NIGHT SAFARI CELEBRATES BIRTH OF RARE CLOUDED LEOPARDS

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- NOTORIOUSLY DIFFICULT TO BREED, THREE NEW CLOUDED LEOPARDS ARE BORN A YEAR AFTER THE PARK’S FIRST SUCCESSFUL CLOUDED LEOPARD BIRTH.

The three clouded leopard cubs are healthy and active.

Cubs are seen climbing on branches.

Singapore, 12 June 2012 – Barely a year since its first successful birth of clouded leopards, Night Safari recently welcomed another litter of clouded leopard cubs, one of the world’s rarest and secretive wild cat species. The three cubs that arrived on 14 April 2012 were born to parents Tawan and Wandee, who had their first litter in May last year.

Named for the cloud-like patterns of their coats which help them disappear into the shadows of the forest, clouded leopards are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity. These cats often exhibit very aggressive courtship behaviours which sometimes results in the death of the female during mating. It is estimated that less than 20% of captive clouded leopards have been successful at reproducing because the males tend to kill their females during mating.

This second birth is a result of a planned breeding program, which saw the introduction of Tawan and Wandee at an early age to promote bonding and minimise aggression. The mating pair arrived from Thailand’s Khao Kheow Open Zoo three years ago.

“We are very pleased that our efforts have paid off once again with the birth of this second litter. For a species of big cat facing many threats, every little kitten counts. We hope that this birth will go towards sustaining and increasing the population of clouded leopards both in captivity and in the wild,” said Mr. Subash Chandran, Assistant Director, Zoology, Night Safari.

Clouded leopards are the smallest of the big cats and their highly elusive nature, coupled with nocturnal lifestyle, mean that little is known about their population size and behaviour in the wild as they are very rarely seen. Listed as a vulnerable species by IUCN*, it is estimated that there are fewer than 10,000 individuals left in the wild. Clouded leopards are found primarily in lowland tropical rainforest habitats throughout Southeast Asia, Nepal and southern China. It is believed to be extinct in Taiwan. Population numbers are continuing to decline throughout their natural range due to habitat loss and poaching.

Well adapted to forest life, the clouded leopard has an exceptionally long tail – as long as its body – for balancing on trees. Their flexible ankles allow them to run down trees headfirst. Clouded leopards also have the longest canines of any feline, in proportion to their body size.

Night Safari displays clouded leopards at the Leopard Trail, one of the four walking trails in the park.

Mother Wandee watches over her cubs as they explore the surroundings.

A young clouded leopard

*International Union for Conservation of Nature

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.

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 -

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