POCKETS FULL OF JOEYS AT NIGHT SAFARI’S NEWEST TRAIL

1 Comment

WALLABY BIRTHS A FIRST FOR BENNETT’S AND PARMA SPECIES

First baby wallaby peeking out at Night Safari

SINGAPORE, 31 JULY 2012 – Just a few weeks before their newly-built home at Night Safari opens, zoo keepers saw tiny little heads peeking out of the pouches of their newest residents – the Bennett’s and parma wallabies. Both species arrived in January and were brought in for the park’s upcoming walking trail, the Wallaby Trail, scheduled to open on 17 August this year.

The birth of Bennett’s and parma joeys – 2 for each species – is a first for Night Safari since their arrival. Prior to this, both Night Safari and Singapore Zoo never had these two wallaby species in their animal collection. Bennett’s and parma wallabies are members of the macropod family which include marsupials such as kangaroos and tree-kangaroos. The parma wallaby is one of the smallest wallabies, with a length between 45-55cm (excluding its tail) and a body weight of up to 6 kg.

Visitors can expect close encounters with these wallabies in a walk-through exhibit at the Wallaby Trail, Night Safari’s newest trail that will bring visitors through a fascinating discovery of wildlife in the Australasian region. Other animals include Australia’s native bird, the tawny frogmouth, and the white-lipped python from Papua New Guinea.

Keepers noticed movement from the pouch of this female parma wallaby in mid-June. By the end of June, they saw a joey sticking its head out of the pouch.
Like most marsupials, females give birth to tiny, underdeveloped young carried in a special pouch. Inside the pouch, the joey attaches to a nipple and nurses for several months before venturing out into the world.

The Bennett’s wallaby is about 80 cm tall and can be identified through its thick and tawny grey fur, black paws and the red nape and shoulders.

A Bennett’s wallaby and its joey.
Even though the joey has grown big enough to leave the pouch, it will occasionally hop in and out of the pouch for the next few months to nurse.

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE CELEBRATES NATION’S BIRTHDAY

9 Comments

AUGUST BABIES ENTER FREE AT JURONG BIRD PARK AND SINGAPORE ZOO

Singapore, 30 Jul 2012 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s parks will be celebrating the nation’s birthday with a month-long promotion in August. Singaporeans and Permanent Residents born in the same month as Singapore will be offered free admission at Jurong Bird Park and Singapore Zoo. To redeem, simply flash your identification card at the respective ticketing counters.

Details at a glance:
Date: 1 – 31 August 2012
Time: 8:30am – 6:00pm
Venue: Singapore Zoo and Jurong Bird Park

Terms and conditions:
• Valid from 1 – 31 Aug 2012
• Valid for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents only
• Proof of identity required
• Not valid with other offers and online purchase. Redemption valid at point of purchase only
• Promotion is only valid at Jurong Bird Park and Singapore Zoo
• Offer is not exchangeable for cash
• Does not include tram ride at Jurong Bird Park and Singapore Zoo

National Day is the perfect time to spend with loved ones, so why not make it a family affair with our array of activities for every age?

Jurong Bird Park Highlights
Take the kids to the Birdz of Play area at Jurong Bird Park, where they can flap their imaginary wings at Singapore’s only bird-themed playground. Cool off in the tropical heat at the wet play area, which even comes with a giant tipping bucket that will get them wet and wild!

Fancy an educational but equally fun activity? Take them to the newly opened Breeding & Research Centre, where you’ll find out all about the breeding and nursing processes that take place at the Bird Park.

Explore the various delights that the Bird Park has to offer, from the majestic African Waterfall Aviary with over 1,000 free-flying native African birds to the Lory Loft, where birds will quite literally eat out of your hands! Also not to be missed is the Kings of the Skies show, which will take you back in time to appreciate the ancient medieval art of falconry.

Have these colourful winged wonders quite literally eating out of your hands at the Bird Park’s Lory loft.

The newly opened Birdz of Play offers hours of splashing-good fun!

Singapore Zoo Highlights
Make getting up early a joyous affair with Singapore Zoo’s Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife. This programme allows visitors to come up close and personal to animals such as elephants and orang utans, or even pet a snake – all this while enjoying a sumptuous buffet breakfast with an international spread. After filling yourselves up, embark on a journey into the world’s best rainforest zoo, with open-concept exhibits that allow you to come even closer to nature.

Dine alongside animals like the orang utan at Singapore Zoo’s Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife programme.

Watch our orang utans having fun at their free-ranging exhibit – the largest of its kind in the world. Equipped with vines and branches to allow them to swing around freely, the exhibit also has platforms and hammocks, which stimulate these highly intelligent apes mentally. Step into the Fragile Forest, where you’ll be greeted by creatures such as ring-tailed lemurs, flying foxes, mousedeer and sloths, all at arms-length!

Watch our free-ranging orang utans live and play at their exhibit.

Come up close to our Madagascar natives, the ring-tailed lemurs at the Fragile Forest.

