SINGAPORE ZOO TURNS 40 WITH WILD BIRTHDAY BASH

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CELEBRATIONS CONTINUE WITH YEAR-ROUND ACTIVITIES. ZOO THANKS NATION WITH SPECIAL 40% OFF ADMISSION PRICE FOR SINGAPOREANS IN JULY.

Singapore, 27 June 2013Singapore Zoo turned 40 today and a party was thrown in her honour to mark the momentous occasion. Mr S.R. Nathan, Sixth President of Singapore, was present for the celebrations alongside those who have helped in her growth as a world-renowned zoo, including popular animal stars such as the orang utans.

Guest of Honour Mr S R Nathan at Elephant garlanding

Guest of Honour Mr S R Nathan at Elephant garlanding

“Singapore Zoo turning 40 is a very significant occasion for us at Wildlife Reserves Singapore. In the past 40 years, Singapore Zoo has become a fun and educational institution that both Singaporeans and international friends love. Many of us have grown up with her and many more have fond memories of coming to the zoo with our families, friends and teachers,” said Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore. “This journey has been one filled with much excitement along the way and we have treasured every minute of it because we want people from around the world to be inspired by nature and develop a deep appreciation for wildlife.”

Mr S R Nathan and Ms Claire Chiang officiated Singapore Zoo's 40th Birthday Celebrations

Mr S R Nathan and Ms Claire Chiang officiated Singapore Zoo’s 40th Birthday Celebrations

Singapore Zoo first opened its doors to visitors on 27 June 1973 with a collection of 272 animals representing 72 species. This was after five years of development work which began in 1968 when Dr Ong Swee Law, Chairman of Singapore’s Public Utilities Board, conceived the idea of locating the zoo in the catchment forests around the Upper Seletar Reservoir.

Since then, the Zoo has established herself as one of the world’s finest, not only for her unique collection of animals and immersive exhibits, but also for her leadership in conservation, education and recreation. Some of her fondest memories include the first orang utan birth in 1975, the opening of the Children’s Zoo and Adventureland in 1980, and the release of the first free-ranging animals – the squirrel monkeys, cotton-top tamarins and cotton-eared marmosets – in the zoo in 1992. Today, she has a collection of over 2,800 animals of over 300 species, 26 per cent of which are threatened.

Orang Utan Chomel meets Mr S R Nathan

Orang Utan Chomel meets Mr S R Nathan

Orang Utans enjoying the Singapore Zoo 40th Birthday Fruit cake

Orang Utans enjoying the Singapore Zoo 40th Birthday Fruit cake

Annually, over 1.7 million Singapore and international visitors enjoy experiential learning journeys at the award-winning zoo. Singapore Zoo has become an evergreen destination which many visitors discover as children. As years pass, they re-visit as parents when their own little ones are growing up, and eventually return as grandparents with their grandchildren.

“As our world continues to urbanise, we have an even more important and urgent task at hand of educating the public to appreciate, protect and secure the future of our most valued assets – wildlife – because once gone, we won’t get to enjoy that anymore. Singapore Zoo will continue its mission to inspire its visitors to develop an appreciation for nature and wildlife. We look forward to stronger collaborations with our partners to bring fun and value to our visitors, especially the young ones,” said Ms Chiang.

Mr S R Nathan signing on the Singapore Zoo 40th Birthday Card

Mr S R Nathan signing on the Singapore Zoo 40th Birthday Card

As a gesture of thanks to the local community, 40th birthday surprises will continue all year round, starting with a 40% discount on admission throughout July for all Singaporeans and permanent residents to join in the merriment and celebrate the park’s milestone birthday.

In addition, guests can take part in the 40 Wild Years Trail, and redeem retail and F&B offers upon completion. The trail will run from 27 June – 31 July 2013 and consists of five questions that will take visitors to some iconic sites within Singapore Zoo. Activity sheets will be available at all Singapore Zoo ticket counters.

For more information and the latest updates on Singapore Zoo’s 40th anniversary celebrations, visit www.zoo40.zoo.com.sg, or www.facebook.com/wrs.sg.

CONSERVATION OF PANGOLINS GIVEN HOPE AT INAUGURAL ‘SCALING UP PANGOLIN CONSERVATION’ CONFERENCE

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First ever conference by IUCN Pangolin Specialist Group and Wildlife Reserves Singapore to be a global voice in the protection and conservation of pangolins.

