RIVER SAFARI CELEBRATES OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING

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– Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park houses 6000 animal specimens from over 200 species. Latest WRS attraction set to enhance wildlife experience in Mandai.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officiated at the Grand Opening of River Safari, Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park on 28 February 2014, and is seen here with Wildlife Reserves Singapore Chairman Ms Claire Chiang, both symbolically rowing the boat forward for River Safari. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officiated at the Grand Opening of River Safari, Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park on 28 February 2014, and is seen here with Wildlife Reserves Singapore Chairman Ms Claire Chiang, both symbolically rowing the boat forward for River Safari. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Singapore, 28 February 2014 – Mandai, an area synonymous with Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, has become even more wild today with the much-anticipated official opening of River Safari, Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park.

River Safari is the latest addition to Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s portfolio of award-winning parks, which includes Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, and Singapore Zoo. With a unique focus on freshwater habitats, the park adds a new dimension to the wildlife experience in Singapore.

Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, officiated the grand opening before 300 guests.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong together with Mr S Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry having an up-close encounter with a Brazilian tapir along the Amazon River Quest on 28 February 2014, at the Grand Opening of River Safari. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong together with Mr S Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry having an up-close encounter with a Brazilian tapir along the Amazon River Quest on 28 February 2014, at the Grand Opening of River Safari. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “We are very proud today to officially introduce River Safari to the world. From conceptualisation and design to construction and completion, River Safari represents our dedication to conserve wildlife, our commitment to educate the public about threats to freshwater habitats, and our passion to create an enriching and fun recreational venue for visitors all over the world.”

The journey to creating Asia’s first and only river-themed park started with an idea to create a freshwater aquarium to complement the offerings of Singapore Zoo. This spark evolved and gave rise to River Safari.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong admires the gracefulness of the endangered giant river otters at Amazon Flooded Forest as they swim by, during River Safari’s Grand Opening on 28 February 2014. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong admires the gracefulness of the endangered giant river otters at Amazon Flooded Forest as they swim by, during River Safari’s Grand Opening on 28 February 2014. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Today, the 12-ha River Safari offers visitors a wildlife adventure inspired by the world’s most iconic rivers, including the Amazon, Ganges, Mekong, Nile and Yangtze rivers. Built at a cost of $160 million, River Safari houses one of the world’s largest collections of freshwater fauna. To date, the park features 6,000 animal specimens representing 200 species, of which 40 are threatened. These include river giants and mega fishes such as the giant river otter, giant freshwater stingray, Mekong giant catfish and Singapore’s very own pair of resident giant pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia.

WRS parks are world-renowned for their open concept exhibit design, and with River Safari, the team pushed the boundaries further and created a park that would provide visitors with an unforgettable adventure through the world’s most iconic rivers.

Manatees and River Safari’s team of aquarists at the world’s largest freshwater aquarium in Amazon Flooded Forest, thanking Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for gracing River Safari’s Grand Opening on 28 February 2014. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Manatees and River Safari’s team of aquarists at the world’s largest freshwater aquarium in Amazon Flooded Forest, thanking Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for gracing River Safari’s Grand Opening on 28 February 2014. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

“The park has been well-received since we opened the Giant Panda Forest in Nov 2012, and our soft opening in Apr 2013. We have already welcomed more than 1.1 million visitors from all over the world and this shows that visitors are curious about the world of river habitats. We feel positive that River Safari has a huge role to play in satisfying this hunger for knowledge about freshwater inhabitants,” said Ms Chiang.

When visiting River Safari, visitors can look forward to interactive and digital educational interpretives, discovery stations where visitors can learn more about animals and freshwater conservation issues and behind-the-scene tours which provide a clearer glimpse into the world these animals live in.

River Safari opens daily from 9:00am to 6:00pm and tickets are priced at S$25 (adult), S$16 (child between 3-12 years) and $12.00 (local senior citizens 60 years and above). From 5 March 2014, tickets to the Amazon River Quest boat ride will be priced at S$5 (adult) and S$3 (child).

For more information, please log on to www.riversafari.com.sg

HUMAN RACE INTRIGUES ANIMALS AT SAFARI ZOO RUN 2014

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– Over 8000 runners show up in race to pay homage to the late Ah Meng, Singapore Zoo’s orang utan as elephants, lions, and rhinoceros watch on.

Singapore, 16 February 2014 – Unlike the usual lazy Sunday morning spent lounging in the treetops, the orang utans in Singapore Zoo watched curiously as runners raced in the Safari Zoo Run 2014, which was conceived six years ago to commemorate their most famous matriarch, Ah Meng.

Over 8000 runners arrived at Singapore Zoo for the run to pay homage to the late Ah Meng, one of Singapore’s most loved and iconic animal personalities, which died of old age in February 2008. The race spans across Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, taking runners through lush green paths and enthralling animal exhibits.

The Safari Zoo Run also aids in wildlife conservation; a portion of the proceeds from this year’s race will go towards the care of endangered animals in Night Safari and Singapore Zoo.

