SWEET SURPRISE FOR NIGHT SAFARI’S OLDEST MALAYAN TAPIR

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Manis the Malayan tapir celebrates her 35th birthday at world’s first safari park for nocturnal animals.

Away from the public eye, Manis’ keepers donned black and white polka dotted party hats in her honour and toasted her to many more happy, healthy years as she chomped on her birthday cake, made with her favourite food, including bread, watermelon, papaya and honeydew. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Away from the public eye, Manis’ keepers donned black and white polka dotted party hats in her honour and toasted her to many more happy, healthy years as she chomped on her birthday cake, made with her favourite food, including bread, watermelon, papaya and honeydew. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 1 April 2014Night Safari’s oldest Malayan tapir, Manis, turned 35 years old on 24 March 2014, and celebrated her birthday in style. She is also one of the region’s oldest Malayan tapirs under human care.

Manis, whose name means ‘sweet’ in Malay, tucked into a lovingly created layered cake consisting of bananas, bread and watermelons, surrounded by honeydew and papaya balls, and blended carrots and fruit sticks spelling out her name and age. The celebrations took place in the back of house yard, away from the public eye.

Night Safari currently has 10 tapirs in her collection; another two reside in Singapore Zoo. Between the two parks, 27 Malayan tapirs have been born. The last birth occurred on 3 June 2013, and happens to be Manis’ great-granddaughter.

Malayan tapirs are the largest of the five species of tapir, and the only one native to Asia. Listed as endangered on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species, threats include habitat loss and fragmentation, and increasingly, hunting pressure.

*IUCN: International Union for the Conservation of Nature

ICONIC WATERFALL AVIARY AT JURONG BIRD PARK RE-LAUNCHED

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- Aviary, home to world’s first man-made waterfall, teems with avian life with more than 600 birds from over 50 species.

The Livingston's turaco, a colourful bird with a funky mohawk, is one of more than 600 birds which can be found at the Waterfall Aviary in Jurong Bird Park which was re-launched on 23 January 2014

The Livingston’s turaco, a colourful bird with a funky mohawk, is one of more than 600 birds which can be found at the Waterfall Aviary in Jurong Bird Park which was re-launched on 23 January 2014

Singapore, 23 January 2013Waterfall Aviary at Jurong Bird Park, home to the world’s first man-made waterfall, was re-launched today in a ceremony officiated by Mr Desmond Lee Ti-Seng, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development.

Since the 1970s, visitors to Jurong Bird Park have enjoyed the immersive experience of marvelling at birds that fly freely in the Waterfall Aviary – one of the world’s largest walk-in aviaries. The waterfall inside Waterfall Aviary, which stands at 30 metres, was a marvel to throngs of visitors because it was the world’s first and tallest man-made waterfall. Today, it is still the tallest waterfall inside an aviary.

The 30m tall waterfall in Waterfall Aviary is the world's tallest man-made waterfall in a walk-in aviary. A picturesque spot for many Singaporeans since it was unveiled on 3 January 1971, the Waterfall Aviary was relaunched on 23 January 2014

The 30m tall waterfall in Waterfall Aviary is the world’s tallest man-made waterfall in a walk-in aviary. A picturesque spot for many Singaporeans since it was unveiled on 3 January 1971, the Waterfall Aviary was relaunched on 23 January 2014

Jurong Bird Park and Waterfall Aviary played host to several notable dignitaries, namely Queen Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh and Mr Li Rui Huan, Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee from the Republic of China, and they left impressed by the amazing avian collection found within.

In 1972, Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh visited Jurong Bird Park and Waterfall Aviary a year after they were launched, and left very impressed by the avian collection and the exhibit

In 1972, Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh visited Jurong Bird Park and Waterfall Aviary a year after they were launched, and left very impressed by the avian collection and the exhibit

“Waterfall Aviary is a place that holds fond memories for many visitors who now have children and grandchildren of their own,” said Mr Lee Meng Tat, CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore. “With the re-launch of Waterfall Aviary today, we invite these parents and grandparents to take their children here to bond and relive those wonderful times.”

