Singapore, 22 March 2011 – In conjunction with Earth Day 2011 and Jurong Bird Park’s 40th anniversary, the world’s largest bird park is working with students from Nanyang Polytechnic and Greenridge Primary School to build 40 bird houses. Some of the bird houses will be placed in the two schools, as well as in Jurong Bird Park’s African Waterfall Aviary and Southeast Asian Birds Aviary, and are a part of the Park’s ongoing efforts towards conservation and education.

These bird houses, also known as nest boxes, will advocate nesting of small birds such as love birds, starlings, magpie robins, fairy blue-birds, and white-rumped shamas at the aviaries. Such bird houses are presently provided in the aviaries to minimise aggression and competition for nesting sites when breeding season comes round. These bird houses have proven to be popular, with 80-90% of them utilised every season.

On 22 March, an avian keeper will teach and supervise students as they build and paint the bird houses at a day learning session. Held at the Bird Discovery Centre in the Bird Park, students will have the opportunity to learn more about the different species of birds, nature and habitats available at the park. Members of the public are also invited to visit the park a day after Earth Day on 23 April 2011, where the students will get a chance to engage visitors and assist them in building individual bird houses.

“Jurong Bird Park has evolved from a recreational park into a centre for bird life, with a strong focus on education and conservation. Education plays a pivotal role in the area of conservation and we believe it is crucial for all our guests to be aware of, and understand the importance of biodiversity. Through this, we hope this will inspire our guests, even the very young, to develop a passion for bird life,” said Ms Fanny Lai, Group Chief Executive Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

She added, “Bird houses are considered scientific tools when used properly since a great deal of learning can be done by observing birds in them. A good example is the bird house we designed for the Oriental pied hornbill project which led to a successful nationwide re-introduction programme. Bird houses also play an important role in the conservation of birds in heavily populated urban areas like Singapore where very few natural nesting places are found. Birds have different physical and behavioral needs, thus there is not one bird house that is suitable to all. The types of birds that will nest on a garden, yard or property are largely determined by the habitat. As such, a mixture of habitats may attract a greater number of birds back to Singapore. I hope more schools and organisations will come forward to build more bird houses to revive bird life in Singapore.”

As part of this project, Nanyang Polytechnic and Greenridge Primary School will be placing three and five bird houses respectively, on their school compound. These bird houses are targeted to provide a habitat for magpie robins to nest.

“Getting our students to be involved in the bird house project is a small but important step in bringing them closer to nature and especially in caring for our feathered friends. This project will certainly get the students to think about creative ways in making bird houses, and we look forward to their excitement when the schoolyard evolves from a simple garden to a sensorial environment where students can actually get closer to bird life,” said Mrs Chew Lai Mun, Principal, Greenridge Primary School.

Bird houses that will be placed in the Southeast Asian Birds Aviary are painted in earth tones such as khaki green, brown and black, with illustrations of rainforest elements. Although non¬toxic paint is used, bird houses are not painted for the African Waterfall Aviary due to the differences in behavioural characteristics of the birds. Birds in the African Waterfall Aviary have strong beaks, and there is the possibility of them nibbling and scraping off the paint, while their counterparts in the Southeast Asian Birds Aviary have soft bills, which minimise that possibility.

Greenridge Primary students hard at work assembling
Primary students adding colour to the assembled bird houses
A sea of happy faces



Singapore, 16 March 2011 – After a six-month-long nationwide contest, the names of Singapore’s two most highly anticipated soon-to-be ‘permanent residents’ have been selected from nearly 1,000 entries submitted by the public last year. A distinguished judging panel has picked “Kai Kai” (凯凯) and “Jia Jia” (嘉嘉) as the new names for the two Giant Panda cubs as they bear special significance of the close relationship between Singapore and China. The names “Kai Kai” (凯凯) and “Jia Jia” (嘉嘉) won by a clear majority of the judges’ votes.

