HEARTS BLEED FOR THE BLEEDING HEART AT JURONG BIRD PARK

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A Luzon bleeding heart pigeon in the South East Asia Aviary, characterised by the splash of vivid red in the centre of the white breast. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 17 April 2012 – Two pairs of Luzon bleeding heart pigeons flew into Jurong Bird Park a month ago, as part of an agreement signed with Avilon Zoo (Philippines) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Part of an ex-situ conservation and breeding programme instituted by the Bird Park, progenies will be released to the wild on the Polillo Islands in Philippines.

After the mandatory month long quarantine, the release of one pair of pigeons to the South-East Asia Aviary today will be witnessed by the Philippine Ambassador to Singapore, Ambassador Minda Calaguian-Cruz, and they will join the Park’s individual Luzon bleeding heart pigeon. The other pair of pigeons will be housed in a secluded, off-site breeding aviary where they will have the necessary privacy and attention of the officers at the Breeding and Research Centre (BRC).

“The Philippines deeply appreciates the commitment of Jurong Bird Park to assist in saving one of the country’s endangered species of wild birds. This collaborative project between the Philippines and Singapore is the first conservation breeding programme for the bleeding heart pigeons outside the Philippines and since the passage of the Philippines’ Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001. It is also the first ex-situ conservation project involving Philippine endemic species in the ASEAN region. We look with great interest towards the progress of this project, which aims to contribute towards the recovery and perpetuation of bleeding heart population in the Philippines and hopefully, the start of more conservation partnerships for nationally and regionally important wildlife resources. Hopefully, we can also share with the public a view of this wild bird species,” said Her Excellency, Ambassador Minda Calaguian-Cruz.

“We were concerned to hear that the wild population of the Luzon bleeding heart pigeons is under some threat. This is the first agreement the Bird Park has signed with an institution in Philippines, and we are excited to have more bleeding heart pigeons here. We currently have 16 species of pigeons in our collection, and have been breeding them successfully via parental natural incubation and artificial incubation. With our proven expertise in avian life, we are quietly confident that we will be able to release the progenies to Polillo Island in the future, helping to increase their numbers in the wild,” said Mr Raja Segran, General Manager, Jurong Bird Park.

The Luzon bleeding heart pigeons get their name from a splash of vivid red right in the centre of their white breast, with a reddish hue extending all the way down to their belly. A quiet and shy ground dweller from the primary and secondary rainforests of the central and southern parts of Luzon, and on the neighboring Polillo Islands in Philippines, this species is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN. Their numbers in the wild are under threat from the locals, who trap them for their meat, while their unique appearance also make them a prime target for the pet trade.

Her Excellency, Philippine’s Ambassador Minda Calaguian-Cruz looks on as a Luzon bleeding heart pigeon steps out into its’ new home at the South East Asia Aviary.

Her Excellency and Ms Isabella Loh, Chief Executive Officer, WRS, peer intently as the Luzon bleeding heart pigeons are released.

WOMENFOLK AT SINGAPORE ZOO CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

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GRANDDAUGHTER OF SINGAPORE ZOO’S FAMED ORANG UTAN AH MENG FOLLOWS IN HER NURTURING FOOTSTEPS

Singapore, 8 March 2012 — This International Women’s Day, Singapore Zoo pays tribute to the fairer sex, albeit not of the two-legged kind. Of particular interest is female Sumatran orang utan Chomel who, following in her famed grandmother Ah Meng’s footsteps, is caring for an orang utan baby that is not her own.

Although a first time mother, Chomel has always shown nurturing qualities. In her younger days, she would often be seen helping the younger orang utans navigate the free-ranging areas with ease, teaching them how to test their weight on the branches before moving ahead. She thus became a natural choice for surrogate mother, when keepers made the decision to remove the baby from her mother Sayang, who was gravely ill. Incidentally, Sayang is Chomel’s aunt, which means Chomel is fostering her cousin.

“When we took the baby away, Chomel was outside Sayang’s den. The baby cried as it had never been away from its mother, and Chomel’s instinct was to immediately reach for her. We cautiously gave the baby to her, and she held her close. That’s when we knew things would be okay,” explained Alagappasamy Chellaiyah, Assistant Director, Zoology, Singapore Zoo.

