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

THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS COMES ALIVE AT WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE PARKS

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Singapore, 13 October 2011 – In celebration of the Festival of Lights this October, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) parks – Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo – will be gearing up for a full weekend of activities and programmes for families to enjoy.

Considered the most important day of the Hindu calendar, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil, the activities will showcase various aspects of Indian culture for all to enjoy.

To be held over the weekend of 28-30 October, visitors to the three parks are in for a real cultural treat with performances that include an instrumental classical music display showcasing the harmony of the tabla and sitar as well as an energetic Bhangra Nation Parade. Soak in the atmosphere as you discover Indian goodies at the festive bazaar.

With plenty of activities lined up for the festival, there is something for everyone this October at the parks.

Highlights
Singapore Zoo
Date: 28 – 30 Oct (Fri – Sun)
Time: 6.00pm – 9.30pm (last ticket sale at 8.30pm)
Admission fees: Adult – $10, Child 3-12 years – $6

Elephant Photography and Parade
Trail along with our mighty Asian elephants, donned in traditional Maharaja suits.
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time: 6.00pm
Venue: From Proboscis Monkey at entrance to Elephants of Asia

Elephants at Work and Play
Be sure to catch the Deepavali edition of the well-loved elephant animal presentation.
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Elephants of Asia

Food and flavours
Take a break from the excitement and head straight to the festival bazaar where Indian delights await.
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time: 6.00pm – 9.30pm
Venue: Ah Meng Restaurant and Terrace

Indian Cultural Show
This colourful and spirited cultural performance showcases the best of Indian music and dance.
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time: 7.00pm and 8.40pm
Venue: Shaw Foundation Amphitheatre

Symphony of Nature
Immerse yourself into musical pleasure with the strong rhythm and tunes of the tabla and sitar.
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time: 8.15pm and 9.10pm
Venue: Bornean Orang Utan Island

For more information, please go to www.zoo.com.sg

Night Safari
Date: 28 – 30 Oct (Fri – Sun)
Time: 6.00pm – 12 midnight
Admission fees: Adult – $32, Child 3 -12 years – $12

Cool Encounter with Reptiles
Our cool reptiles can’t wait to meet you. Come see them up close and get a reptile-inspired henna tattoo too!
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time: 6pm – 12 midnight
Venue: Ranger Station (Main Station)

Dances of the Night
Party and rock to the beat of the night with fiery dance and show performances.
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time/Venue: Rhythm of Fire – Thumbuakar Special: 7.00pm, 8.00pm and 9.00pm / Entrance Plaza
Creatures of the Night Show (Deepavali special): 7.30pm, 8.30pm, 9.30pm and 10.30pm / Amphitheatre
Bhangra Nation Parade: 9.30pm and 10.30pm / Entrance Plaza

Flash-ion of India
Don’t miss our flash mob fashion show as the runway models don their colourful Indian finery
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time: 7.20pm, 9.20pm and 10.20pm
Venue: Entrance Plaza, Tram Station and outside Amphitheatre

For more information, please go to www.nightsafari.com.sg

Jurong Bird Park
Date: 28 – 30 Oct (Fri – Sun)
Time: 8.30am – 6.00pm
Admission fees: Adult – $18, Child 3 -12 years – $12

Show it, like the peacock
Flaunt your creativity on the peacock-inspired art pieces by adding colour and life to them!
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time: 8.30am – 6.00pm
Venue: Penguin Coast (Courtyard)

Festive Bazaar
Spice up the festive celebrations with Indian goodies and ornaments to bring home.
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time: 8.30am – 6.00pm
Venue: Entrance (Courtyard)

Kids Cultural Workshops
Learn more about Indian culture the fun way!
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time: Oh-mazing Ornaments – Plasticine Art and Craft Activity: 8.30am – 6.00pm
Move it, Shake it! – Indian Dance Workshop – 12pm and 2.30pm
Venue: Penguin Coast (Courtyard)

Snappy Saree Moments
Try out some of the prettiest sarees and strike a glamorous “Bollywood” pose!
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time: 8.30am – 6.00pm
Venue: Penguin Coast (Courtyard)

Songs of the Wild
Groove to the rhythm of the day as the pleasurable sounds of the tabla and sitar fill the atmosphere.
Date: 28 – 30 Oct 2011 (Fri – Sun)
Time: 11.30am and 2.30pm
Venue: African Waterfall Aviary

For more information, please go to www.birdpark.com.sg

Deepavali - Elephant

Night Safari Thumbuakar

Singapore Zoo Elephant Parade

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