NIGHT SAFARI’S NEHA CELEBRATES FIRST BIRTHDAY WITH MAMMOTH MILESTONE

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Neha recognises 10 instructions after six months in elephant kindergarten;
Play sessions condition Neha to work with care team in case deadly elephant herpes virus strikes

Image 1 (left): Night Safari’s baby elephant Neha readily lifts her leg in response to senior keeper Rahimi Rashid’s request. As a reward, she gets an enjoyable brush down on her foot. Being able to work with a cooperative calf from a young age allows her caregivers to respond swiftly should the elephant herpes virus strike. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Image 2 (right): What’s a birthday without presents? After a session of hard work, Neha eagerly explores her boxed treats with gusto! The cardboard cartons contain a hay and fruit salad of chopped bananas and mangoes, which Night Safari’s littlest elephant delightfully scoffed. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 11 May 2017Night Safari’s baby elephant Neha has had a tremendously busy year, and her keepers can proudly boast that the little pachyderm, who turns one year old tomorrow, has mastered the art of responding to about 10 instructions as part of her ongoing conditioning sessions which began in November last year.

There is a practical reason for starting elephant lessons early. Neha has reached the at-risk age of contracting the Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV), and her team of caregivers is taking every precaution to ensure they are ready to combat the disease should it strike.

EEHV can result in severe haemorrhagic disease in elephants, and is the leading cause of death for juvenile Asian elephants under human care. Calves of between 1-8 years of age are at the highest risk of contracting this often-fatal disease. Currently there is no vaccination available, and medication only serves to suppress the growth of the virus. Death frequently occurs within 1-2 days of the first visible signs, and early diagnosis and treatment are critical to survival.

Neha’s older brother Nila Utama succumbed to EEHV in 2013, when he was two years old. He had shown signs of contracting the disease just two days before he passed.

Conditioning Neha from an early age through protected contact makes it easier for her vets and keepers to monitor her closely, and ensure early diagnosis, which is crucial in the management of this disease. Protected contact means that Neha’s conditioning sessions take place with barriers in between her and her keepers. This allows for higher quality care and welfare while ensuring a greater degree of safety for the humans working with her.

Neha’s daily conditioning sessions are designed as play dates with her keepers, in which she can choose whether to participate. Aside from responding to instructions such as lifting her leg and opening her mouth, Neha already allows her temperature and weight to be taken daily. She is also learning to be comfortable with vets drawing blood from her ear, and to accepting oral and rectal administration of medication. These processes will allow for regular monitoring of her health, and ensure that the team can act swiftly should Neha display any signs of the disease.

Night Safari is committed to providing the required resources to manage this disease risk, and has set aside funding for routine testing and treatment procedures on Neha.

Neha tugged at heartstrings when she bounded into the cyber limelight at a mere 19 days old last May. Currently weighing in at 527kg, she has more than tripled her birth weight of 149kg, and continues to be doted on by her elephantine mum and aunties, and a bevy of human caregivers.

Neha is the offspring of Chawang and Sri Nandong, and is adopted by JTB Pte Ltd. She is the youngest of six Asian elephants—two males and four females—which call Night Safari home.

Asian elephants are listed as endangered on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species, more so than their African counterparts. Threats include habitat loss and human-elephant conflicts. The native homes of the Asian elephants are often being logged and cleared for urban and agricultural development.

There are only an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild today. To support the conservation of this majestic species, WRS plays an active role on the steering committee of the Asian Captive Elephant Working Group, and was instrumental in setting up the Asian Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus Working Group. In addition, WRS has funded field projects for Management and Ecology of Malaysian Elephants (MEME) in Malaysia and ElefantAsia in Laos, and currently supports the work of the Elephant Response Unit in Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra.

*IUCN: International Union for the Conservation of Nature

 

HUMAN RACE RAISES $100,000 FOR WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

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WRS to increase conservation contribution for Sumatran orangutan conservation projects;
Sumatran elephant, hornbill and turtle projects in Southeast Asia also receive funding support

Singapore, 18 February 2017 — Over 7,500 participants thronged the leafy pathways of Night Safari and Singapore Zoo in the ninth instalment of Safari Zoo Run today, in support of wildlife conservation, and in the hopes of garnering more funding support for their animal icon teams.