The seven-person judging panel consisted of representatives from different agencies and organisations, namely Mr Chen Jiang, Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Singapore; Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ms Aw Kah Peng, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board; Professor Wang Gungwu, Chairman, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore; Mr Liew Mun Leong, President and CEO, CapitaLand Group; Ms Jennie Chua, Chief Corporate Officer, CapitaLand Limited; and Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

“Kai Kai”, the name for the male giant panda, was chosen as it means ‘victorious’ in Chinese (as in 凯旋, 凯歌) and is a testament to the 20 triumphant years of Sino-Singapore relations. For the female giant panda, ‘Jia Jia’ which means beautiful and fine, is a reflection of the excellent ties between Singapore and China. On another level, the Chinese character ‘Jia’ (嘉) was used in the old Chinese reference for Singapore (星嘉坡) and the phonetic pronunciation of ‘Jia’ is equivalent to the Mandarin pronunciation of the Chinese character ‘加’, which is not only an integral part of Singapore’s current Chinese name (新加坡), but also means ‘to add’ – representing the wish to expand the giant panda family in Singapore through a successful breeding programme at WRS.

“We can refer to our giant pandas by name, and that is an exciting development for us, especially since these names were submitted by Singaporeans. These are meaningful and beautiful names, chosen to reflect the symbolic ties we have with China, and the future these pandas will have in Singapore. People here have shown tremendous support for our giant panda conservation programme and we hope the community will continue to demonstrate their commitment to wildlife conservation,” said Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, WRS.

Added Mr Chen Jiang, Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Singapore: “The bond between Singapore and China is one that is built on mutual trust and respect, and the two giant pandas are an expression of that close friendship. They also mark the commitment to conserve and safeguard the existence of these endangered animals.”

Mr Lim Chin Beng, Chairman of CapitaLand Hope Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CapitaLand, said: “These symbolic names reflect the strong bilateral relationship between Singapore and China over the last 20 years, and will further strengthen the close friendship and economic ties between the two countries going forward. The Giant Panda collaborative programme will raise cultural exchange and understanding between Singapore and China, and also promote wildlife conservation education among the young. It is against this backdrop that CapitaLand, as a responsible corporate citizen in Singapore and China, is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the programme.”

The duo – a three-year-old male and his two-year-old female companion – will arrive in Singapore next year, as part of a joint collaboration between WRS and China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) to raise awareness for the conservation of these gentle creatures, and the development of a breeding programme for these critically endangered animals. The pandas also represent the close diplomatic relations between Singapore and China. Singapore is the seventh country to receive giant pandas from China since 1994.

The person whose entry was picked by the judges is a 38 year old Singaporean, Ms Angeline Fong, who will receive a complimentary three-night stay at any Ascott serviced residence worldwide, an exclusive preview of the giant panda exhibit when it opens in 2012, and other attractive prizes.

The two furry black and white envoys are due to arrive in early 2012 and will be housed at WRS’ upcoming attraction, the River Safari, Asia’s first river-themed park. Visitors at the River Safari will be able to observe the giant pandas up close in an environment similar to that of their natural habitat, naturally landscaped with a lush bamboo forest, shallow streams, trees and boulders for the animals to explore and play.

Giant Pandas are among the rarest bear species in the world with less than 1,600 left in the wild. They are classified as endangered under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. The population of giant pandas in the wild continues to dwindle due to the loss and destruction of their natural habitat.

For more information, please visit www.riversafari.com.sg

Jia Jia - the female Giant Panda
Kai Kai - the male Giant Panda


Singapore, 14 March 2011 – The legacy of Singapore Zoo’s most iconic resident, Ah Meng, continues to grow with the recent birth of her first great grandson earlier this year. Chomel, Ah Meng’s granddaughter, gave birth to the male orang utan on 31 Jan at about 4.20am. Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is inviting Singaporeans to pick his name via an online voting system on Facebook.