To galvanise families to visit the Bird Park, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) has been working closely with People’s Association (PA) to bring Jurong Bird Park’s wildlife closer to the grassroots. A series of customised packages, which cater to the travel patterns and F&B preferences of residents in the heartlands, will be rolled out. After Jurong Bird Park, WRS will follow up with more enticing packages to WRS parks in the near future.

At the re-launch this morning, Mr Desmond Lee Ti-Seng, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development released some endangered sun conures into the two hectare aviary, bringing the total number of birds there to more than 600.

The world’s largest walk-in aviary houses more than 50 species of birds, including the endangered sun conures, the vulnerable common crowned pigeons, pied imperial pigeons, and Von der Decken’s hornbills. Visitors will get a chance to get see them, as well as other resident birds like the starlings, rollers, guineafowls and parrots, up close during the twice daily keeper-led feeding sessions at 10.30am and 2.30pm.

Sun conures are an endangered species, and they are part of the extensive collection of more than 600 birds which can be found at the Waterfall Aviary in Jurong Bird Park. The exhibit was re-launched on 23 January 2014

Sun conures are an endangered species, and they are part of the extensive collection of more than 600 birds which can be found at the Waterfall Aviary in Jurong Bird Park. The exhibit was re-launched on 23 January 2014

Together with the re-launch, the Waterfall Aviary Terrace was also developed as an event venue in order to provide corporate guests with an alternative to run-of-the-mill event settings. Set in a lush, avian sanctuary, the Waterfall Aviary Terrace is ideal for team-buildings, retreats and cocktail receptions.

The Waterfall Aviary is open from 8.30am to 6.00pm daily. For more information, please visit www.birdpark.com.sg.

SINGAPORE ZOO’S PRIMATE KINGDOM WELCOMES PRINCE OF PEACE

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28 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER FOR THE ENDANGERED DOUC LANGUR TROOP

Singapore, 3 Aug 2012 — Recent visitors to Singapore Zoo might have seen bright flashes of red, gold and grey flitting through the trees at Primate Kingdom. Eagle-eyed guests may even have seen a small, duller flash darting about, with a bigger ball of colour following close behind.

This is no trapeze artist at the Zoo, but a precocious new addition to the 15-strong Douc langur family that resides at Primate Kingdom. An, which means “peace” in both Vietnamese and Chinese, is the 28th successful birth that we have welcomed since 1988 and mum Sawadee’s second baby. Coincidentally, An arrived at our zoo on 28 April this year.

Baby An makes a leap for the next branch as mum Sawadee follows closely behind.

Though red-shanked Douc langurs are classified as monkeys, their multi-coloured coats (consisting red, black, white, grey and gold highlights), complete with blue eyes, have earned them the title of “costumed ape”.

At just slightly over three months old, Baby An’s body colouration is lighter than mum and the other adults. As he grows older, his coat will darken as his face lightens, achieving adult colouration at 10 months.

While the Douc langurs in Singapore Zoo enjoy a protected environment, ample food and a large, naturalistic habitat, the same cannot be said for their counterparts in the wild. Native to the rainforests of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, they are listed as endangered on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species.

Locals hunt this monkey for food and its body parts, which are used in the preparation of traditional medicines. The Douc langur’s beauty has also become its undoing as it is sometimes hunted to sustain the international pet trade. During the Vietnam War, its forest habitat was also destroyed by defoliating agents and bombs.

“It is fitting that we name this new baby after the word ‘peace’,” said Mr Alagappasamy Chellaiyah, Assistant Director, Zoology, Singapore Zoo, “It is our hope that humans eventually make peace with this species, and realise the importance of conserving, rather than killing them.”

Baby An hitches a ride with mum – baby Douc langurs cling to their mothers instinctively after they’re born, and achieve greater independence from them between 8-18 months of age.

Sawadee shares a quiet moment with her son while perched atop the vines of their habitat.

Singapore Zoo’s Primate Kingdom is home to 15 of these beautiful primates. Of the 28 babies born here, some have been sent to zoos overseas as part of the Zoo’s ex-situ conservation efforts through its worldwide exchange programme. In March this year, Wani, a female Douc langur, was sent to Yokohama Zoo on a breeding loan. She will be joined by another Douc langur later this year.