Runners representing Team Ah Meng came out tops, garnering additional funding support of $40,000 for Sumatran orangutan projects. Wildlife Reserves Singapore will also commit an additional $20,000 each to regional projects supporting helmeted hornbills, Southeast Asian freshwater turtles and Sumatran elephants—all critically endangered wildlife, which were represented by Team Sunny, Team Canola and Team Ah Meng.

In 2016, Ah Meng was unveiled as Singapore Zoo’s animal icon. In subsequent months, the other park icons—Jurong Bird Park’s Sunny the hornbill, Night Safari’s Chawang the elephant and River Safari’s Canola the manatee—were revealed.

Together, these four animal icons helped spread the conservation message at today’s Safari Zoo Run. This year, participants played a more active role and helped in deciding the division of funds for conservation when they chose a team to join. Each team, represented by the four park icons, champions a species of critically endangered animal. Running on a new points system, participants were given opportunities to collect points for their team. The team with the highest points would then lead to a larger allocation of funds for the conservation of the championed endangered species.

Team Ah Meng was one of the more popular choices, with close to 30 per cent of runners choosing to support Singapore Zoo’s animal icon. The team also scored points on the most number of Instagram posts uploaded during the race.

Mr Mike Barclay, Group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings, the holding company of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, joined the action and ran alongside runners in the 10km competitive category. Families could enjoy the more manageable 5.5km or 2.5km runs. A competitive 2.5km Kids Dash was also available for children. In addition, runners enjoyed appearances by animal mascots, educational show and tell sessions, and animal photography sessions after their races.

Singapore Bank Scandal

Image 1: Ms Isabel Cheng, Chief Marketing Officer (left, on stage), and Ms Sherri Lim, Chief Park Operations and Revenue Officer (third from left, on stage), both of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, flag off Safari Zoo Run’s first run of the day – the 10km competitive race. They are accompanied by the Ah Meng animal icon mascot. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore Bank Scandal

Image 2: Runners took the time to take selfies and wefies at the various animal exhibits, to give their teams an edge. Teams which had the most sign-ups, Instagram posts and winning runners received more points, ensuring a higher allocation of funding support for their selected conservation projects. Team Ah Meng emerged as the winner! PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore Bank Scandal

Image 3: Some Safari Zoo Run participants really got into the wild spirit! In the end, the animals are the champions, with Wildlife Reserves Singapore committing an additional $100,000 in funding support to regional conservation projects which will benefit helmeted hornbills, Sumatran elephants, Southeast Asian freshwater turtles and Sumatran orangutans. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

 

NIGHT SAFARI ANNOUNCES NAME FOR BABY ELEPHANT: NEHA, MEANING ‘LOVE’ IN HINDI

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Chawang and Sri Nandong’s offspring who took the internet by storm is now five-months-old, and has recently discovered the joy of mud baths

Image 1 (left): Night Safari’s littlest elephant has a name – and it is love-ly. Neha, which means love in Hindi, was chosen, and reflects the amount of affection showered over this calf from both her elephant and human family. Neha has recently discovered mud, and spends most afternoons scaling the mud mountain in her exhibit at Night Safari. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Image 2 (right): Little Neha often engages Tun, her favourite ‘aunty’ and playmate, to indulge in a mud spa with her, until both are caked in a glorious orange sheen. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 06 October 2016Night Safari’s largest baby of the year officially has a name and it is a rather love-ly one. Neha, which means love in Hindi, is the chosen moniker for the park’s five-month old baby Asian elephant who tugged hearts all over the Internet when she debuted in her colourful play pool earlier this year.

In addition to her daily routine of morning walks, naps and playtime with her favourite elephant aunty, Tun, Neha has recently discovered a rather messy way to fill her afternoons – gleefully scaling the mud mountain in her exhibit with unadulterated joy! Her infectious joy almost always prompts the other adult females to join in, leaving them all dolled up in an orange sheen in time to welcome guests to Night Safari when dusk falls.

