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 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.

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