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

ZOO COMMUNITY HELPS TO SAVE AFFECTED WILDLIFE

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Gland, Switzerland, Tuesday 15 November 2011 (WAZA): After the heavy flooding which has affected nearly the whole of Thailand since beginning of November, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has coordinated flood relief measures within the region. To date, help is provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums and additional help is being prepared by Zoos Victoria in Melbourne, Oceans Park, Hong Kong and Malaysian zoos. Today two vets from Singapore are arriving in Bangkok, bringing urgently needed drugs and other equipment.

Beginning in late July and continuing for over three months, the floods have caused 506 reported deaths by early November, affected over 2.3 million people, and caused damages estimated at up to 156.7 billion baht (5.1 billion USD) as of 18 October.

The flooding has inundated about six million hectares of land, over 300,000 hectares of which is farmland, in 58 provinces. It has been described as the worst flooding yet in terms of the amount of water and people affected.

“Luckily, only Dusit Zoo in Bangkok is in the pathway of the flood. We have made preparations by moving approximately 30 of our hoof stocks to Khao Kheow Open Zoo and the rest of the animals to higher grounds within the zoo. As the flooding continues to spread to lower elevations, we believe there will be more translocations of wildlife needed in the coming weeks” says Mr. Pimuk Simaroj of the Thai Zoological Park Organization.

In order to be able to help, about 30 items, which are urgently needed, have been listed, ranging from anesthetics, to injection needles and nets for capturing snakes and crocodiles. In an unbureaucratic manner emergency relief action could be organized within the wider Asian region. Two vets from Wildlife Reserves Singapore will bring drugs, an anesthetic machine and other equipment such as snake hooks and nets, and also assist their Thai colleagues on the spot to capture escaped reptiles and provide medical care. “In times of increased natural disasters, it is of utmost importance to cooperate within a global community and provide mutual support and assistance, I thank all our member zoos and other partners like Thai Air for their immediate support”, says Dr Gerald Dick, Executive Director of WAZA.

“WRS, as a member of WAZA and SEAZA, is happy to extend assistance in the form of medical supplies and vet resources to our neighbouring partners on the Flood Relieve Mission for wildlife rescue. We will continue to assess the situation together with the Thai conservation groups, and determine further levels of assistance needed. In the meantime, WRS is committed to wildlife research and conservation especially for Asia,” says Isabella Loh, Director and Group CEO of WRS.

Rescue of Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), carried out by the Zoological Park Organisation ©Wanlaya Tipkantha

Rescue of Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), carried out by the Zoological Park Organisation ©Wanlaya Tipkantha

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.

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE, WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE CONSERVATION FUND AND SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL ORGANISE FIRST ASIAN PRIMATE CONSERVATION WORKSHOP

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Singapore, 6 May 2011 – Primates have the closest genetic link to Man, but we have played a hand in the very extinction of many of their species. To stem the tide of destruction and reverse the damage we have inflicted, two industry heavyweights – Wildlife Reserves Singapore and San Diego Zoo Global, together with Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund – are teaming up for the first time to hold a regional workshop to share best practices in primate conservation.

To be held from 1-15 May at the Singapore Zoo, the intensive workshop aims to impart technical skills and knowledge as well as provide hands-on training for zoo professionals and primate researchers who study endangered species in captivity and in the wild.

It will be attended by 32 participants from all over the region, including Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Nepal, China and Taiwan. Students from the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, as well as staff from WRS will also participate.

Lectures will encompass broad overviews of primate taxonomy, behaviour and conservation, and these sessions will include discussions on the best sampling and recording methods, assessments of primate welfare and compilation of scientific data, reports and presentations. Participants will be asked to design behavioural monitoring projects and present their findings at the end of the workshop. Additionally, they will go on field trips to study local primates such as the banded leaf monkey and long-tailed macaques.

Workshop chairman Mr John Sha, who is also curator of conservation and research at WRS said: “This is a very useful workshop for anyone who wants to acquire the professional skills in primate research. Data gathered through behavioural studies and monitoring can provide us with a lot of information on how well the population of species is performing. Through this programme, we hope to develop and adapt methods of study to help these amazing creatures survive in their natural habitat.”

Dr Chia Tan, scientist at San Diego Zoo Institute of Conservation Research said, “Previous partnerships with WRS such as conservation and research projects on the highly endangered proboscis monkeys and Douc langurs, and the turtle conservation workshop have reaped great rewards. We hope this event will strengthen our partnership and make a positive contribution towards primate conservation, especially in this part of the world.”

Human activities like logging are destroying the limited habitat of certain species such as the agile gibbon and proboscis monkey. The demand for pet monkeys also continues to fuel the illegal poaching of these animals.

Part of the funding for the workshop comes from a training grant from The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and contributions from San Diego Zoo Global, Offield Family Foundation, and Primate Conservation, Inc. Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund (WRSCF), an independent charity set up by WRS in 2009 with the purpose of conserving endangered native wildlife, is making up the rest of the cost.

Primate conservation is an important focus area for WRS. It has spearheaded several research studies in the past, including a field survey of proboscis monkeys in Sabah which was co-sponsored by WRS and San Diego Zoo Global. The Singapore Zoo houses one of the world’s largest primate collections, including three species of great apes, the chimpanzee, Sumatran orang utan and Bornean orang utan, the latter two of which are the flagship species of the Singapore Zoo. Visitors can learn more about them at the world’s first orang utan free ranging area built at the zoo.

Niu Kefeng, a participant from China tries to identify several Hamadryas baboons to observe for his workshop project.

San Diego Zoo Global workshop instructor Lance Miller shares tips on the art of observing chimpanzees with two of the participants.

Parkin Runcharoen, a participant from Thailand gets a closer look at the capuchins.

The proboscis monkey will also come under scrutiny during the workshop. Singapore Zoo has the largest breeding group of proboscis monkeys outside its range country,

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