RIVER SAFARI COMPLETES MEGAFISH COLLECTION WITH MOVE OF GIANT FRESHWATER STINGRAY

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Move of gargantuan fish with venomous barb one of the most complicated and dangerous to date.

Singapore, 17 July 2013 – The giant freshwater stingray, believed to be the largest and heaviest freshwater fish in the world, moved into Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park today. Known for its venomous barb and mighty ability to pull boats down the Mekong River, this gargantuan species can weigh up to 600 kilogrammes and grow up to 5 metres in length.

The giant freshwater stingray, believed to be the largest and heaviest freshwater fish in the world, moved into River Safari today. Known for its venomous barb and mighty ability to pull boats down the Mekong River, this gargantuan species can weigh up to 600 kilogrammes and grow up to 5 metres in length.

The giant freshwater stingray, believed to be the largest and heaviest freshwater fish in the world, moved into River Safari today. Known for its venomous barb and mighty ability to pull boats down the Mekong River, this gargantuan species can weigh up to 600 kilogrammes and grow up to 5 metres in length.

The last to join two other rare megafishes at the park’s Mekong River zone, the move of the giant freshwater stingray is one of the most complicated and dangerous as it has a deadly barb on the base of its tail capable of piercing bones.

Close to 20 staff was deployed for the move, including aquarists and veterinarians. Due to the size of the stingray – currently at 2.4 metres long and weighing 62.5 kilogrammes – various arrangements were made in preparation for the move, including a specially-modified carrier truck to transport the stingray in controlled water conditions. As a safety precaution, the stingray’s venomous barb on its tail was trimmed. Stingrays can regrow their barbs throughout their lifetime.

Mr Wah Yap Hon, Curator, Zoology, River Safari, said, “We are thrilled that the last of our Mekong River giants are finally in. Over the past few months, we have been moving animals into their exhibits and have been looking forward to this day when we finally introduce the powerful giant freshwater stingray. This latest addition completes our collection of megafishes. We hope these aquatic ambassadors will help visitors gain a deeper appreciation of their species, and of freshwater habitats.”

Found in river systems in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the giant freshwater stingray is under threat due to overfishing and degradation of riverine habitats as a result of pollution and dam-building. In Thailand where the subpopulation has dropped dramatically, the giant stingray is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. This species is shrouded in mystery: their behaviour is elusive and no one knows of their exact numbers in the wild.

By bringing visitors up close to fascinating underwater animals such as the giant freshwater stingray, River Safari aims to highlight the importance of freshwater ecosystems and inspire positive actions for conserving them.

Visitors can catch the giant stingrays at the park’s Mekong River zone, home to two other megafishes: giant Siamese carp and the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish.

Aquarists prepare to move a giant freshwater stingray into its aquarium at River Safari’s Mekong River zone. As a safety precaution, the stingray’s venomous barb on its tail was trimmed before the move. The barb can grow to an incredible length of 38 cm – the largest of any stingray and capable of piercing bones. Stingrays can regrow their barbs throughout their lifetime.

Aquarists prepare to move a giant freshwater stingray into its aquarium at River Safari’s Mekong River zone. As a safety precaution, the stingray’s venomous barb on its tail was trimmed before the move. The barb can grow to an incredible length of 38 cm – the largest of any stingray and capable of piercing bones. Stingrays can regrow their barbs throughout their lifetime.

Aquarists carefully lower a canvas holding a giant freshwater stingray for its release into River Safari’s Mekong River zone. This 2.4m-long specimen weighs 62.5kg and measures 1.2m wide. It arrived at the park’s holding facility in October 2010.

Aquarists carefully lower a canvas holding a giant freshwater stingray for its release into River Safari’s Mekong River zone. This 2.4m-long specimen weighs 62.5kg and measures 1.2m wide. It arrived at the park’s holding facility in October 2010.

To ensure that its newest resident is fine, an aquarist checks on the breathing pattern of a giant freshwater stingray after it is released into its aquarium at River Safari’s Mekong River zone.

To ensure that its newest resident is fine, an aquarist checks on the breathing pattern of a giant freshwater stingray after it is released into its aquarium at River Safari’s Mekong River zone.

Children come up close with a giant freshwater stingray at River Safari’s Mekong River zone, which is also home to two other megafishes: giant Siamese carp and the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish.

Children come up close with a giant freshwater stingray at River Safari’s Mekong River zone, which is also home to two other megafishes: giant Siamese carp and the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish.

*IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature

RIVER SAFARI CELEBRATES SINGAPORE FOOD FESTIVAL WITH FEAST OF SINGAPORE DELICACIES

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Gastronomical and wildlife adventure at Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park.

Cantonese Roast Pork

Cantonese Roast Pork

Singapore, 10 July 2013 – In celebration of the Singapore Food Festival this July, visitors can look forward to exploring Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park and indulging in a mouthwatering seven-course feast at a special price of S$68+.

The experiential dining journey begins with lunch at River Safari Tea House, the park’s Chinese restaurant that features cuisine from the main dialect groups in Singapore. Set in a quaint teahouse setting, visitors can savour six tantalizing Asian delights including Teochew Bak Kut Teh, Hakka Yong Tau Foo and Cantonese Roasts.

After lunch, visitors can embark on a wild adventure in the park and meet over 5,000 animal specimens representing 300 species, including endangered giants such as the giant river otter, Mekong giant catfish and giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia.

A sweet finale of delectable desserts await at the Mama Panda Kitchen. The dessert platter includes cempedak crème brulee, fresh tropical fruits and the ever-popular panda paus for a pandastic ending in the park.

