GIANT PANDAS ARRIVING SINGAPORE SEPTEMBER 6

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From left: Giant pandas Kai Kai (male) and Jia Jia (female). PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 15 August 2012 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) today announced that the two giant pandas from China will be arriving in Singapore on 6 September 2012.

The giant pandas from Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base will be flown to Singapore on board a Singapore Airlines Cargo Boeing 747 freighter and are expected to touch down at Changi Airport at 8.20 am. The two pandas, named Kai Kai (凯凯) and Jia Jia (嘉嘉), will be housed at the Yangtze River zone of the upcoming River Safari, along with other endangered wildlife from China such as the giant salamander and the red panda. The pandas will add new buzz and excitement to the tourism and leisure landscape, for Singaporeans and visitors.

“After many months of careful planning and preparation, we are happy to welcome the giant pandas to Singapore and to their new home at River Safari. The arrival of Kai Kai and Jia Jia marks the start of an exciting panda research and development opportunity and we look forward to working closely with the Chinese experts to enhance overall understanding on giant panda conservation,” said Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman of WRS.

To ensure that the giant pandas are comfortable during their five-hour flight, the aircraft’s temperature will be set to the bears’ natural habitat conditions and ‘in-flight meals’ will also be provided in the form of bamboo, fruit and water. The pandas will be transported in special crates that offer ventilation and adequate space to move about in relative comfort. A team of keepers and vets from WRS and Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base will be accompanying the giant pandas throughout their journey.

After landing, the giant pandas will receive a celebratory welcome at the airport and will then be moved into a temperature-controlled truck for their journey to River Safari. There, the pandas will be moved into their den block to begin a month-long quarantine. After completing the quarantine process, they will be released into their exhibit to explore and familiarise themselves with their new surroundings before going on public display. Visitors can look forward to visiting the giant panda exhibit in December.

Kai Kai and Jia Jia will be in Singapore for 10 years as part of a joint collaboration between China Wildlife Conservation Association and WRS to raise public awareness on wildlife conservation and develop a breeding programme for these endangered animals. There are fewer than 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild. The pair of giant pandas also emphasises the close diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.

CapitaLand, the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the Giant Panda collaborative programme, has pledged a conservation donation to support the 10-year collaborative programme to promote giant panda conservation; and Singapore Airlines is the Official Airline Sponsor of these gentle animals.

Singapore will be the ninth country to receive giant pandas from China since 1994.

Note: Further details will be given closer to the giant pandas’ arrival date.

NIGHT SAFARI OPENS NEW WALLABY TRAIL AUGUST 17

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13 NEW EXHIBITS FEATURING MAMMALS, BIRDS AND REPTILES FROM AUSTRALASIAN REGION

(From left) Parma wallaby, tawny frogmouth, white-lipped python and the Naracoorte Cave.

SINGAPORE, 14 AUGUST 2012 – Visitors can expect animals hopping, slithering and crawling in their new exhibits at Night Safari’s latest Wallaby Trail. This walking trail officially opens to the public this Friday, August 17, and will bring visitors through a fascinating discovery of wildlife in the Australasian region which includes Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand.

Originally the Forest Giants Trail, the revamped walking trail features 13 new indoor and outdoor animal exhibits. Visitors can expect close encounters with a range of marsupials, including the parma and Bennett’s wallabies in a walk-through exhibit designed to let visitors get as close as possible to its residents. Other animals include Australia’s native bird, the tawny frogmouth, and the white-lipped python from Papua New Guinea.

“We’re excited to highlight these Australasian species in the Wallaby Trail because the Australasian region is home to more than one million species of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. The introduction of this walking trail adds another dimension to Night Safari’s wildlife experience and we hope to inspire visitors to appreciate and protect the earth’s extraordinary biodiversity,” said Mr. Kumar Pillai, General Manager, Night Safari.

The most prominent feature in the walking trail is the Naracoorte Cave. This re-construction of the Naracoorte Caves National Park in South Australia offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of cave dwellers such as free-flying bats, the giant river toad and the beauty snake. Through the use of dim lightings, this cave chamber showcases stalactite and stalagmite structures simulating a limestone cave. The trail also features an educational interpretive centre that showcases the beauty of Australasian flora and fauna through various animal and plant specimens.

The Wallaby Trail covers 4,800 square metres and can be easily accessed from the park’s main tram station.