Pangolin and young

Pangolin and young

Singapore/London, 19 June 2013 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore and the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN-SSC) Pangolin Specialist Group have come together to organise the first ever global conference on the rather shy, nocturnal pangolins which for years have been under threat from poachers for their meat and scales.

Themed ‘Scaling up Pangolin Conservation’, the four day conference from 24 – 27 June held at Night Safari aims to devise an overarching conservation strategy to improve their conservation efforts with specific and measurable initiatives, and to provide input into formal IUCN Red List assessments to reassess their status to further protect the species.

Professor Jonathan Baillie, Conservation Programmes Director at the Zoological Society of London and Co-Chair of the IUCN-SSC Pangolin Specialist Group said, “This is a landmark event in pangolin conservation, we will have 50 researchers from around the world gathered to set a road-map for conserving pangolins over the next decade. Especially important here is formulating ways to reduce demand for pangolins in Asia.”

While they may look like walking pine-cones, pangolins, or scaly-anteaters as they are also known, are one of the most trafficked mammals in Asia, and increasingly, in Africa. Globally, they are illegally traded in their tens of thousands each year.

This trade is primarily to China and Vietnam where they are considered a delicacy and their scales used in traditional medicines. In response to the magnitude of trade and other threats including loss of habitat and ill-considered land management practices, the IUCN-SSC Pangolin Specialist Group, an expert group of pangolin conservationists, was established in February 2012.

“Rapid action is urgently needed if pangolins in Africa and Asia are to be conserved given the rate at which they are being exploited for East Asian luxury markets,” commented Dan Challender, Co-Chair of the IUCN-SSC Pangolin Specialist Group and doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology.

The inaugural pangolin conference is part of Wildlife Reserves Conservation Fund’s (WRSCF) efforts to conserve endangered native wildlife. Since its inception in 2009, the Fund has supported various projects and conferences.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer at Wildlife Reserves Singapore said, “For years WRS has been working on helping our critically endangered species locally, via research and captive breeding. We are very pleased to co-organise and host this event, bringing together the foremost pangolin experts in the world, striving to find a strategy that will help this group of unique animals globally.”

To further raise public awareness to the plight faced by the pangolins, a free for public seminar will be held on 28 June from 12.30pm – 4pm at the Forest Lodge in Singapore Zoo with a series of four talks by experts:

  1. Trade in wildlife for meat and medicines pushing Southeast Asian species towards extinction by Chris Shepherd, Acting Regional Director for TRAFFIC in South-East Asia
  2. From the IUCN SSC and new technology for addressing illegal wildlife trade by Jonathan Baillie, Conservation Programmes Director at the Zoological Society of London and Co-Chair of the IUCN-SSC Pangolin Specialist Group
  3. The pangolin trade in Asia by Dan Challender, Co-Chair of the IUCN-SSC Pangolin Specialist Group and doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology
  4. Pangolins of Singapore: In situ and ex situ conservation efforts by Razak Jaffar, Assistant Curator, Night Safari, Wildlife Reserves Singapore

As there are limited seats to the public seminar available, interested participants are advised to RSVP by 21 June to Yap Xinli at xinli.yap@wrs.com.sg.

Additionally, to extend the message on pangolin conservation even further to the visitors at Night Safari, an outreach programme has been planned. Visitors to Night Safari on 21, 22, 28 and 29 June will be able to hear more about pangolins from the keepers at a short 15minute session starting from 9.15pm at the Pangolin Exhibit along the Fishing Cat Trail. Over the years, Night Safari has fine-tuned captive management of these unassuming creatures and has achieved a global first: The world’s first institution successfully to breed and raise the Sunda pangolin in captivity.

The ‘SCALING UP PANGOLIN CONSERVATION’ CONFERENCE has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund, the Zoological Society of London, San Antonio Zoo, the Houston Zoo, TRAFFIC and Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong.

NIGHT SAFARI UNVEILS ART SEEN AND HERD! EXHIBITION ON WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

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SINGAPORE, 6 June 2013 – After weeks of brainstorming and preparation, Night Safari’s Art Seen & Herd! exhibition was officially unveiled to the public yesterday, in celebration of World Environment Day. Visitors to Night Safari were treated to a visual bonanza as four of Singapore’s street artists unleashed wild artworks inspired by threatened animals to spread awareness about poaching and the dwindling wildlife population.