(Centre, on stage) Guest-of-Honour Mr Ching Wei Hong, Chairman, National Family Council, flags off the annual Safari Zoo Run. He said, “I’m delighted to see the many families and happy faces today participating in the Safari Zoo Run. These families have created special family moments today, which will stay with them for life. This is in essence what we hope to promote through ‘Families for Life’ – to encourage families to spend more time together and strengthen family bonds. The Safari Zoo Run is an excellent event for families, and the Families for Life Council hopes to work with more like-minded partners to create opportunities for family bonding.” PHOTO CREDITS: PINK APPLE

(Centre, on stage) Guest-of-Honour Mr Ching Wei Hong, Chairman, National Family Council, flags off the annual Safari Zoo Run. He said, “I’m delighted to see the many families and happy faces today participating in the Safari Zoo Run. These families have created special family moments today, which will stay with them for life. This is in essence what we hope to promote through ‘Families for Life’ – to encourage families to spend more time together and strengthen family bonds. The Safari Zoo Run is an excellent event for families, and the Families for Life Council hopes to work with more like-minded partners to create opportunities for family bonding.” PHOTO CREDITS: PINK APPLE

A spirited crowd over 8000-strong, which included these enthusiastic children, participated in the Safari Zoo Run 2014, and ran amidst the lush greenery of Singapore Zoo and Night Safari as lions, rhinoceros and elephants, among other wild creatures, watched on. PHOTO CREDITS: PINK APPLE

A spirited crowd over 8000-strong, which included these enthusiastic children, participated in the Safari Zoo Run 2014, and ran amidst the lush greenery of Singapore Zoo and Night Safari as lions, rhinoceros and elephants, among other wild creatures, watched on. PHOTO CREDITS: PINK APPLE

LOVE IS IN THE AIR AS GROUND DOVES BOOST BREEDING PROGRAMME IN JURONG BIRD PARK

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– Ground doves, known for their faithfulness to their partners until death, hatched as a result of careful diet and husbandry planning; Luzon and Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons among rare species.

A Luzon bleeding heart pigeon in Jurong Bird Park’s South East Asian Aviary. After a successful breeding programme, 10 progenies will be sent back to the Philippines this year to increase the wild population on Polillo Islands.

A Luzon bleeding heart pigeon in Jurong Bird Park’s South East Asian Aviary. After a successful breeding programme, 10 progenies will be sent back to the Philippines this year to increase the wild population on Polillo Islands.

Singapore, 13 February 2014 – With Valentine’s Day happening tomorrow, Jurong Bird Park is a-flutter with successful hatchings of ground dove pigeons, known for their faithfulness to their partners until death. Amongst them are Luzon and Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons, both of which can only be found in the Philippines.

A Mindanao bleeding heart pigeon in Jurong Bird Park, seen here at Heliconia Walk.

A Mindanao bleeding heart pigeon in Jurong Bird Park, seen here at Heliconia Walk.

After a successful two-year breeding programme, Jurong Bird Park now has ten Luzon bleeding heart pigeon progenies ready to be sent back to the Philippines this year to be released to the wild on Polillo Islands. Luzon bleeding heart pigeons are a threatened species of bird, with declining numbers in the wild due to deforestation and the illegal pet trade.

The project is Jurong Bird Park’s first off-site conservation project involving an endemic species from the Philippines in the ASEAN region. Recognising Jurong Bird Park’s expertise in conservation and breeding, two pairs of Luzon bleeding heart pigeons arrived in the park two years ago as part of an agreement signed with Avilon Zoo (Philippines) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the Philippines. These birds started breeding from October 2012 and continued through January 2014 to produce 10 progenies.

All bleeding heart pigeons and golden heart doves are part of a group of Australasian pigeons known as ground doves, known to be very faithful to their partners until death. If one dies, the other will look for another to pair up with. Upon becoming parents, both males and females will take turns to incubate the eggs. For the first few days of a chick’s life, the chick is fed crop milk produced by both genders. Once the chick is older, both parents will forage for food for the young. Ground doves are very caring, often preening each other and their chicks. They will also sun bathe together, strengthening the bond communally.

“To have 10 Luzon bleeding heart pigeon progenies available for release over a short span of two years is a remarkable achievement. This project was initiated with the aim of contributing to the recovery of this species in its natural habitat, and we look forward to developing more conservation projects for other endemic Philippine species. The success and the knowledge gained paves the way for Jurong Bird Park to engage in other similar regional conservation projects.” said Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Science Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

A pair of Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons arrived in the Bird Park from San Diego Zoo in September 2013, as part of an exchange programme. Although this pair was not known to be prolific breeders, they adjusted well to their new home and that a few weeks after their arrival, they laid one fertile egg, which hatched after an 18-day incubation period. Another fertile egg was laid just before Christmas last year, which also yielded a chick.

A first-ever breeding of Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons in Jurong Bird Park, seen here at Heliconia Walk with a three month old chick.

A first-ever breeding of Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons in Jurong Bird Park, seen here at Heliconia Walk with a three month old chick.

A two-pronged scientific approach involving husbandry and diet was taken towards the successful breeding of the Luzon and Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons. The Luzon bleeding heart pigeons were placed in an off-site aviary with minimal human contact, while a specialised diet with increased protein levels was provided for added nutrients during breeding season. Although the Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons were placed in a visible public enclosure, the aviary was properly landscaped, which provided the birds with a heightened sense of security necessary for breeding. Similarly, they were also given a protein-rich diet during breeding season.

In addition to the successful hatchings, Jurong Bird Park will welcome two pairs of golden heart doves from Germany for breeding and conservation purposes. Endemic to Papua New Guinea, these birds are uncommon in institutions as it is a challenge obtaining birds from New Guinea due to governmental restrictions.

Come to Jurong Bird Park this February to see the Luzon bleeding heart pigeons at the South East Asian Exhibit, and the Mindanao bleeding heart pigeons at Heliconia Walk. Two pairs of golden heart doves will be on display from April at Window on Paradise. For more information, please visit www.birdpark.com.sg