WALLABY TRAIL HIGHLIGHTS

Entrance of Naracoorte Cave (left) and stalactites on the cave ceiling (right)

Parma and Bennett’s wallabies
Parma and Bennett’s wallabies are members of the macropod family which includes marsupials such as kangaroos and tree-kangaroos.

Like most marsupials, these wallabies carry young in pouches until they are developed.

Unlike kangaroos, wallabies are smaller. The parma wallaby is one of the smallest of the wallaby species, measuring approximately 50cm and weighing 5kg.

Bennett’s wallaby (left) and parma wallaby (right)

Sugar glider
This palm-sized animal gets its name from its fondness for sweet items such as fruits and flowers as well as its ability to glide up to 100 metres through the air.

Like their kangaroo cousins, these squirrel-like creatures also carry their young in a pouch.

A furry membrane that stretches from wrist to ankle allows them to glide through the night air, using the membrane as a parachute.

Sugar glider

Visitors can catch the sugar gliders in action as they glide from one branch to another in this exhibit.

White-lipped python
Found in Papua New Guinea, this beautiful python is easily recognised by the white marking along its lips.

This non-venomous snake feeds mainly on small mammals such as rats, lizards and birds, which are killed by constriction.

White-lipped python

Tawny frogmouth
The tawny frogmouth is native to Australia where it is commonly known as the morepork. Often mistaken for owls, these birds are in fact closely related to nightjars.

These nocturnal insect hunters have whisker-like feathers around their wide, frog-like mouths to trap prey. Unlike other birds that fly at night catching insects, tawny frogmouths remain very still, waiting for prey.

Their mottled greyish-brown plumage serves as effective camouflage during the day while perching on trees. When they stiffen their bodies and hold their heads up, they look like a branch.

Tawny frogmouth

Brush-tailed possum
The brush-tailed possum is a tree-dwelling nocturnal marsupial and the most common possum species in Australia. The largest of all possums, this animal has a naked patch on the underside of the tail to help it grip branches.

Brush-tailed possum

PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE ZOO’S PRIMATE KINGDOM WELCOMES PRINCE OF PEACE

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28 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER FOR THE ENDANGERED DOUC LANGUR TROOP

Singapore, 3 Aug 2012 — Recent visitors to Singapore Zoo might have seen bright flashes of red, gold and grey flitting through the trees at Primate Kingdom. Eagle-eyed guests may even have seen a small, duller flash darting about, with a bigger ball of colour following close behind.

This is no trapeze artist at the Zoo, but a precocious new addition to the 15-strong Douc langur family that resides at Primate Kingdom. An, which means “peace” in both Vietnamese and Chinese, is the 28th successful birth that we have welcomed since 1988 and mum Sawadee’s second baby. Coincidentally, An arrived at our zoo on 28 April this year.

Baby An makes a leap for the next branch as mum Sawadee follows closely behind.

Though red-shanked Douc langurs are classified as monkeys, their multi-coloured coats (consisting red, black, white, grey and gold highlights), complete with blue eyes, have earned them the title of “costumed ape”.

At just slightly over three months old, Baby An’s body colouration is lighter than mum and the other adults. As he grows older, his coat will darken as his face lightens, achieving adult colouration at 10 months.

While the Douc langurs in Singapore Zoo enjoy a protected environment, ample food and a large, naturalistic habitat, the same cannot be said for their counterparts in the wild. Native to the rainforests of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, they are listed as endangered on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species.

Locals hunt this monkey for food and its body parts, which are used in the preparation of traditional medicines. The Douc langur’s beauty has also become its undoing as it is sometimes hunted to sustain the international pet trade. During the Vietnam War, its forest habitat was also destroyed by defoliating agents and bombs.

“It is fitting that we name this new baby after the word ‘peace’,” said Mr Alagappasamy Chellaiyah, Assistant Director, Zoology, Singapore Zoo, “It is our hope that humans eventually make peace with this species, and realise the importance of conserving, rather than killing them.”

Baby An hitches a ride with mum – baby Douc langurs cling to their mothers instinctively after they’re born, and achieve greater independence from them between 8-18 months of age.

Sawadee shares a quiet moment with her son while perched atop the vines of their habitat.

Singapore Zoo’s Primate Kingdom is home to 15 of these beautiful primates. Of the 28 babies born here, some have been sent to zoos overseas as part of the Zoo’s ex-situ conservation efforts through its worldwide exchange programme. In March this year, Wani, a female Douc langur, was sent to Yokohama Zoo on a breeding loan. She will be joined by another Douc langur later this year.

*International Union for the Conservation of Nature

PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE