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,

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE TO RECEIVE TWO GIANT PANDAS FROM CHINA

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- WRS’ RIVER SAFARI WILL BE NEW HOME FOR GIANT PANDAS
- WRS TO SIGN MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH CHINA WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION (“CWCA”) TO COLLABORATE ON GIANT PANDA CONSERVATION AND RESEARCH
- CAPITALAND MAKES CONSERVATION DONATION TO SUPPORT THE COLLABORATIVE EFFORT

Singapore, November 11, 2009Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), parent company of Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo will receive a pair of male and female Giant Pandas from China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) as part of a joint collaboration to promote giant panda conservation, raise public awareness of conservation and implement a giant panda breeding research programme. The pandas are symbolic of the close relationship between Singapore and China as the Republic celebrates the 20th Anniversary of friendly Sino-Singapore relations. This was announced by President Hu Jintao following a meeting with President S R Nathan earlier this evening.

The two pandas, which are scheduled to arrive in Singapore in the second half of 2011, will have a new home at the River Safari, the fourth and latest nature park by WRS. Preliminary work for River Safari has begun and construction is due to be completed by mid-2011. Visitors will be able to see the pandas when River Safari opens its doors in early 2012.

Both WRS and CWCA will ink their commitment to the conservation collaboration through an Agreement with the objective of knowledge exchange on reproductive science and education on wildlife in China.

The partnership will be sealed at a signing ceremony on November 12 in the presence of President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, signaling high-level support from both governments.

“We are pleased that the pandas mark the strong and continuing friendship between the two countries. The strong support from both our governments will give us great impetus to work with our Chinese counterpart in global nature and wildlife conservation, and to learn, adopt and implement best practices. This collaboration will also boost greater interest in the areas of conservation, especially for the giant pandas,” said Ms Claire Chiang, WRS’ Chairman.

To support this conservation effort, CapitaLand Limited, one of Asia’s largest real estate companies with a strong presence in China for 15 years, has pledged a conservation donation to support the 10-year collaborative programme.

Mr Liew Mun Leong, President and CEO of CapitaLand Group, said: “Over the last 15 years, CapitaLand has actively participated in China’s urbanisation. Today, we have an extensive presence with a portfolio worth over S$20 billion (on a when-completed basis) comprising about 100 projects spanning 40 cities across China. This conservation donation is yet another testament of CapitaLand’s long-term commitment to China. This collaborative effort will raise cultural exchange and understanding between the two countries and further strengthen the strong relationship between Singapore and China.”

Husbandry and Veterinary Care
“With WRS’ Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre established since 2006, we have the necessary infrastructure in place – latest technology in veterinary equipment and animal management team with extensive field experience – to care for the giant pandas. Through close collaboration with the CWCA, we will be even better positioned to achieve our objectives of promoting giant panda conservation and raise public awareness of conservation. Along with all Singaporeans, we eagerly await the arrival of the pandas,” said Ms Fanny Lai, WRS’ Group CEO.

WRS has identified a team of zookeepers and veterinarians to look after the husbandry needs and veterinary care of the pandas. During the next two years, zookeepers will receive training on the husbandry, nutrition and housing of pandas. A researcher on the team will monitor as well as study the husbandry, nutrition, behaviour and reproduction of the pandas.

In addition, a team of panda experts from China will come to Singapore to provide training as well as expert guidance on creating the ideal environment for the pandas.

Caring for pandas is not new to WRS. In 1990 one of WRS’ parks, Singapore Zoo, welcomed and cared for two giant pandas “An-An” and “Xin-Xing” for 100 days.

Exhibit, Housing and Conservation Education
In line with the needs of the pandas, their new home at the River Safari will be designed and constructed to meet the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) standards.

As a strong proponent of conservation education, WRS will be looking at enriching visitors’ experience with panda conservation interpretives, educational programmes and behind-the-scenes experience on panda care.

River Safari
River Safari will be located along Mandai Lake Road, adjacent to Night Safari and Singapore Zoo. The new attraction will be Asia’s first river-themed animal park comprising of boat rides, display of freshwater habitats and other highlights offering close-up multi-sensory experience for the young and old, with the aim to create greater awareness of freshwater habitat conservation. The development will be built with environmental sensitivity and minimal impact on the Mandai Nature Reserve area.

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