Gentle giants to be showcased at Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit.
Singapore, 13 March 2013 – Seven manatees were the first residents to move into the world’s largest freshwater aquarium at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit.
A team comprising more than 20 zookeepers and veterinarians took two days to move the seven manatees – including two calves – from Singapore Zoo to their new home at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest. The new exhibit showcases the annual flooding of the Amazon rainforest where fish and other creatures swim amongst giant trees. The manatees’ home at the world’s largest freshwater aquarium is four times bigger than their previous exhibit at Singapore Zoo.
Manatees are large, slow-moving aquatic mammals that can be found in coastal waters and rivers. They spend six to eight hours a day grazing on aquatic plants, which is why they are also known as sea cows. Adults typically consume 50-100kg of vegetation a day (equivalent to 10-15 percent of their body weight). Listed as vulnerable on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species, manatee numbers have declined throughout the last century due to hunting pressures and entrapment in commercial fishing nets. These gentle giants are often accidentally hit by motorboats.
Through captive breeding, River Safari hopes to contribute to the population of endangered freshwater species such as the manatee. The park now holds one of the largest collections of manatees among ISIS^ institutions with eleven manatees in total.
*IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature
^ISIS – International Species Information System