ENTER THE DRAGON’S LAIR THIS LUNAR NEW YEAR AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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Singapore, 6 January 2011Singapore Zoo plunges into the Year of the Dragon with an exciting line-up of activities to celebrate the mythical creature this Lunar New Year. In many Asian cultures, dragons are still revered as representative of the primal forces of nature, religion and the universe, and are often associated with wisdom and longevity.

A must-see is the Festive Dragon Walk, which will showcase dragon-associated plants and animals such as the bearded dragon and dragon fruit.

Visitors can interact with auspicious Fu Lu Shou characters, which will bless them with wealth and fortune to kickstart the year, and be entertained by an exciting dragon dance. Marvel too at the 3D majestic flower dragon – definitely a shutterbug moment amidst the backdrop of the scenic Upper Seletar Reservoir.

Activities:
Festive Dragon Walk
Learn more about the dragon-associated plants and animals in the Singapore Zoo collection, such as the bearded dragon, arowana (also know as dragon fish), juvenile komodo dragon and dragon fruit (did you know we actually have this in our Tropical Crops Plantation?).

Exciting Dragon Dance
Catch the fluid and graceful movements of the dragon as it bestows good luck and fortune in this majestic dance. Dragons in this Chinese dance are usually made up of sections of bamboo frames draped in silk. This Chinese dance had its beginnings in China and was popularized by the Tang dynasty. The dragon is regarded as a symbol of power and royalty by the Chinese and the dragon dance evolved from this association.

Auspicious Fu Lu Shou Appearance
Whip out your cameras for photo opportunities with the Fu Lu Shou characters as they mingle with guests and bless them with wealth and fortune to usher in the Year of the Dragon.

A Feast Fit for a Dragon!
Finally, families can take a break at the end of a fun-filled visit by digging into a delicious Chinese New Year Lunch.

Date/Time: 13 Jan – 6 Feb 2011, 12.00 – 2.00pm
Venue: Pavilion/Terrace, Ah Meng Restaurant
Cost: Sweet Success Menu (for 4 pax) – $188+, Good Fortune Menu (for 5-6 pax) – $338+, Wealth, Fortune and Prosperity Menu (7-8 pax) – $438+, Family Reunion Menu (9-10pax) – $538+
[Excludes admission of $20 (adult), $13 (child 3-12 years)]
Note: Reservations need to be made 3 working days in advance. Please call 6360 8560 for reservations
Also available for dinner at Night Safari’s Ulu Ulu Safari Restaurant (between 6.00-8.30pm)

Walk-in diners to Ah Meng Restaurant can also opt for the prosperous ‘Yu Sheng’ dish:
Date/Time: 13 Jan – 6 Feb 2011, 10.00am – 4.00pm daily, while stocks last
Cost: $8+ for 2 pax, $16+ for 4 pax, $24+ for 6 pax, $32+ for 10 pax
Note: Also available at Night Safari’s Ulu Ulu Safari Restaurant

The bearded dragon will be showcased in the Festive Dragon Walk at Singapore Zoo this coming Chinese New Year

The Komodo dragon will be showcased in the Festive Dragon Walk at Singapore Zoo this coming Chinese New Year

SINGAPORE ZOO PIONEERS BREAKTHROUGH TREATMENT OF KOMODO DRAGON

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WOUND-HEALING THERAPY NORMALLY USED ON HUMANS HEALS MOTHER KOMODO

Singapore, 17 June 2010 – The Singapore Zoo, one of the four wildlife parks managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), including the first river-themed attraction River Safari, has made veterinary history by undertaking Vacuum Assisted Closure® Therapy on a reptile in captivity. Yoko, one of the Zoo’s three komodo dragons, recently became the first reptile to receive a breakthrough treatment commonly used to promote wound healing in humans.

Yoko, the proud mother of the Zoo’s first successfully hatched Komodo dragon bred in Asia, outside of native Indonesia, had sustained a 16cm injury to her back while incubating a second batch of eggs last November. While laying her eggs in an underground burrow, Yoko wedged herself in a crevice of the cave and as a result, sustained abrasions to her dorsal or spinal region. The damaged tissue surrounding the injury started to degenerate and slough off leaving an open wound that was exposed to possible infection.