ALL HAIL THE KINGS AT JURONG BIRD PARK

Leave a comment

JURONG BIRD PARK IS THE FIRST IN SOUTH EAST ASIA AND THE SECOND GLOBALLY TO SUCCESSFULLY BREED THE KING BIRD-OF-PARADISE

Two king bird-of-paradise hatchlings at 14 days old

Fully fledged king bird-of-paradise chicks being fed by the mother

Singapore, 19 July 2012Jurong Bird Park is the first in South East Asia and the second institution globally to successfully breed the king bird-of-paradise. Out of a clutch of two eggs, two chicks hatched on 18 May, bringing the total number of king bird-of-paradise at the Bird Park to five.

Jurong Bird Park first attempted to breed the king bird-of-paradise in 2010. That year, one egg by a breeding pair was found broken and the other was infertile. The inexperienced female king bird-of-paradise was also observed to be throwing eggs out of the nest box. Although the breeding pair was moved to an off-exhibit side aviary in 2011, successful hatchings were not to be achieved until a year later in 2012. Keepers decided to try something slightly different this year. They reused a nest box which already had a nest, abandoned by another female king bird-of-paradise. The present ‘mother’ accepted the nest and laid 2 eggs soon after.

Birds only breed in conditions they feel secure and comfortable in – and this species usually nests at heights of 3metres in the wild. In this instance, although the off-exhibit side aviary had less vegetation for camouflage, and the nest box was lower from the ground at 1.5metres, this breeding pair felt safe in the environment that Bird Park created for them.

“We are very proud to welcome not one, but two king bird-of-paradise hatchlings. Breeding and taking care of birds is not an exact science, and it took two years of dedication and keen observation by our keepers to achieve this. Although listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, restrictions have made it difficult to acquire more numbers of the king bird-of-paradise from New Guinea, so the two hatchlings will certainly add to the collection we have in Bird Park,” said Mr Raja Segran, General Manager, Jurong Bird Park.

Interestingly enough, the king bird-of-paradise is the smallest species of bird-of-paradise. Females are unadorned and a dull brown, while the males are crimson and white with bright blue feet and green-tipped fan-like-plumes on its shoulder. The two elongated tail wires are decorated with emerald green disk feathers on its tip. The king bird-of-paradise is distributed throughout lowland forests of New Guinea and nearby islands. This so-called “living gem” is the smallest and most vividly colored among birds of paradise. The diet consists mainly of fruit and arthropods. An extraordinary display is performed by the male with a series of tail swinging, fluffing of its abdomen white feathers that makes the bird look like a cottonball, and acrobatic pendulum displays.

BIG AND BEAUTIFUL BUNDLE BOUNDS INTO SINGAPORE ZOO

1 Comment

BABY WHITE RHINOCEROS IS 13TH TO BE BORN HERE

SINGAPORE, 11 Jul 2012 — Singapore Zoo recently celebrated the birth of its 13th white rhino, an adorable and curious youngster named Jumaane.

Jumaane, which means “born on Tuesday”, arrived on 10 April this year, which of course, is a Tuesday. Weighing approximately 70kg at birth, he is undoubtedly one of the biggest bundles of joy Singapore Zoo has welcomed to date.

Jumaane (front) was born on 10 April 2012, weighing a hefty 70kg. At birth, rhino calves can weigh between 40-70kg. Over the years, he will grow to an estimated male adult weight of 2,300kg.

Baby Jumaane can be seen exploring or rolling around in the mud in his spacious exhibit at the Wild Africa region of the Zoo. His mother, Shova is always close by though, keeping a watchful eye on her precious baby.

Prolific yet protective: 28-year old Shova stays close by while her baby finds his footing around their exhibit. Jumaane is Shova’s seventh calf.

Baby Jumaane excitedly enjoys exploring his exhibit, which is landscaped to resemble the white rhino’s African habitat.

Crash course: Jumaane is already building bonds with the other rhino residents. Here, he is sharing a nosey moment with 2-year old female Kito, who was also born in Singapore Zoo [Note: A group of rhinos is known as ‘a crash of rhinos’]

White rhinos are considered near threatened in the wild on the IUCN’s* Red List of Threatened species. Together with the Indian rhino, it is the largest species of land mammal after the elephant. They are hunted for their horns, which some believe as having medicinal properties. In fact, the horns are actually made of keratin, the same type of protein that makes up hair and fingernails, and there has been no scientific evidence to suggest that they are a cure for anything.

Singapore Zoo currently has eight of these majestic creatures in its collection, and boasts the most number of white rhinos bred in a single zoo in Southeast Asia. Of the 13 babies born here, some have been sent to Indonesia, Australia, Thailand and Korea as part of the Zoo’s ex-situ conservation efforts through its worldwide exchange programme.

Meet the white rhinos during their daily 1.15pm feeding session—the first ever in Asia—and experience an up close and personal encounter with these giants.