“Like Ah Meng, after a few days of fostering, Chomel actually started to show more loving care to her foster child. During feeding, if the baby cries, she quickly offers the food she is eating. During interactions with visitors, she happily allows Bino, her own son, to explore on his own while holding the adopted one close to her. This is truly a heartening sight to witness, and it almost feels like Ah Meng is back with us” continued Mr Chellaiyah, who was Ah Meng’s primary caretaker during her residence in the Zoo.

Chomel bears a striking resemblance to her grandmother, whose name was synonymous with Singapore Zoo for almost 35 years before she passed on of old age in Feb 2008. Ah Meng too cared for two young orang utans whose mothers were unable to look after them; Anita, a Bornean female still residing here, and a Bornean male called Inoki which now lives in Taiping Zoo, Malaysia.

To mark International Women’s Day the Zoo held a private naming ceremony for the baby, which turns one today. She has been christened Ishta, which means the cherished or desired one.

“International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s and celebrates the achievements of women everywhere. Chomel is certainly one of our inspiring females and Singapore Zoo wanted to pay tribute to her this momentous day. It’s made doubly special as it also happens to be Ishta’s birthday” said Isabel Cheng, Director, Marketing and Communications, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Sumatran orang utans are critically endangered and wild populations are said to number fewer than 7,000 individuals. Their Bornean cousins are also considered endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Most recent estimates place their numbers at about 50,000.

Singapore Zoo, home to 26 orang utans, has an excellent worldwide reputation of having the largest group of captive orang utans in a social setting which also features the world’s only free-ranging habitat. It contributes to the conservation of Asia’s only great ape through captive breeding. A total of 37 orang utans have been successfully bred since the Zoo opened in 1973. Of these, some have been sent to various zoos in Malaysia, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka as part of a global exchange program me.

Chomel proudly shows off her babies: Bino, her own son, relaxes on his mother’s right arm, while adopted female Ishta clings comfortably to her left. PHOTO CREDITS: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Portrait of a loving mother: Chomel, with Bino on her shoulder and Ishta cuddled in her embracing arms. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE ZOO PLEDGES TO KEEP FROGS LEAPING AHEAD OF EXTINCTION

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INTRODUCTION OF FROG KIT AIMED AT CELEBRATING AND RAISING AWARENESS OF FROGS AMONG LOCALS

Singapore, 28 February 2012 — This Leap Year, Singapore Zoo is jumping into action with the introduction of a Frog Kit, aimed at creating awareness and generating interest in local biodiversity, with a focus on our native amphibian friends such as the four-lined tree frog and common greenback species.

During the trial phase, the Frog Kit was distributed to several international and local schools and has received positive feedback from children as young as six. Students from the Canadian International School had a perfect score and successfully released 10 four-lined tree froglets into the pond at Singapore Zoo’s Tropical Crops plantation last March, after looking after them for about five weeks.

The Frog Kit allows its caretakers a first-hand experience of the frog’s intriguing metamorphosis – from egg to tadpole to froglet to adult frog. By being a part of its life cycle, both adults and children will hopefully develop a greater appreciation for these creatures and the wonders of nature.

They may not be the best animals to cuddle up with, but frogs do have a part to play in helping man, as pest control through their diet of insects, such as mosquitoes. Frogs can also tell us if an environment is healthy. Their permeable skin easily absorbs toxic chemicals, which means they are sensitive to very slight changes in the environment. Therefore, if anything drastic happens to frog populations around us, it is an indication that something is wrong in our biosphere as a whole.

The Frog Kit also ties in with the Primary School Science syllabus topic of animal life cycles, and Singapore Zoo hopes more local schools will embrace the kit in the coming months.

This initiative is part of a worldwide event called Leaping Ahead of Extinction: A celebration of good news for amphibians in 2012, coordinated by Amphibian Ark (AArk) to coincide with Leap Day on 29 February. The AArk is a joint effort of three principal partners: the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), the IUCN/SSC* Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG), and the IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG).

To date, 51 institutions from 17 countries have confirmed their participation in this global event, which focuses on promoting successes in the conservation of amphibians in captivity and in the wild, especially highlighting projects that involve the release of frogs into the wild.

Last weekend, Singapore Zoo’s “Leap Here!” event which featured frog-related interactive games attracted close to 750 children between 7-12 years. If you’re visiting the Singapore Zoo on Leap Day this year, look out for additional frog information at Fragile Forest.