*International Union for the Conservation of Nature

PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

BOUNCY BABIES ABOUND AT SINGAPORE ZOO’S AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK

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- MARVELOUS MARSUPIALS FROM DOWN UNDER DOING WELL ON OUR SUNNY ISLAND
– VISITORS CAN NOW ENJOY THE ENDANGERED GOODFELLOW’S TREE KANGAROO IN THEIR NEW EXHIBIT

Singapore, 29 May 2012 – Recent visitors to Singapore Zoo may have noticed some tiny tots hopping around, their watchful mothers not far off. Like our human toddlers, these furry new additions to Australian Outback are active and quite adorable, but make a lot less noise!

We’re proud to announce the arrival of four new babies to our marsupial family– two Eastern grey kangaroos and two Agile wallabies.

Little Bella peeping out curiously from mum’s pouch

Bella now, comfortably and confidently exploring the exhibit on her own

Close to one-year-old now, Eastern grey juvenile Bella is coping well despite having lost her mother, Boo Boo, earlier this year. In the first few days after Boo Boo’s demise, Bella was observed to be showing signs of depression, as the pair had naturally been very close. However, she’s bounced out of it and is now having a great time exploring her large, naturalistic exhibit with her newfound friends – three other Eastern grey kangaroos.

Another Eastern grey, Tayla, gave birth on 28 December 2011 and is now nursing a joey in her pouch.

Proud mum Tayla poses for the camera with baby’s head and limbs peeking out of her pouch.

Unlike other mammals, kangaroos and wallabies give birth to undeveloped babies, called joeys. The baby uses its more developed forelegs to make its way through the thick fur on its mother’s abdomen into the pouch. This journey takes about three to five minutes. Once in the pouch, it fastens onto one of its mother’s four teats and starts to feed. After about 190 days, it is ready to make a full emergence from the pouch.

Our youngest baby girl is curious and just a little shy

Another two Agile wallaby babies have joined us at Australian Outback too, bringing the total collection to 10. These shy but curious creatures, also known as sandy wallabies, can be seen resting in their exhibit most of the time, but sometimes wander up to guests and their keepers. One has been fondly christened “Krookie” due to its crooked tail, while the other younger addition has yet to be named.

“While the Eastern Grey kangaroo and Agile wallaby are not endangered species, their presence in our Zoo allows our visitors to see animals not usually found in our climate and learn more about wildlife in general. In the long run, we hope to cultivate a love for the environment and all creatures, endangered or not,” said Mr Alagappasamy Chellaiyah, Assistant Director, Zoology, Singapore Zoo.

When visiting our adorable babies, remember to also stop by the new Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo exhibit. Native to Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea, our pair of Goodfellows, Kimbe and Mava came from San Diego Zoo (United States) and Zoo Krefeld (Poland) respectively, and are just getting used to visitors (and each other) as they explore their new environment.

Though slow and clumsy on the ground, Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos are bold and agile in trees, and have been known to jump from heights of 9m to the ground with ease. Kimbe, one of two in our collection, has fun scaling the trees in her exhibit.

Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos are classified as endangered in the wild by the IUCN*, and are mainly threatened by human activities such as hunting and encroachment on their habitats. They are characterised by their striking chestnut to red-brown colour, long golden-brown tail and two golden stripes which run down their backs.

Come down to Australian Outback and marvel at other mysterious creatures from Down Under, such as the cassowary and carpet python. Our Feed-a-Roo sessions, where guests can feed and interact with our kangaroos and wallabies, take place at 11:00am and 4:00pm daily.

*International Union for the Conservation of Nature

RARE BLUE AND BLACK PARROT BEAUTIES MAKE THEIR DEBUT AND CALL JURONG BIRD PARK HOME

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Blue-throated macaw hatchling. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 21 May 2012 – Two critically endangered blue-throated macaws, three red-tailed black cockatoos and four endangered hyacinth macaws have hatched at the Jurong Bird Park’s Breeding & Research Centre (BRC). These nine breeding successes, ages ranging from three to nine months, are part of the Bird Park’s carefully managed breeding programme.

The blue-throated macaw siblings are the first ever hatchlings of this species at the Park. They hatched on 17 and 23 December last year after an incubation period of 26 days at the BRC, which is a dedicated area to ensure the welfare, breeding and promulgation of birdlife. Weighing in at 14 g and 15 g at hatching, blue-throated macaws are difficult to breed in captivity, as compatibility is an important requirement for them with regards to the environment and their breeding partner.