*International Union for the Conservation of Nature
PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

PICTURE THE COLOUR RETURNS FOR A SECOND YEAR IN JURONG BIRD PARK

Leave a comment

DIFFERENTLY THEMED FROM LAST YEAR, THIS EDITION HIGHLIGHTS THE SHOW TEAM’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY

Singapore, 10 July 2012 – It’s time to get trigger-happy as Jurong Bird Park’s vibrantly coloured residents become subjects in the second edition of Picture the Colour. The overwhelming response of more than 6,700 entries for last year’s inaugural photo competition inspired us to run it again this year – albeit with a different theme.

A Show Presenter interacting with Vicky, a great pied hornbill from the Birds n Buddies Show

The owl parade during the Kings of the Skies Show, with the snowy owl in foreground.

This time, we celebrate Bird Shows, which have been a mainstay of the Park for the past 30 years. Over three decades, our shows have gradually veered towards edutainment, complementing the Park’s focus. Guests are often enthralled by our birds’ natural behaviours during shows, which makes it a good time for presenters to weave in conservation nuggets about each species. Finding out more about birds this way makes for an interactive learning experience. The Show team takes care of and trains the show birds, choreographs, pieces the music together and presents the show to visitors. Additionally, they look after some of the other Park exhibits. Shows form an integral part of the entire visitor experience, making this a fitting theme for the Park’s second photo competition.

Participants in the photo competition from 9 July – 30 September can choose to compete in one of two categories: Professional and Amateur. The Professional category caters to avid semi-professional photographers, challenging the skills of contestants in taking birds with DSLR cameras while the Amateur category is aimed at photography fans who use compact cameras. All photo entries are expected to be of presenters with birds in action during shows and feeding programmes at Jurong Bird Park.

The judging panel for Picture the Colour consists of professional photographers from the industry including Mr Lee Tiah Khee, Chief Photographer from Lianhe Zaobao, Ms Joyce Fang, Executive Photojournalist from Straits Times and Mr Terence Tan, a Freelance Photojournalist. They will also be joined by Ms C.S. Ling, a Nikon professional photographer who specializes in wildlife photography.

There will be three winners in each category who will be selected by the judges based on composition, subject, technical detail, creativity, amongst others. Fans of WRS’ Facebook page will also get the opportunity to pick their favourite pictures through a public vote, and a winner will be selected in each category for the ‘most liked picture’.

Supportive sponsors who have come on board to reprise their role from last year are Nikon and Cathay Photo. More than $8,000 worth of prizes are up for grabs. Prizes for this inaugural competition include Nikon products such as the D7000 kit, D5100 kit and the D3100 kit. Other prizes include vouchers from Cathay Photo as well as Jurong Bird Park merchandise. For more information about the ‘Picture the Colour’ photography competition, please visit: http://www.birdpark.com.sg/

HOW THE FLU FLEW AT JURONG BIRD PARK

Leave a comment

Singapore, 09 July 2012 – Home to 380 species of birds numbering 5,000, Jurong Bird Park has never seen an outbreak of avian influenza (H5N1), largely due to the surveillance methods rigorously adopted and put in place.

A veterinarian administers anti-oxidants Vitamins A, D and E to a lesser flamingo in Jurong Bird Park

A veterinarian administers the H5N2 vaccine to a lesser flamingo in Jurong Bird Park

There are various measures taken to screen and keep avian influenza at bay, beginning with the presence of sentinel chickens in the exhibits. Sentinel chickens have no immunity and will fall sick very easily when faced with a disease. They are the first alert in the event of any plausible infection. The blood and faeces of these sentinel chickens are tested monthly for avian influenza.

Before birds are imported into the Park via exchanges with other institutions, they are already tested, and when they arrive in the Park, they are tested once more. Furthermore, as a designated rescued avian centre by the governing authorities, the Bird Park receives donated birds and birds which the public rescue. All these birds from external sources are tested for avian influenza before further action takes place, to avoid compromising the health of the other birds in the park.

Relevant and susceptible species of the avian collection in Jurong Bird Park are also annually vaccinated with H5N2 vaccine, which increases the birds’ immune system by creating viable antibodies. With the immunity boost, there might be a decrease in morbidity when faced with H5N1.

A titer check is also carried out when the veterinarian collects a blood sample which undergoes a laboratory test to determine the efficacy of last year’s vaccination, and the level of H5N2 antibodies the bird produced.

These preventive measures, coupled with an epidemiology survey, an informative tool which indicates the influenza status, and the action the Park needs to take to be free of avian influenza, form the lines of defenses against avian influenza. Over and above these measures, the Bird Park also conducts an annual bird flu drill which simulates an actual outbreak in the event avian flu is encountered, as being prepared is key to combating it.

“All the field staff in the Bird Park are constantly vigilant and aware of the severity of the situation and having these bio-security measures keep the Park flu free. We have the necessary protocols in place, and are well prepared to deal with such an outbreak, should it happen,” said Mr Raja Segran, General Manager, Jurong Bird Park.