For more information on other Leap Year events around the world, visit www.amphibianark.org/leap-day-2012/.)

*IUCN/SSC: International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission

Students from the Canadian International School wished their froglets well as they were released into the pond at Singapore Zoo’s Tropical Crops Plantation last year

Young guests guessing the number of ‘frog eggs’ in the clduring last weekend’s Leap Here! event at Singapore Zoo

RARE “COSTUMED APE” TO GO FOR A JAPANESE ADVENTURE

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SINGAPORE ZOO SENDING FIRST DOUC LANGUR EVER ON BREEDING LOAN

Singapore, 16 February 2012 — For the first time, Singapore Zoo will send one of its captive red-shanked Douc langurs away. A comprehensive health check was carried out on the selected female, named Wani, prior to her journey to Japan’s Yokohama Zoo later this month.

Although a species of monkey and not an ape, Douc langurs are commonly known as “costumed apes” because of their interestingly patterned body coat. 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. It is also sometimes hunted to sustain the international pet trade. During the Vietnam War, its forest habitat was also destroyed by defoliating agents and bombs.

This delicate and striking monkey made its Singapore Zoo debut in 1988. Since then, 27 Douc langurs have been successfully bred.

Wani underwent a thorough health check on 16 January 2012 prior to a 30-day quarantine in anticipation of her journey to Japan. Her departure will conclude a breeding loan agreement with Yokohama Zoo, which had sent us a clouded leopard in 2001.

To ensure Wani does not suffer too much from homesickness in her new environment, Singapore Zoo plans to send another Douc langur to Yokohama Zoo later this year as part of another breeding loan arrangement.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore, through the parks it manages – Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo – engages in a worldwide breeding exchange programme with many reputable zoological institutions so that that the global gene pool can be kept as diverse as possible.

Wani, a second-generation captive born Douc langur at Singapore Zoo, will be making a one-way trip to Yokohama Zoo later this month as part of a breeding loan. Her father, Hanoi, still resides with us.

Douc langurs are one of the most beautiful Asian monkeys, with almond-shaped eyes and delicate facial features.

Dr Serena Oh, Assistant Director, Veterinary, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (extreme right), and her team draw blood samples from Wani to be sent for tests. They are looking out for human diseases such as Hepatitis A and B, as well as dengue fever. This is in line with the Japanese authorities’ requirements for animals being imported into the country. *IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature Photo credits: Wildlife Reserves Singapore -

NIGHT SAFARI CELEBRATES FESTIVE SEASON WITH BIRTH OF BABY GIRAFFE

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Singapore, 20 December 2011 – The world’s first Night Safari welcomed a lanky surprise this festive season – a 1.88m tall baby giraffe born on December 5, 2011.

The male calf got on his feet just moments after a six-foot drop from his mother, Dobeni, which gave birth standing up. The birth is the first after three years. The 75-kg baby, which is still unnamed, is the third South African giraffe born at the Night Safari. His father, Pongola, and mother Dobeni are also proud parents of female giraffe Kayin, that was born at the park in 2008.

“We hope that the birth of this South African giraffe sub-species at Night Safari will continue to increase the gene pool of the species for global zoological institutions through animal exchanges and breeding programmes,” said Mr. Subash Chandran, Assistant Director, Zoology, Night Safari.

Although the giraffe is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Least Concern, its range in Africa has been reduced due to habitat degradation. There are nine subspecies of giraffe, which differ in size, coloration, pattern and range. Some subspecies are classified as endangered.

“In the wild, young giraffes often fall prey to lions, leopards and hyenas. It is estimated that only a small percentage of baby giraffes reach adulthood. We are happy to see that our healthy calf is suckling from its mother and galloping in its yard. The first few weeks are very important milestones in a giraffe’s growth,” said Mr. Chandran.

Giraffes are the tallest land animals, growing to a height of between 4.7m and 5.3m. The tallest giraffe in the world recorded a height of 6.1metres. Females are usually shorter than their male counterparts. Being crepuscular, they are active at dawn and dusk and sleep approximately four hours a day. With a flexible upper lip and a long tongue, the giraffe can extend its tongue as far as 53cm to grasp its food of mainly acacia leaves.