While mom’s milk continues to make up her staple diet, Neha has started trying to munch on bananas as she experiments on solid food. She has been steadily gaining weight at a rate of 1-2kg daily (normal for an elephant) and is now 352kg, more than double her weight at birth. Her human carers say she is an exceedingly playful and carefree elephant.

Neha is the offspring of Chawang and Sri Nandong, and is adopted by JTB Pte Ltd. She is the youngest of six Asian elephants—two males and four females—which call Night Safari home.

Asian elephants are listed as endangered on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species, more so than their African counterparts. Threats include habitat loss and human-elephant conflicts. The native homes of the Asian elephants are often being logged and cleared for urban and agricultural development.

There are only an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild today. To support the conservation of this majestic species, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) plays an active role on the steering committee of the Asian Captive Elephant Working Group, and was instrumental in setting up the Asian Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus Taskforce. In addition, WRS has funded field projects for Management and Ecology of Malaysian Elephants (MEME) in Malaysia and ElefantAsia in Laos, and currently supports the work of the Elephant Response Unit in Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra.

*IUCN: International Union for the Conservation of Nature

NIGHT SAFARI’S BABY ELEPHANT MAKES PUBLIC DEBUT

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Two-month-old princess of Chawang and Sri Nandong already established her reign as an internet sensation with royally cute antics; Guests can see Night Safari’s first elephant calf in six years from today

Images 1 and 2: Night Safari’s littlest elephant officially, and excitedly, trotted into the Asian elephant exhibit today. Guests will now be able to catch the offspring of 39-year-old Chawang and 30-year-old Sri Nandong when they embark on Night Safari’s tram experience.
PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 28 June 2016 – From learning to walk, taking a bath, or feeding—Night Safari’s largest baby of the year has won over the Internet with her cute antics and now, barely two months old and having gained 40 per cent in body weight, the elephant calf is ready to join the adults in Night Safari’s elephant exhibit and greet her fans.

The adorable baby is born to Chawang, Night Safari’s famed four-ton male Asian elephant and Sri Nandong. Chawang, the park’s biggest animal, has always been regarded as King of Night Safari. His princess joins five other elephants in the world’s first nocturnal wildlife park. Aside from her parents, the calf’s brother, 15-year old Sang Wira also resides at the park.

Inquisitive and intelligent, the calf surprised keepers on 12 May this year, when she bounded into the world earlier than expected—Mom had only been pregnant for 19 months, when usual gestation is closer to 22 months.

True to her eager attitude to life, the little one has grown by leaps and bounds. For a start, her weight has increased to 210kg, up from an initial 149kg at birth. Ever the curious one, she is an avid fan of all things wet, and will never pass up a chance to slosh about in her play pool, following that with a roll in the sand whenever possible.

She is starting to relish in her independence and is especially close to dedicated caretaker ‘Auntie Tun’, whom she regards as a larger than life playmate. Elephants live in herds which are made up primarily of related females, who will act as surrogate mothers to juveniles in the group. Although unrelated, Tun continues to play this role with much gusto, and is always on hand to watch over the little one.

Yet to be named, the two-month old calf has already received quite the following on social media, having starred in two videos showing her indulging in all things elephant—splashing around in her signature rainbow tub, going for walks, and experimenting on adult food. Her caregivers are waiting a little longer to allow her personality to fully develop before choosing a suitable name reflecting her character in the coming months.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Life Sciences Officer said, “The birth of this female calf is particularly significant as elephants are very slow breeders, and she will contribute towards achieving a sustainable population under human care. She will also play a leading role as an ambassador to help raise awareness on the plight of her threatened relatives in the wild.”

Asian elephants are listed as endangered on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species, more so than their African counterparts. Threats include habitat loss and human-elephant conflicts. The native homes of the Asian elephants are often being logged and cleared for urban and agricultural development.

There are only an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild today. To support the conservation of this majestic species, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) plays an active role on the steering committee of the ASEAN Captive Elephant Working Group, and was instrumental in setting up the Asian Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus Taskforce. In addition, WRS funds field projects for Management and Ecology of Malaysian Elephants (MEME) in Malaysia and Elefant Asia in Laos.

