BABY ELEPHANT JOY FOR NIGHT SAFARI’S 22ND ANNIVERSARY

Leave a comment

149kg baby arrives a fortnight before award-winning park’s birthday;
First elephant calf in 6 years was born in the exhibit

Image 1_NS baby ele in exhibit_WRS

Image 1: Night Safari welcomed the latest addition to the elephant herd on 12 May 2016, a fortnight ahead of the award-winning park’s 22nd anniversary. The female calf, which weighed 149kg at birth, is the offspring of 39-year-old Chawang and 30-year-old Sri Nandong. Night Safari visitors can witness the close bond between mother and baby at the Asian elephant exhibit from late June onwards. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 31 May 2016Night Safari received a gigantic early birthday surprise this year, in the form of a 149kg female baby Asian elephant on 12 May 2016. The big bundle of joy arrived 14 days ahead of the award-winning park’s 22nd anniversary, which falls on 26 May 2016.

Sri Nandong, Night Safari’s 30-year-old female Asian elephant, surprised her animal carers when she gave birth to the bouncy calf in the elephant exhibit during operation hours. Keepers had been aware that she was pregnant but did not expect the baby to arrive so soon. An elephant’s gestation period usually lasts between 22-24 months, making it the longest pregnancy in the animal kingdom.

The latest addition to the herd is the park’s first elephant birth in six years. The calf has gained 43kg since birth, and now weighs a hefty 192kg. The gentle yet inquisitive calf was sired by 39-year-old Chawang, the Asian bull elephant at Night Safari. With this birth, Night Safari is now home to four female and two male elephants.

Visitors can witness the close bond between mother and baby at the Asian elephant exhibit from late June onwards. For now, the as yet unnamed calf enjoys her time getting to know her elephant ‘aunties’ Jamilah and Tun, frolicking in her little play pool and going for short walks to get used to her surrounds.

Image 2_NS baby ele bathing_WRS

Image 2: Night Safari’s elephant herd welcomed a baby on 12 May 2016. Visitors can witness the close bond between mother and baby at the Asian elephant exhibit from late June onwards. For now, the as yet unnamed calf enjoys her time getting to know her elephant ‘aunties’ Jamilah and Tun, frolicking in her little play pool and going for short walks to get used to her surrounds. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

 

Image 3_NS baby ele in exhibit_WRS

Image 3: Night Safari’s 30 year old female elephant Sri Nandong, introduces her calf to napier grass. The calf, which was born on 12 May 2016, still relies mainly on her mother’s milk, but is starting to use her trunk to explore solid food. Visitors wanting to see the calf will need to be patient as she will only be out in the exhibit from late June onwards. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

CANOLA THE MANATEE IS RIVER SAFARI’S NEW ANIMAL ICON

Leave a comment

Lovingly raised by human caregivers as a calf, Canola makes a big splash with her special story; June is Manatee Madness month at River Safari with new behind-the-scenes tour with Canola

Left: Canola, the first manatee to be hand-raised by keepers in River Safari, is now the park’s animal icon who will act as the wildlife ambassador for her kind and threatened animal species in the wild.
Right: For the month of June, guests to River Safari can sign up for a special behind-the-scenes tour with Canola, where they can observe how aquarists feed baby manatees and conduct operant conditioning with Canola.
PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 25 May 2016 – Canola the manatee has a dramatic life story, to say the least. Abandoned as a calf, her keepers came to the newborn’s rescue to ensure her survival. Today, barely two years old, her fortunes have taken another upswing as Canola is named the animal icon of River Safari.

Born 6 August 2014, Canola was abandoned by her mother. Without her mother’s milk, the infant’s life was in serious danger. To give her a chance at survival, River Safari’s aquarists dived in to render round-the-clock care for the newborn. Canola had to be bottle-fed every two to three hours during the first three months of her life. To increase her fat intake and substitute her mother’s highly nutritious milk, Canola was given a special milk formula infused with canola oil, which inspired her name.

Canola was successfully reintroduced to the manatee herd under the doting care and great team effort of her human caregivers in 2014, and can now be seen swimming along with the herd in the world’s largest freshwater aquarium—River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest.