Being social animals, wild giraffes exist in loose herds of 10 to 20 individuals. Unknown to many, giraffes, despite their lanky necks, share a similar number of neck bones with humans and mice — seven.

Visitors can visit the baby giraffe at its Night Safari exhibit by February 2012. For more
information on the giraffes at the Night Safari, please visit http://www.nightsafari.com.sg

21-year-old South African giraffe, Dobeni, gently nuzzles her 1.88m tall baby at the Night Safari.

Night Safari’s latest giraffe calf suckles from his mother, 21-year-old Dobeni.

An affectionate mother, Dobeni gently strokes her newborn at the Night Safari. Dobeni stands at approximately 4m in height.

NIGHT SAFARI LION CUBS GET THEIR SHOTS

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Singapore, 21 July 2011 – Three adorable lion cubs were born to Night Safari residents Khapat and Amba this March, and they recently had their booster ‘shots’ by the veterinary team.

The tawny three-month-olds were given a clean bill of health after a mandatory vaccination against respiratory and systemic infections. Their first health check took place two months after they were born on 21 March 2011, and they were given a general examination and microchipped for identification.

Similar to humans, animals can suffer from a variety of infectious diseases. Vaccinations are therefore essential in building immunity and prevention against diseases. This is especially important for the cubs when they are given outdoor access and placed on exhibit. Lion cubs usually get a booster shot when they are 12 weeks old and bi-annually thereafter.

“The practice of animal vaccination is recommended by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is dedicated to continually improving standards of animal welfare based on the latest and best practices,” said Dr Serena Oh, Assistant Director, Veterinary, WRS.

The Asian lion is a unique subspecies that splits from the African lion. It is smaller in size and sports a less significant mane compared to its African cousin. Most of the wild Asian lion population is found in India’s Gir Forest, a protected santuary where about 300 of these magnificent animals roam. There are an additional 60 of them living in zoos. Under the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), they are listed as ‘endangered’. One of the problems faced by the Asian lion in the wild is in-breeding which has resulted in weaker individuals. Through Night Safari’s captive breeding programme, WRS hopes to be able to increase the number of Asian lions both in the wild and in captivity. To date, Night Safari has successfully bred seven Asian lion cubs in captivity.

Vet staff doing a routine health check before administering the vaccine.

The cub is held down for the vaccination.

NIGHT SAFARI CELEBRATES A RARE FIRST WITH THE BIRTH OF TWO CLOUDED LEOPARDS

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Singapore, 29 June 2011Night Safari, the world’s first wildlife park for nocturnal animals, recently celebrated the first birth of its clouded leopards, an endangered wild cat. The arrival of the pair of cubs is a major achievement for Night Safari as clouded leopards are notoriously difficult to breed. The high frequency of aggression between the two genders of the beautifully patterned predator sometimes results in the death of the female during mating in wild populations.

Named for the cloud-like spots on its coat, the clouded leopard is a medium-sized wild cat found primarily in lowland tropical rainforest habitats throughout Southeast Asia, Nepal and southern China. Listed as ‘vulnerable’ under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species, little is known about the behavior or population numbers of the wild species because of their enigmatic nature.

The parents of the new arrivals, father Tawan and mother Wandee, arrived from Thailand’s Khao Kheow Open Zoo two years ago. Since then, keepers at the Night Safari have been hoping to kick start a breeding programme between the two and has been waiting for them to reach breeding age.

Mr Kumar Pillai, Director of Zoology at Night Safari said: “The park has been studying various ways of increasing the success rate of captive breeding of clouded leopards for some time now, such as introducing the pair at an early age to promote bonding and lessen aggression. We have also paired an older female with a younger male as she will be more experienced and capable of defending herself. We are very pleased that our efforts have paid off with the birth of not just one, but two clouded leopard cubs.”

Wild populations of clouded leopards are fast declining as a result of the loss of habitat and are highly sought after in the illegal wildlife trade for their skin and bones. Globally, there are fewer than an estimated 10,000 mature individuals in the wild, with no single population numbering more than 1,000.

This further increases the pressure on wildlife institutions to establish viable captive breeding programmes.

The Night Safari is run by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which also operates award winning parks Jurong Bird Park, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming river-themed wildlife park, River Safari. All three parks are actively involved in the captive breeding of endangered species and take part in coordinated global breeding programmes with reputable zoological institutions around the world. To date, WRS has successfully bred endangered wildlife such as the Bali Mynah, white rhinoceros and the Red-shanked douc langur.