Claypot "Three Cups" Chicken

Claypot “Three Cups” Chicken

THE SINGAPORE FOOD FESTIVAL 2013
Singapore Delicacies @ River Safari

Date
13 July 2013 (Sat), 14 July 2013 (Sun), 20 July 2013 (Sat), 21 July 2013 (Sun)

Price
Adult: $68+
Child (3 to 12 years old): $48+
Above prices include admission to River Safari. For reservations, please call 6360 8560 or email event.sales@wrs.com.sg

Programme
11.30am to 12.00pm: Registration and collection of admission tickets at River Safari Tea House (Located near River Safari Entrance Plaza)
12.00pm to 1.30pm: Lunch at River Safari Tea House
1.30pm to 3.00pm: Free and easy tour at River Safari
3.00pm to 4.30pm: Dessert platter at Mama Panda Kitchen (Located near Giant Panda Forest)

Panda Pau

Panda Pau

Menu

The Singapore Food Festival 2013 Sampler
Cantonese Roast Combination: Honey Char Siew, Roasted Pork & Soya Sauce Chicken
Teochew Bak Kut Teh
Claypot “Three Cups” Chicken
Hokkien Five Spice Prawn & Pork Roll
Hakka Yong Tou Foo
Hainanese Claypot Vegetables
Chef’s Special Seafood Fried Rice
Jasmine Tea
Free Flow Soft Drinks or 1 Glass of Tiger Beer

Mama Panda Kitchen Dessert Platter

Panda Pau
Cempedak Crème Brulee
Fresh Tropical Fruits Platter
Coffee / Tea

ORIENTAL PIED HORNBILL WILD POPULATION GETS A BOOST WITH JURONG BIRD PARK’S RELEASE OF THREE BIRDS IN PULAU UBIN

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Release will add to the genetic pool of Oriental Pied Hornbills in the wild; bird unsighted in Singapore for over 140 years prior to 1994.

An Oriental Pied hornbill in Jurong Bird Park being measured from bill tip to rear bill intersection prior to a planned release for the purpose of increasing the genetic pool of the species’ wild population.

An Oriental Pied hornbill in Jurong Bird Park being measured from bill tip to rear bill intersection prior to a planned release for the purpose of increasing the genetic pool of the species’ wild population.

Singapore, 8 July 2013 – In an effort to diversify the genetic pool of wild hornbills in Singapore, Jurong Bird Park will release three Oriental Pied Hornbills from their collection to Pulau Ubin on 10 July.

“Increasing the genetic pool of Oriental Pied Hornbills or any other bird is important to the conservation of the species because it allows for a healthier population of these birds. With more genetic diversity, the species is less susceptible to diseases,” said Dr Minerva Bongco-Nuqui, Curator, Avian, Jurong Bird Park.

Jurong Bird Park is the first institution globally to successfully incubate and hatch Oriental Pied Hornbills. The park has one of the largest collections of hornbills globally, with 17 species represented.

Jurong Bird Park is the first institution globally to successfully incubate and hatch Oriental Pied Hornbills. The park has one of the largest collections of hornbills globally, with 17 species represented.

Earlier in March, the Bird Park became the first institution globally to successfully artificially incubate and hatch three Oriental pied hornbill eggs, which had been rescued from Pulau Ubin by officers from the National Parks Board (NParks). These three chicks have been absorbed into the Park’s collection. Retaining these three chicks enables the Park to increase the breeding genetic pool of the existing collection. Similarly, releasing three other birds to Pulau Ubin gives the wild population of Oriental Pied Hornbills greater diversity in the genetic pool.

The Oriental Pied Hornbills selected for release include a bonded pair which are captive bred and a male which was donated to the Park. In preparation for the release and to allow these birds to acclimatise, whole fruit found on the island have been introduced into their diet. These birds were also tested to be free from diseases before the release.

Ahead of the release, the Oriental Pied Hornbills have undergone a physical measurement and health check. Data like the microchip number, sex, age, body length and casque length were recorded and kept for conservation and research purposes. Conservationists can extrapolate from this data as a reference point and make inferences to the general overview of the population, to understand the group’s dynamics, leading to better management of the population.

On 10 July, the bonded pair and one male hornbill will set forth from Jurong Bird Park for Pulau Ubin to be released. They will join an estimated 60 Oriental Pied Hornbills on the offshore island. The release site was chosen as it is the same location from which three Oriental pied hornbill eggs were rescued in January this year.

“NParks has been working closely with Jurong Bird Park and the Singapore Avian Conservation Project team in hornbill conservation since 2004. Due to the concerted efforts of the parties involved, the population of Oriental Pied Hornbills in the wild has increased from a few individuals to about 100 hornbills all over Singapore. In addition to being a part of Singapore’s natural heritage, Oriental Pied Hornbills are also natural dispersers of seeds. As such, the birds reach various areas in Singapore, including remote forested areas in our nature reserves, re-populating the island with plants. This adds to the rich biodiversity of flora and fauna in our City in a Garden. Today, we are very excited with another step in our ex-situ conservation efforts and the release of three Oriental Pied Hornbills,” said Wong Tuan Wah, Director (Conservation), NParks.

The Oriental Pied Hornbill disappeared from Singapore in the mid-1800s, possibly due to hunting and loss of suitable habitats. In 1994, a pair was sighted on Pulau Ubin. Once virtually disappeared from Singapore, the bird is today re-establishing healthy colonies here, thanks to the collective efforts of the NParks, Jurong Bird Park, and Singapore Avian Conservation Project (SACP).

Jurong Bird Park has one of the largest collections of hornbills globally, with 17 species represented. The Park has 17 Oriental Pied Hornbills, some of which can be seen at the Hornbills & Toucans exhibit. During breeding season which takes place from November to March, cameras will be installed in the Oriental Pied Hornbill exhibit, and visitors can catch a glimpse of nesting activities through television screens placed at the exhibit.