortoise is Critically Endangered and only an estimated 400 adults remain in the wild. Numbers have been devastated through illegal collection and export to meet the international demand for the pet trade, especially in South‐East Asia, where they are sold in markets particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

In March, two smugglers were arrested with 52 Ploughshare Tortoises in suitcases while attempting to enter Thailand, where traders redistribute the animals to dealers locally and abroad. This was the largest ever seizure of Ploughshare Tortoises in Southeast Asia. One of the smugglers, a Malagasy woman was jailed, while the other, a Thai man, was released on bail.

This case exemplifies the increased audacity of smugglers, the urgency of the situation and the need for enforcement agencies to take the illegal trade in this species far more seriously. Based on seizures reported in the media, at least 86 Ploughshare Tortoises have been seized since 2010. Over 60% of these seizures occurred in Thailand while remaining seizures took place in Madagascar and Malaysia; with at least one of the shipments destined for Indonesia.

Four organisations – Wildlife Reserves Singapore, TRAFFIC, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Turtle Conservancy – are joining forces to hold a “Tattoo the Tortoise” event on 16th December at Singapore Zoo to raise awareness of the plight of the Ploughshare and to build support to fight trafficking in the species.

Singapore Zoo currently houses two Ploughshare Tortoises which were confiscated by the Agri‐Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore in 2009. The pair will be used to establish an ‘assurance colony’ in Singapore. The top shell of each tortoise will be engraved during this event – a first for South‐East Asia.

The event will include presentations by experts working on the conservation of these tortoises and an exhibition open to the public. These activities provide an opportunity for the public, governments and other relevant bodies to learn about the dire situation these animals face, and what they can do to save the Ploughshare Tortoises.

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Chris R Shepherd, Regional Director, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.
T: +6012 2340790, E: chris.shepherd@traffic.org

Ms Natt Haniff, Assistant Manager, Corporate Communications, Wildlife Reserve s Singapore
T: +65 6360 8659 / +65 9362 8115, E: natt.haniff@wrs.com.sg

Mr Richard Lewis, Madagascar Programme Director, Durrell Wildlife Conservati on Trust
E: Richard.Lewis@durrell.org

Ms Kaitlyn‐Elizabeth Foley, Program Officer and Grants Manager, Turtle Conserv ancy
T: +01 212 353‐5060, E: kaitlyn@turtleconservancy.org

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