In her new role as River Safari’s animal icon, Canola will be the wildlife ambassador for her species and all threatened wildlife in the wild. River Safari is home to 14 West Indian manatees, six of which are male while the rest are female. Manatees are listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Their numbers have declined in the last century due to hunting pressures, entrapment in commercial nets and collisions with propellers and motorboats.

Through captive breeding of manatees, River Safari hopes to contribute to the species’ population. Over 10 manatees have been born in Singapore. The park has plans to repatriate two manatees to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean as part of a breeding programme to repopulate the region where wild manatees have become extinct for the past 100 years.
Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “Canola is the first manatee hand-raised by aquarists in River Safari. To ensure her health and wellbeing, her keepers have maintained a very close bond with her through ongoing medical training sessions. By making Canola an icon and ambassador animal, we hope her life story will inspire our guests to join in our conservation efforts to save threatened freshwater wildlife.”

As a hand-raised manatee, Canola is accustomed to close contact with humans. Guests at River Safari can get an up-close encounter with Canola over the June holidays if they sign up for a special behind-the-scenes tour. Aquarists will demonstrate how they hand-raise baby manatees, and work with Canola on operant conditioning exercises where the manatee is trained to roll over for medical procedures such as injections and ultrasound scans.

Mr Keith So, Deputy Head Aquarist, River Safari, said, “Canola has a special place in our hearts. Despite having a rough start to her life, she has developed a very gentle, kind and patient nature. It was a unanimous decision to select her as our animal icon.”
In line with Canola’s new role as River Safari’s animal icon, a series of illustrations which depict various facets of her personality has been developed. These capture her in different poses and should endear Canola to people of all ages.

 

canola

 

 

Left: Canola the manatee is River Safari’s new animal icon and a series of illustrations depicting various facets of her personality has been developed.
PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

 

On weekends from 4 to 26 June, members of the public can join Manatee Madness in River Safari, which offers a series of manatee-themed activities, a manatee mascot meet-and-greet and an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour with Canola.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES WITH CANOLA
Dates: 11, 19, 25 June 2016
Time: 9.30am to 11.00am
Maximum capacity: 20pax
Fee: $18 per pax
Note: This tour is open to sign ups only and subject to availability. Admission charges of $30 per adult, $20 per child (3 to 12 years old), and $15 per senior citizen (above 60 years old) apply

To sign up for the tour, visit https://estore.wrs.com.sg/education-public-programmes. Signups open on 31 May 2016.

MANATEE MADNESS JUNE HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES
Dates: 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 June 2016 (weekends only)
Time: 10.00am to 7.00pm (various timings)
Venue: River Safari (activities at various locations around the park)
Fee: Activities are free but admission charges of $30 per adult, $20 per child (3 to 12 years old), and $15 per senior citizen (above 60 years old) apply
For more information on Manatee Madness, visit http://www.riversafari.com.sg/events-promos/manatee-madness.html.

manatee madness

 

JURONG BIRD PARK 45th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS CONTINUE IN JUNE WITH ‘HOME TWEET HOME’

Leave a comment

Project aims to highlight importance of avian conservation in Southeast Asia; Festivities include painting miniature birdhouses, arts and crafts, and ‘Birthday baby trail’

Image 1 [LEFT] A dedicated docent painting nest boxes which will be sent to Begawan Foundation and Cikananga Conservation Breeding Centre in Indonesia
Image 2 [RIGHT] These beautifully hand-painted nest boxes will be used by the endangered Bali Mynah and Black-winged Starling species in Indonesia

Singapore, 22 May 2016 – In celebration of its 45th anniversary, Jurong Bird Park has launched the ‘Home Tweet Home’ project which aims to highlight the importance of conservation for Southeast Asia bird species such as the critically endangered Bali Mynah and Black-winged Starling, among many others.