*IUCN: International Union for the Conservation of Nature

BABY ELEPHANT JOY FOR NIGHT SAFARI’S 22ND ANNIVERSARY

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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

ABANDONED CRITICALLY ENDANGERED BABY PANGOLIN SUCCESSFULLY HAND-RAISED AT NIGHT SAFARI

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Pangolin baby had 50 per cent chance of survival under human care;
Guests can find out more about the elusive creature at park’s upcoming keeper interaction programme

IMAGE 1 (left): Found weak, hungry, and wandering alone at Upper Thomson Road on 22 February this year, the abandoned critically endangered Sunda pangolin was taken to Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s rescued wildlife centre where vets made a desperate attempt to hand-raise him. To encourage his natural behaviour, the baby pangolin is taken for walks every morning and evening. Foraging exercises the critically endangered animal’s keen sense of smell and strong claws.

IMAGE 2 (right): The abandoned baby pangolin was bottle-fed kitten milk replacer (KMR), a substitute for his mother’s milk, before being introduced to ants’ eggs, which he now relishes. Eventually, the pangolin will progress to the captive diet, a protein-rich formula which includes minced beef, ants’ eggs, mealworms and insectivore supplements.

PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 7 April 2016 — Hungrily lapping up ants’ eggs, vigorously burrowing around his play tub and stubbornly clinging on to his caretaker’s arm despite being coaxed off—all heartening signs that the abandoned critically endangered baby Sunda pangolin was flourishing under the doting care of his human foster parents. This was a cause for celebration, for the robust creature today is a far cry from the wisp he had been weeks before.

Found weak, hungry, and wandering alone at Upper Thomson Road on 22 February, the four-month old pangolin was taken to Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s (WRS) rescued wildlife centre where vets made a desperate attempt to hand-raise him—a mammoth task as the delicate species generally does not thrive under human care.

The first and biggest challenge was his diet. While healthy, the baby rejected kitten milk replacer (KMR) as he was used to his mother’s milk. In addition, the scaly anteater was at a crucial point in his life of weaning off milk onto solid food, a diet of ants and termites. This change in diet caused intestinal issues and vets had to provide 24 hour care to the precious, critically endangered baby.

After a precarious one and a half week period, the pangolin proved resilient. He started drinking KMR four times a day and now relishes ants’ eggs. His milk intake has been reduced to twice daily and he is being eased into a specialised diet which the adult pangolins at Night Safari take.

Apart from diet, to encourage his natural behaviour, the baby pangolin is taken for walks every morning and evening on forested grounds. Foraging exercises the critically endangered animal’s keen sense of smell and strong claws.

Having grown from 776g to 1.1kg, the young pangolin’s makeshift quarters was upgraded to accommodate his growth. He now resides in the veterinary ward with a roomy tub for play and rest, complete with a large branch to climb on. When fully grown, a male Sunda pangolin can weigh up to 7.5kg.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore said, “Successfully raising a Sunda pangolin from such a young age is a real achievement. This critically endangered species has notoriously low survival rates under human care, and this experience has given us invaluable knowledge on how to care for the species.”

Once the baby pangolin is independent and graduates to the captive diet, he will join the seven Sunda pangolins at Night Safari’s Fishing Cat Trail, two of which were born under human care. Night Safari opened the world’s first Sunda pangolin exhibit in 2009.

The Sunda pangolin is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. Globally, all eight species of pangolins are threatened with extinction as a result of unsustainable illegal trade to supply human consumption and traditional medicine in East Asia. In Singapore, the Sunda pangolin is threatened with habitat loss and motor vehicle accidents. WRS is funding ecological and genetic studies of this species whose natural history is not well understood.

As part of WRS’ efforts to highlight the plight of this dwindling species, Night Safari will begin its new keeper interaction cum feeding programme in mid-May. During the session, a keeper will educate visitors on the pangolin’s history and situation in the wild while pangolin feeding takes place in the exhibit. Due to their secretive nature, few know about the world’s only scaly mammal, so the session will provide rare insights of this creature’s natural behaviour, such as climbing trees and foraging for food.