GOODBYE SUN BEAR, HELLO WILD CATS!

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Singapore, 29 April 2011Singapore Zoo visitors will soon have to be bid farewell to one-year-old Malayan sun bear, Indera. He will be making his way to the United Kingdom end May, where he will reside at the Rare Species Conservation Centre (RSCC), as part of an animal exchange programme.

Indera is the proud descendent of two generations of sun bears at the Singapore Zoo. Wildlife institutions around the world carry out animal exchanges to maximise genetic diversity and sustain captive breeding of the species. This helps to guarantee a captive population of the species should any natural or man-made disaster wipe out any one species in certain parts of the world.

The RSCC forms part of The Rare Species Conservation Trust which is a registered United Kingdom charity. It is home to the world’s lesser known rare and endangered species of animals and is an education and captive breeding facility. Other wildlife that reside at the RSCC include the extremely rare Bali starling, endangered Sambirano bamboo lemur and the New Guinea singing dog.

Found primarily in the rainforests of Southeast Asia, these elusive Malayan sun bears are the smallest yet most aggressive bear species and are classified as vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. Reliable estimates of sun bear populations are lacking.

In exchange for Indera, the Singapore Zoo will receive a pair of jaguarandi, a medium-sized wild cat which will be housed at the upcoming river-themed attraction the River Safari, and one fishing cat for the Night Safari.

Before Indera the young sun bear embarks on his new adventure, vets at WRS gave him a complete physical health check, including an x-ray, to ensure he is safe to travel.

Indera's health check

Indera's health check

Indera's health check

MEET “KAI KAI” (凯凯) AND “JIA JIA” (嘉嘉) – SINGAPORE’S GIANT PANDAS

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WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE ANNOUNCES NAMES CHOSEN FROM NATIONWIDE SEARCH

Singapore, 16 March 2011 – After a six-month-long nationwide contest, the names of Singapore’s two most highly anticipated soon-to-be ‘permanent residents’ have been selected from nearly 1,000 entries submitted by the public last year. A distinguished judging panel has picked “Kai Kai” (凯凯) and “Jia Jia” (嘉嘉) as the new names for the two Giant Panda cubs as they bear special significance of the close relationship between Singapore and China. The names “Kai Kai” (凯凯) and “Jia Jia” (嘉嘉) won by a clear majority of the judges’ votes.

The seven-person judging panel consisted of representatives from different agencies and organisations, namely Mr Chen Jiang, Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Singapore; Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ms Aw Kah Peng, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board; Professor Wang Gungwu, Chairman, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore; Mr Liew Mun Leong, President and CEO, CapitaLand Group; Ms Jennie Chua, Chief Corporate Officer, CapitaLand Limited; and Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

“Kai Kai”, the name for the male giant panda, was chosen as it means ‘victorious’ in Chinese (as in 凯旋, 凯歌) and is a testament to the 20 triumphant years of Sino-Singapore relations. For the female giant panda, ‘Jia Jia’ which means beautiful and fine, is a reflection of the excellent ties between Singapore and China. On another level, the Chinese character ‘Jia’ (嘉) was used in the old Chinese reference for Singapore (星嘉坡) and the phonetic pronunciation of ‘Jia’ is equivalent to the Mandarin pronunciation of the Chinese character ‘加’, which is not only an integral part of Singapore’s current Chinese name (新加坡), but also means ‘to add’ – representing the wish to expand the giant panda family in Singapore through a successful breeding programme at WRS.

“We can refer to our giant pandas by name, and that is an exciting development for us, especially since these names were submitted by Singaporeans. These are meaningful and beautiful names, chosen to reflect the symbolic ties we have with China, and the future these pandas will have in Singapore. People here have shown tremendous support for our giant panda conservation programme and we hope the community will continue to demonstrate their commitment to wildlife conservation,” said Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, WRS.

Added Mr Chen Jiang, Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Singapore: “The bond between Singapore and China is one that is built on mutual trust and respect, and the two giant pandas are an expression of that close friendship. They also mark the commitment to conserve and safeguard the existence of these endangered animals.”