As a kick off, over 30 docents in Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) parks spent Sunday morning lovingly hand painting 45 nest boxes that will be used in conservation captive breeding programmes of two critically endangered bird species – the Bali Mynah and Black-winged Starling  in their native Indonesia. In the month of June, guests to Jurong Bird Park can see some of the nest boxes and even try their hand at painting a miniature version for a small donation to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “Around 45 Southeast Asian bird species are listed as critically endangered today, and the threats they face include habitat loss and poaching for the illegal pet trade among others. As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of Jurong Bird Park, we remain committed to giving these threatened species a chance to survive into the future with our continued support of local and Southeast Asian bird conservation. We hope to raise awareness and engage our guests on the plight of these birds and for them to join us on our efforts to help these birds.”

The 45 birdhouses painted as part of the Home Tweet Home project will be sent to WRS’ regional conservation partners Begawan Foundation and Cikananga Conservation Breeding Centre.

WORLD’S RAREST TORTOISES RACE AGAINST EXTINCTION AT SINGAPORE ZOO’S NEW TORTOISE SHELL-TER

Leave a comment

New exhibit a naturalistic sanctuary for the tortoises to display natural behaviour and breed;
Zoo celebrates World Turtle Day with special Keeper Talks for guests

Image 1: Great care was taken in designing Singapore Zoo’s Tortoise Shell-ter, now home to some of the world’s most threatened tortoises such as the critically endangered Ploughshare Tortoise (pictured above).Only 200 mature specimens are left in the wild, and survive in a 12 square km patch in Madagascar. Their decline in recent years is a result of poaching for the illegal pet trade. The species is at extreme risk of extinction in the wild within 10-15 years. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Image 2: Singapore Zoo has been successful in the conservation breeding and maintenance of an assurance colony of Southern River Terrapins (pictured above). More than 50 terrapins have been bred since 2007. Assurance colonies refer to the safeguarding of an endangered species under human care, in case the wild population is wiped out. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 20 May 2016 – Boosting Singapore Zoo’s efforts to save the world’s most threatened vertebrates from extinction is its newest exhibit—Tortoise Shell-ter. Guests at the park can now look forward to learning more about some of the world’s rarest tortoises and ongoing efforts to increase their dwindling numbers.

Tortoise Shell-ter showcases three critically endangered tortoise species—the Ploughshare Tortoise, Radiated Tortoise and Burmese Star Tortoise—making it one of Singapore Zoo’s exhibits with greater conservation and educational values. Other threatened species at the new attraction include the Elongated Tortoise and the Yellow-footed Tortoise. The naturalistic exhibits feature rock walls, habitat specific planting, and climate-controlled micro-habitats, including special lighting, heating with temperature gradient and humidity control, to create the ideal home away from home for these delicate species to thrive.

Some of these tortoises share their homes with other compatible reptiles, such as the Rock Monitor, Black and White Tegu, Green Iguana and Veiled Chameleon. This provides inter-species interaction, which is a great form of enrichment for the inhabitants, as well as providing a more interesting viewing experience to the guests.
In addition to featuring threatened species, Tortoise Shell-ter is also a sanctuary for some former-victims of the illegal wildlife trade, which have been confiscated and sent to Singapore Zoo, such as the Indian Star Tortoise.

In the wild, these land-dwelling reptiles’ shells (called carapaces) shield them against predators but they are no match for the combination of habitat loss and human exploitation, including unsustainable consumption and poaching for the illegal pet trade.
Aside from showcasing these chelonians at the Tortoise Shell-ter, Singapore Zoo also contributes to safeguarding the future of other threatened species of turtles through conservation breeding and the maintenance of assurance colonies. The latter refers to the safekeeping of endangered species populations under human care in case something happens to the already diminished numbers in the wild. Singapore Zoo has a good track record of breeding threatened chelonian species, both terrestrial (tortoises) and aquatic (turtles and terrapins) and has recently had the first hatching for the critically endangered Painted Terrapin. Other threatened species bred at the Zoo include the endangered Elongated Tortoise and Burmese Mountain Tortoise and the critically endangered Southern River Terrapin.