*IUCN stands for International Union for Conservation of NatureImage 3_Baby pangolin climbs tree_WRS

 IMAGE 3 (left): Learning to climb trees exercises the tree-dwelling Sunda pangolin’s strong claws and semi-prehensile tail (tails which are capable of grasping), which it uses to grip bark and scale trees. Having grown bigger and stronger, he has taken to wrapping his tail around his caregiver’s arm, unwilling to let go.

PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

 

 

 

 

Image 4_Snoozing baby pangolin_WRS

 

 

 

IMAGE 4 (left): The baby pangolin curls up as he snoozes soundly. He only learnt to curl fully on 3 March 2016, as pictured. Curling up into a tight ball is the pangolin’s best defense against predators but ironically its worst defense against human beings, as it allows poachers to easily pick it up and toss it into a bag.
PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Image 5_Baby pangolin eats ants eggs_WRS

IMAGE 5 (left): The pangolin’s caregivers add his favourite ants’ eggs to the captive diet to encourage him to take it, but the sneaky baby would pick out just the ants’ eggs and leave the rest untouched.
PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

 

SCALING UP CONSERVATION EFFORTS FOR SUNDA PANGOLINS ON WORLD PANGOLIN DAY

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Night Safari Singapore is home to the world’s first conservation breeding programme
for Sunda pangolins; Experts gather to discuss species conservation efforts

Image 1 (left): Sunda pangolin babies hitch a ride on mom’s tail when they are young. Not much is known about these elusive creatures but Night Safari intends to change that by supporting several projects to learn more about the behaviour and ecology of the world’s only scaly mammal.

Image 2 (right): When threatened, pangolins curl into a ball, making them easy targets for poachers. In the past 10 years alone, it is believed that more than one million pangolins have been illegally traded.
PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 18 February 2016Night Safari is scaling up on efforts to save the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal from extinction, through a number of pangolin conservation and research programmes.

The global trade of pangolins has reached epic proportions and it is believed that more than one million have been traded illegally in the past decade alone. International trade is largely driven by demand in China and Vietnam where pangolins are considered a delicacy and poached extensively for their scales, meat and skin for use in traditional medicine.

World Pangolin Day, which is celebrated on 20 February 2016, aims to raise awareness on the plight of these scaly mammals which are poached more than elephants and rhinos combined. Organised in conjunction with World Pangolin Day, a group of dedicated pangolin conservationists met with the Wildlife Reserve Singapore (WRS) Conservation & Research team in Singapore this week (Tuesday, 16 February 2016) to review the ongoing research efforts for Singapore’s remaining pangolins.

Through its conservation fund, WRS is supporting a number of projects which include tracking pangolins in the wild with radio and GPS tags and training conservation sniffer dogs to help with local and regional field efforts for wild pangolins.

In addition, Night Safari is home to the world’s first conservation breeding programme for the Sunda pangolin which is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. It currently houses seven Sunda pangolins in its protection, two of which were born under human care.

Dr Sonja Luz, Director of Conservation & Research, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “The plight facing pangolins is devastating and if we want to win the battle against the illegal wildlife trade, we must educate people and inspire compassion and respect for nature and animals. At WRS, we have made this our mission, and we have the unique opportunity to study and learn more about this elusive animal right at our doorstep.”

She added, “Our local research and conservation efforts contribute to a better understanding of the biology and urban ecology of pangolins. Through our captive breeding efforts, we are able to raise more awareness about the amazing creatures.”
A Singapore pangolin working group consisting local stakeholders has also been formed to gather feedback on outreach and research activities to maximise conservation efforts.

Image 3_Pangolin Book _WRS (smaller)To further reach out to children, WRS has published a book titled ‘Why did the pangolin cross the road?’ (left). This illustrated anecdote is inspired by one of the seven pangolins in Night Safari’s collection, and features English and Mandarin texts.

On World Pangolin Day, Night Safari has lined up two special sessions of Keeper Talks where visitors will have the opportunity to get up close with the park’s Sunda pangolin. The pangolins can be found on the Fishing Cat Trail at Night Safari.

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