It took seven years of persistent research by the avicultural team at the BRC and the Avian Hospital before two fertile eggs were laid, and even more care went into ensuring that the chicks had a diet optimised for their species and their growth. When they hatched, they were fed with baby formula and were gradually introduced to a diet of various fruit such as apples, pears, papayas, and bananas, nuts such as walnuts, macadamia nuts and sunflower seeds at three months.

Although listed as Least Concern on the IUCN, the red-tailed black cockatoo is prohibited from export from Australia, making this species extremely rare in captivity. This is also the first time Jurong Bird Park has successfully bred them in captivity. The three siblings hatched in three different clutches last year, with one egg per clutch on 2 August, 9 September and 20 October.

Before fertile eggs could be laid, endoscopy was performed by the veterinarian to ensure that the breeding pair was healthy, and was ready for breeding. The BRC team also changed the nest for them by providing the birds with a log with a cavity, instead of a wooden nest box. The birds are now in the new Australian themed exhibit at Parrot Paradise, which houses seven cockatoo species endemic to Australia.

Hyacinth macaws were last bred in the Bird Park in May 2010. This breeding season, three clutches of four eggs produced four sibling chicks hatching between November 2011 and April 2012. Similarly with the red-tailed black cockatoo, endoscopy was also carried out prior to breeding. For the parents of these chicks, a veterinary check revealed that their fat intake needed to be increased to get the birds in prime breeding condition, so walnuts and macadamias were added to their diet during the breeding season.

“We are so thrilled to have a 100% success rate with the blue-throated macaw, red-tailed black cockatoo and the hyacinth macaw this breeding season. In particular, there are only about 100 – 150 blue throated macaws left in the wilds of north-central Bolivia, and we hope that they will be valuable additions to the global captive breeding population of blue-throated macaws,” noted Mr Raja Segran, General Manager, Jurong Bird Park.

KITTY CATS GALORE AT NIGHT SAFARI

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DOUBLE SURPRISE AS WORLD’S FIRST SAFARI PARK FOR NOCTURNAL ANIMALS WELCOMES BIRTH OF FISHING CATS AND BEARCATS

A pair of fishing cat kittens (left) and a pair of bearcat cubs (right) PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

24 April 2012 – The world’s first Night Safari recently celebrated the birth of a pair of fishing cats and bearcats. The fishing cats were born on January 13 while the bearcat litter joined approximately two weeks later, on January 26.

The young fishing cats, one male and one female, are currently being hand-raised to increase the kittens’ chances of survival, as their four-year-old mother is relatively inexperienced. At three-months-old, the kittens weigh approximately 3kg and are growing strong and healthy.

The two other cubs – both currently weighing 2.5kg – are binturongs, also known as bearcats. Over the years, the park has successfully bred 60 bearcats. This secretive animal has a face like a cat’s and a body like a bear’s. Despite its name, the bearcat is neither a bear nor a cat. It is actually a member of the civet family. Found primarily on treetops in the rainforest of south and southeast Asia, bearcats have a mixed diet of fruits, leaves, birds, carrion, fish and eggs.

Due to habitat destruction, the numbers of fishing cats and bearcats are declining in the wild. In addition to habitat loss, over-exploitation of local fish stocks threatens the survival of fishing cats. Bearcats are captured for the pet trade, and their skins and body parts are traded for traditional medicine in some Asian countries. Fishing cats are listed as endangered on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species while bearcats are classified as vulnerable.

Night Safari displays the bearcats and fishing cats in the Fishing Cat Trail.

Being one of the few cats that love water, fishing cats eat primarily fish but will also prey on crustaceans, frogs and snakes. The cat attracts fish by lightly tapping the water's surface with its paw, mimicking insect movements. It then dives into the water to catch the fish.

A curious fishing cat kitten explores its area. Fishing cats are commonly found near densely vegetated areas near the marshes, mangrove swamps and rivers of Asia.

In Malay, the bearcat is also known as “musang manis” – the word “manis” means sweet and this relates to the animal’s pleasant scent, which is said to smell like pandan leaves or popcorn. The bearcat is actually a civet, which is characterised by an elongated body and anal scent glands that produce secretions for scent marking.