Mr Lim Chin Beng, Chairman of CapitaLand Hope Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CapitaLand, said: “These symbolic names reflect the strong bilateral relationship between Singapore and China over the last 20 years, and will further strengthen the close friendship and economic ties between the two countries going forward. The Giant Panda collaborative programme will raise cultural exchange and understanding between Singapore and China, and also promote wildlife conservation education among the young. It is against this backdrop that CapitaLand, as a responsible corporate citizen in Singapore and China, is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the programme.”

The duo – a three-year-old male and his two-year-old female companion – will arrive in Singapore next year, as part of a joint collaboration between WRS and China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) to raise awareness for the conservation of these gentle creatures, and the development of a breeding programme for these critically endangered animals. The pandas also represent the close diplomatic relations between Singapore and China. Singapore is the seventh country to receive giant pandas from China since 1994.

The person whose entry was picked by the judges is a 38 year old Singaporean, Ms Angeline Fong, who will receive a complimentary three-night stay at any Ascott serviced residence worldwide, an exclusive preview of the giant panda exhibit when it opens in 2012, and other attractive prizes.

The two furry black and white envoys are due to arrive in early 2012 and will be housed at WRS’ upcoming attraction, the River Safari, Asia’s first river-themed park. Visitors at the River Safari will be able to observe the giant pandas up close in an environment similar to that of their natural habitat, naturally landscaped with a lush bamboo forest, shallow streams, trees and boulders for the animals to explore and play.

Giant Pandas are among the rarest bear species in the world with less than 1,600 left in the wild. They are classified as endangered under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. The population of giant pandas in the wild continues to dwindle due to the loss and destruction of their natural habitat.

For more information, please visit www.riversafari.com.sg

Jia Jia - the female Giant Panda

Kai Kai - the male Giant Panda

ABUNDANCE OF BABIES AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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INCLUDES ENDANGERED SPECIES SUCH AS COTTON-TOP TAMARIN, PYGMY HIPPOPOTAMUS AND DOUC LANGUR

Singapore, 31 January 2011 – The year ended with a bumper brood of babies at the Singapore Zoo with nearly 300 births and hatchings in 2010, which include endangered species like the cotton-top tamarin, pygmy hippopotamus and the Douc langur.

Considered one of the world’s top 25 most endangered primates and classified as critically-endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the cotton-top tamarin is one of the few species that survives better in captivity than in the wild. Despite protection from the international laws, there are only about 2,000 adult cotton-top tamarins left in the wild in South America. Eleven cotton-top tamarins were born at the zoo last year. The park now has a thriving population of 30.

The Singapore Zoo also celebrated its sole pygmy hippopotamus birth for the year in October. This species is listed as endangered by the IUCN. Similar to the cotton-top tamarins, the survival of this reclusive mammal in captivity is higher than in the wild. With the latest addition, the Singapore Zoo now has four pygmy hippopotamus in its collection.

One of the most colourful primates, the Douc langur, known for its extremely striking appearance, is also considered endangered by IUCN. This species is endemic to Indochina and can be found in Lao, Vietnam and northern Cambodia. These primates suffer from intense levels of hunting for food and for use in traditional medicines. Destruction of its natural habitat is also a major threat to this species. Singapore Zoo saw four births last year and now has a population of 15.

Other animal babies welcomed in 2010 include the proboscis monkey, meerkat, manatee, spotted mousedeer, oriental small-clawed otter, Chinese stripe-necked turtle and Linne’s two-toed sloth, amongst the 44 species of births and hatchings.

“It has been very encouraging welcoming these newborns to our family of animals in the zoo, particularly those of an endangered status. WRS has enjoyed an abundant year of births and hatchings, and captive breeding is an important element of what we do for species conservation. With rising threats such as habitat loss, human encroachment and poaching, captive breeding programmes may be the only hope of saving some species for future generations,” said Mr Biswajit Guha, Director of Zoology at the Singapore Zoo.

The Singapore Zoo, operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) which also runs the award winning Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park and the upcoming river-themed park, the River Safari, has a number of conservation research initiatives such as the captive breeding of proboscis monkeys and study of their dietary requirements, as well as hormonal analyses to chart the oestrous cycles. It continues to work with other zoos and wildlife institutions around the world to facilitate animal exchanges to expand the captive gene pool and increase the population of endangered animal species.

Cotton-top Tamarin

Pygmy Hyppopotamus

Linne's two-toed sloth

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