The four artists – Michael Ng (‘Mindflyer’), Samantha Lo (‘SKL0’), Luthfi Mustafah (‘The Killer Gerbil’) and Eman Jeman (‘ClogTwo’) – also shared the inspiration and ideas behind their works, as well as the conservation messages that they hope to convey to visitors. Animals featured in the exhibition are often hunted and farmed to feed continuing consumer demand for animal parts for use in traditional medicine, despite the presence of synthetic substitutes or there being no real evidence of the efficacy of these treatments.

Visitors can catch this free exhibition from now till 15 July 2013 at Night Safari’s entrance plaza. To encourage students to learn more about the threats facing wildlife, Night Safari is offering a 50% discount on admission after 9pm from 1 June to 31 August 2013. The Art Seen & Herd! project also encourages students to take action by sharing information on the threats facing the animals and what they can do to save these species via popular social media platforms such as Instagram. More information on the contest and student discounts is available at www.nightsafari.com.sg

SAVE THE GAME by Eman Jeman (‘ClogTwo’)

SAVE THE GAME by Eman Jeman (‘ClogTwo’)

SAVE THE GAME by Eman Jeman (‘ClogTwo’)

Like a game, the fate of the Indian rhino results in a win or loss. Long regarded as a symbol of strength, the rhino horn is ironically the bane of the animal. Rhinos are hunted for their horns to be used in traditional medicine. In actual fact, the rhino’s horn is made up of keratin, the exact same substance that our hair and nails are made of, and have no proven medical use.

So why not say NO to using animal parts? Save the game, save the rhinos.

PLIGHT NO MORE by Michael Ng (‘Mindflyer’)

PLIGHT NO MORE by Michael Ng (‘Mindflyer’)

PLIGHT NO MORE by Michael Ng (‘Mindflyer’)

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A whimsical artwork with a message of hope and courage. A group of tiny spacemen are busy at work, trying to free a helpless Asiatic black bear from a bear bile farm by cutting off the chains and attaching wings to help it fly away to safety.

Imagine being trapped and housed in a tiny, restrictive ‘crush cage’, tortured by pain and insanity to get your bile juice extracted daily from a thick needle inserted into your abdomen, all in the name of ‘traditional medicine’. This bile-drawing process is painful, stressful and cruel. Will you be able to bear with this?

Say NO to using animal parts and help keep their lives bearable.

TURN A BLIND EYE by Luthi Mustafah (‘The Killer Gerbil’)

TURN A BLIND EYE by Luthi Mustafah (‘The Killer Gerbil’)

TURN A BLIND EYE by Luthi Mustafah (‘The Killer Gerbil’)

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With the endless hunt for their ivory tusks and loss of natural habitats through deforestation, Asian elephants are rapidly depleting in numbers.

In this interactive artwork, wooden blinds form the canvas representing the once sprawling woods the elephants inhabit. Turning the blind first reveals a cry for help for the elephants before ending with a solemn and dark ending for the elephant from the loss of its tusks and natural habitat. This is a grave reminder for us not to turn a blind eye to the dire state of the elephants. The ivory trade must stop and it must begin with us.

Say NO to buying ivory products and give these gentle giants a chance to live.

BAI SWEE by Samantha Lo (‘SKL0’)

BAI SWEE by Samantha Lo (‘SKL0’)

BAI SWEE by Samantha Lo (‘SKL0’)

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‘Bai Swee’, in the Hokkien dialect, means ‘only for show or display purposes’. Which leaves us to think, what is real anymore?

The once majestic Malayan tigers are now merely puppets of the human race. As their strength and dominance in this world wane, we can only see their former selves portrayed and kept alive by their human keepers. Here lies a grim reminder that we have to work harder to preserve what nature offers or soon we will only have soulless and empty shells of the Malayan tigers.

Many of these majestic felines have been hunted for their parts to be used in traditional medicine. Tiger parts, like any other animal parts, can be replaced by alternative formulas in traditional medicine.

Say NO to using animal parts and help keep these beautiful creatures living in the years to come.