A team of experts at the Zoo’s Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre, including surgeons from the Department of Hand & Reconstructive Microsurgery and the Division of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, National University Hospital (NUH), vets and keepers, was quickly mobilised to treat Yoko.

Said Dr Serena Oh, Assistant Director, Veterinary, WRS: “We kept infection at bay with daily manuka honey dressings and antibiotics. A major challenge was the nature of the Komodo dragon’s skin. It does not have a subcutaneous layer of tissue that lies immediately below the top layer of vertebrate skin that would allow us to create a local skin flap to cover the wound. We needed a solution to generate tissue growth quickly with zero risk of infection”.

After consultation with several medical experts in the region, the team decided to use the V.A.C. Therapy System from KCI. Vacuum Assisted Closure®, or V.A.C.® Therapy has been clinically proven to treat serious or complex wounds through the use of negative pressure. The negative pressure creates a unique wound healing environment that has been shown to promote the wound healing process, reduce edema, prepare the wound bed for closure, promote the formation of granulation tissue and remove infectious materials.

According to Dr Lee Shu Jin, Consultant, Division of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery at NUH treating Yoko, V.A.C.® Therapy has been used worldwide to treat over 3 million human patients, but this was the first time it had been used on a reptile, particularly a Komodo dragon. She said: “Reptiles normally heal very slowly but we are very happy to report that Yoko made great progress in her recovery with V.A.C.® Therapy. She was also eating and moving normally throughout the entire process.”

Ms Fanny Lai, WRS Group CEO, said, “The successful treatment of Yoko was a result of teamwork between our veterinary and consultant expertise and the keepers. It was also made possible with our excellent clinical facilities at the Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre. The veterinary team is responsible for the health of almost 4,000 animals at Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. Our demonstrated capabilities in wildlife medical treatment put us in the lead as a regional centre of excellence for wildlife veterinary healthcare and research in conserving global biodiversity.”

As part of an on-going tripartite collaboration between the Singapore Zoo, Lisbon Zoo in Portugal and Ueno Zoo in Japan, the Singapore Zoo is expecting yet another successful Komodo dragon hatching. On 11 November last year, the Zoo collected another viable egg that was laid by Yoko. The incubation period of Komodo dragons is usually nine months. The recent viable egg collected is likely to hatch sometime in August this year.

Meanwhile, the first young Komodo dragon, which hatched on 15 November 2009, is now close to seven months old. It is approximately 50cm in length, which is five times its size at birth. Weaned on a diet of pinkies (young mice), the little dragon’s diet is gradually changing to include small furred mice and strips of beef dusted with calcium.

An injured Yoko

The V.A.C.® in action

Yoko is almost healed


The Komodo dragon hatchling at 5 months old

SINGAPORE ZOO VET HELPS KING COBRA SHED ITS SKIN

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Dr Abraham Mathew, senior vet at Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, carefully removing the slough of a king cobra. The male cobra, which arrived at the Singapore Zoo three months ago, was under quarantine at the time and had problems removing its shed so the vets stepped in to assist. Snakes shed their skin to allow for growth, as well as to remove parasites along with their old skin. The king cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake, and can grow to a length of about 5 metres. Despite its size and reputation for ferocity, it is not aggressive and only attacks when startled, provoked or protecting its eggs. It is one of the few snakes that preys almost exclusively on other snakes.

Dr Abraham Mathew, senior vet at Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, carefully assists a male king cobra which had some trouble removing its shed. The snake had been under quarantine at the time, but has since been transferred to the Singapore Zoo’s Reptile Garden, where it is now on display. Visitors can also see Komodo dragons, Aldabra giant tortoises, rhino iguanas and false gharials at the Reptile Garden. King cobras are the only snakes known to build nests. Females guard the eggs until just before they hatch. Young king cobras are black with striking yellow lateral stripes.

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