A bearcat cub demonstrates its ability to hang upside down with its long, prehensile tail to grip on the tree branch. The tail is also equipped with a leathery patch at the end for extra grip.

EXTREMELY RARE TURTLE RELEASED INTO THE WILD

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SOUTHERN RIVER TERRAPIN, FIXED WITH A SATELLITE TRANSMITTER, IS SET FREE TO BREED IN THE WATERS OF CAMBODIA

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY, CAMBODIAN FISHERIES ADMINISTRATION, AND WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE WILL MONITOR TURTLE

LESS THAN 200 ADULT INDIVIDUALS REMAIN IN THE WILD

NEW YORK (January 18, 2012) – The Wildlife Conservation Society, in conjunction with the Cambodian Fisheries Administration and Wildlife Reserves Singapore, announced today the successful release of a Southern River terrapin (Batagur affinis) – one of the most endangered turtles on earth – into the Sre Ambel River in Cambodia.

The turtle was released on Monday, January 16th at a ceremony attended by officials, conservationists, and local people.

The female turtle, which weighs approximately 75 pounds (34 kilograms), is fixed with a satellite transmitter that will allow conservationists to track its whereabouts – the first-ever satellite monitoring study for this species.

Captured in the Sre Ambel River by local fishermen in April, 2011, the turtle is one of an estimated 200 adults remaining in the wilds of Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It was voluntarily turned it over to the WCS Cambodia turtle team instead of being sold into the black market trade where it would have been sent to food markets in China.

The population in the Sre Ambel River is estimated at less than ten nesting females. Thus, this individual is extremely important for maintaining genetic diversity of this species that has already suffered drastic population declines.

WCS believes the population has an excellent chance of recovery as the coastal mangrove forests of Southeastern Cambodia are some of the largest and most pristine in Southeast Asia, spanning some 175 square miles (more than 45,000 hectares). These habitats are crucial to numerous aquatic and terrestrial animals and are vital nursery areas for marine fisheries.

Conservationists will monitor the turtle’s movements to see how it utilizes this region. Of particular interest is how the turtle navigates through commercial fishing grounds, as well as areas where it could be threatened by other factors such as habitat destruction by sand mining or conversion of mangrove forests into shrimp farming facilities.

WCS notes that numerous studies on similar long-lived species have shown that as little as a five percent increase in annual adult mortality can cause populations to go extinct.

“By reducing the adult mortality of the Southern River terrapin, even by fractions – as little as ten animals a year per population in this circumstance – we can have immediate and long-term positive impacts on the remaining wild populations of this critically endangered species” said Brian D. Horne of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Heng Sovannara, Deputy Director of Cambodia’s Fisheries Administration’s Conservation Department, is extremely hopeful that the release will enhance efforts to conserve the species. “By identifying areas that are most utilized by the turtles, we can pinpoint our efforts to reduce the turtles being caught as fishery by-catch as well as targeted hunting,” he said.

Dr. Sonja Luz, Deputy Director of Conservation & Research for Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “This project will contribute greatly to a much brighter future for this critically endangered terrapin. Hopefully, more public awareness and education opportunities will arise from this and allow us to create better protection tools and a safer environment for these amazing reptiles.”

In 2000, a small population of Southern River Terrapins, Batagur affinis, was found in the Sre Ambel after many years of being considered locally extinct.

The turtle was once considered solely the property of the King of Cambodia, but has been decimated by overhunting over the past two decades.

Following the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot regime, the Cambodian people were left in severe poverty, and with the growing international demand for turtles in China for human consumption, literally thousands of turtles were captured and sent to China for much needed income by the country’s impoverished people.

A turtle’s send off: A Southern river terrapin–one of the most endangered turtles on Earth–makes its way into Cambodia’s Sre Ambel River, in the midst of an admiring crowd. PHOTO CREDIT: Eleanor Briggs/Wildlife Conservation Society

Dr Brian D Horne, Turtle Coordinator for Wildlife Conservation Society, holds up the satellite transmitter against a juvenile Southern river terrapin that was bred at Singapore Zoo PHOTO CREDIT: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

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