The Zoology team at the Singapore Zoo has shortlisted four names for the newborn and is asking members of the public to choose their favourite. The names are:

1. Ah Boy: A common term of endearment for many boys at home in Singapore
2. Bino: Meaning ‘Brave’ in Bahasa Indonesia
3. Terang: Meaning ‘Bright’ in Malay
4. Xing Xing: In Chinese, this means both ‘star’ and ‘ape

The contest on the WRS Facebook page is open to everyone who is a fan of the page. Voting will end 31 March 2011 and the name which earns the most number of ‘likes’ on Facebook will be the chosen name for the baby orang utan.

A lucky participant will be selected at random from the winning votes and will win a dining experience for five at Singapore Zoo’s Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife. The winner will also have the opportunity to take an exclusive photo with mother and baby.

The little orang utan made his public debut in February during Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife with mother Chomel, and will make regular appearances at this special wildlife breakfast programme. Singapore Zoo, operated by WRS which also runs other award-winning parks such as the Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, and the upcoming river-themed attraction River Safari, is the only zoo in the world that offers this unique dine-with-wildlife experience, which allows visitors to get up close to animals like orang utans and snakes during a breakfast buffet.

In celebration of the baby orang utan’s appearance on Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife, one child dines for free with every two paying adults from now until 20 March 2011.

The newborn is the 36th orang utan and the fourth descendant of Ah Meng to be born at Singapore Zoo. Keepers say he is a very amiable and expressive baby, and always looks like he has a smile on his face.

A total of 26 of these charismatic apes live at the zoo and are displayed as a large social group in a spacious naturalistic enclosure. Singapore Zoo is the first zoo in the world to create free-ranging areas for these arboreal creatures to swing, climb and play. These exhibits comprise tall trees, thick branches, abundant foliage and vines which replicate the animals’ natural environment.

There are two species of orang utan – Bornean and Sumatran. The population of Bornean orang utan is estimated at 55,000 while there are only 7,500 Sumatran orang utan left in the wild, making this species critically endangered. Ah Meng was a female Sumatran orang utan that was smuggled illegally into Singapore and given a home at the Singapore Zoo in 1971. She lived to a ripe old age of 48 (or approximately 95 orang utan years) and was the first to host the Zoo’s Breakfast with Ah Meng programme.

To vote, please visit:

Chomel gently cradles her son, the first Sumatran orang utan to be born at Singapore Zoo in more than a decade. Photo courtesy of Bjorn Olesen
Chomel and her newborn


Jurong Bird Park, the world’s largest bird paradise, will launch a brand new hawk show featuring up to 25 birds of prey on 12 March. Aptly named ‘Kings of the Skies,’ the revamped show will feature a larger cast of birds, including Cinereous vultures, griffin vultures, white bellied sea eagles, lugger falcons and Eurasian eagle owls.

Once a sport only practised by nobles, guests will have a chance to learn more about falconry through this show which conveys the spirit and art of falconry practised by various countries in the past. The highly interactive and engaging show will feature other animals such as a horse and dog alongside the birds for the first time. Key highlights of the show include the Mongolian Falconer on horseback with Batelur eagle, 2 Medieval Falconers demonstrating a hunting collaboration between a dog and a Harris hawk, and the show’s finale, where 6 species of vultures like Cinereous vultures, Repel’s Griffin vultures, white-backed vultures, turkey vultures, a white-headed vulture and a Himalayan Griffin vulture take to the stage.

Date: Daily – Beginning 12 March 2011 (Saturday)
Time: 10am & 4pm
Venue: Fuji Hawk Walk
Admission fee: Adult – S$18.00, Child (3 – 12 years old) – $12.00

A bald eagle showcasing its flight ability as part of the segment on medieval falconry in the Show
A Cinerous vulture skulks in as part of the Show’s finale with six other species of vultures
A medieval falconer with a Harris hawk, which will demonstrate hunting by flying to a lure
A Mongolian falconer rides out on horseback with a Batelur eagle