The park’s breeding programmes offer the possibility of reintroducing the animals to the wild whenever their safety can be ensured in their natural habitat. In addition, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) actively supports on-site and off-site breeding and reintroduction programmes in a few Southeast Asian countries. It also collaborates with trade monitoring organisations to raise awareness on illegal wildlife trade of tortoises.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Life Sciences Officer, WRS, said: “Within the span of just one human generation, many turtle and tortoise species have been decimated to near extinction through our activities. We are working in the zoo as well as in their native habitats to prevent these ancient creatures from disappearing from earth altogether. Through the Tortoise Shell-ter we would like to highlight their plights to our guests and to engage them to join us in our effort to save the species.”

World Turtle Day, observed every 23 May, aims to celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises, and their disappearing habitats around the world. To commemorate World Turtle Day this year, Singapore Zoo has lined up three special Keeper Talks for guests to find out more about these rare tortoises and their plight in the wild. Visitors will get to see the wild residents participating in a host of enrichment activities, and get up close and personal with the Indian star tortoise, the most confiscated tortoise in Singapore.

WRS PARKS BECOME EVEN MORE ACCESSIBLE WITH IMPROVED MEMBERSHIP PROGRAMME AND NEW BUS ROUTE

Leave a comment

New four park-in-one membership package promises greater savings for individuals and families;
Launch of trial bus service running from heartlands improves accessibility to wildlife parks in Mandai

SINGAPORE, 18 May 2016 – Wildlife enthusiasts can now spend unlimited time appreciating Mother Nature at all four Wildlife Reserves Singapore parks year round, with the introduction of a four-park-in-one membership that allows easy access to the popular attractions.

From as little as $119 to join WRS as a member, guests can visit all four attractions—Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo—countless times throughout the year. Members also benefit from a slew of incentives, such as weekday tram rides, retail and F&B discounts, and savings on parking fees. As a bonus, members who are senior citizens enjoy unlimited tram rides to make it more convenient for them to explore the parks.

Single park memberships have also been significantly reduced. Memberships start from $39 for Friends of Bird Park or River Safari, and $79 for Friends of Night Safari or Singapore Zoo. Family memberships feature more flexibility, and can include two adults and up to five children between 3-12 years old.

membership price

Detailed information at http://members.wrs.com.sg/

Ms Sherri Lim, Chief Park Operations and Revenue Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “Singapore has some of the best wildlife parks in the region. We hope to encourage more guests to make repeat visits by providing annual memberships that offer good value for single- or multi-park visits. Aside from being an excellent way for friends and families to bond over the natural world, we hope such visits will serve to further inspire them to value and conserve biodiversity.”

Further to the new annual membership programme, members and the public alike will have more reason to visit the wildlife parks with the launch of a trial direct bus service from the heartlands to Mandai.

From 28 May to 25 September 2016, Heartland Express—a trial direct bus service to Mandai—will be offered every weekend and selected public holidays, from Tampines (via Bedok) and Sengkang to Mandai. The decision was made in response to requests from the public to offer direct services from locations less well served by public transport.

heartland bus table

Table 1: Travel time and cost from North-East and East Singapore to Mandai wildlife parks Source for public buses and taxi information: Vertix Survey on Transportation Behaviour

The new Heartland Express bus service offers a vast reduction in travel time, with each trip lasting between 20 to 50 minutes. Operating from Tampines (via Bedok) and Sengkang, Heartland Express provides three trips each weekend and selected public holidays at 9am, 10am and 11am to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore parks located in Mandai. There will also be three trips back to the heartlands at 3pm/3.10pm, 4pm/4.10pm and 5pm/5.10pm. Each trip is fixed at $3, with children under 7 years travelling for free.

The Heartland Express bus service operated by Bus-Plus Services will undergo a four-month trial period, ending on 25 September, before a review is conducted to determine long term feasibility of the service. To ensure guests are guaranteed seats, tickets need to be pre-booked online, from 26 May onwards. Further details are available at zoo.com.sg/heartlandexpress

“Transport is a key consideration for our guests as they plan their day out to Mandai. We hope to improve this touchpoint with Heartland Express to enhance guest experience, and provide a fast, convenient, and smooth commute for people coming to Mandai, especially River Safari and Singapore Zoo, from the heartlands,” continued Ms Lim.