JAZZY CELEBRATION AS MANATEE CANOLA TURNS THREE

River Safari teams up with local jazz saxophonist Daniel Chia for a musical morning; Animal icon Canola is now 10 times heavier and one of the most affectionate manatees in Amazon Flooded Forest.

canola.PNG
Image 1: Born on 6 August 2014 to the largest manatee in the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit, River Safari’s animal icon Canola celebrated her third birthday in style, with ‘live’ music and a two-metre tall cabbage cake, topped off with a ‘C’ for Canola. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 26 July 2017 – The soulful sounds of jazz filled the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit at River Safari early this morning, as invited guests were whisked away into a surreal experience, serenaded by rising local jazz saxophonist, Daniel Chia.

Amidst the soulful tunes of Cali Style and Life’s A Beach, over 60 invited guests caught a glimpse of the beautiful bond between River Safari’s herd of manatees and their human carers, as the manatees and aquarists dived in for a morning swim together.

Born in Singapore, River Safari’s animal icon Canola enjoyed her birthday celebration kampung style, involving her extended family, made up of her human carers, manatee tank mates and invited friends. As a birthday treat, aquarists presented a two-metre tall cabbage cake to Canola, which was met with much curiosity and delight by the entire manatee herd.

Canola was born in River Safari on 6 August 2014 around noon, and is the offspring of Eva, the largest manatee within the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit. For unknown abandoned at birth and aquarists had to dive in to provide round-the-clock care for her, who required bottle-feeding every two to three hours during the first three months.

Despite a rough start to life, Canola has blossomed into a playful and affectionate manatee, often approaching aquarists to say hello when they go about their daily duties, or to ask for belly rubs. She has also developed a patient disposition, usually waiting for her turn to be fed high fibre biscuits – her favourite treat.

Canola weighed over 30kg at birth and today, she is 10 times heavier weighing in at around 300kg. Her best tank mates are Joella and Abel, and the trio can be often spotted having a friendly jostle for the aquarists’ affection.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore said, “We are happy that River Safari’s animal icon Canola has overcome her early challenges in life, and is growing up healthy and happy with the manatee herd. As we celebrate her third birthday, our hope is that Canola will continue to thrive and inspire the community at large to act responsibly to keep rivers liveable for people and wildlife.”

Manatees are listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. There are currently five males and eight females in River Safari’s manatee herd.
*International Union for Conservation of Nature

canola2canola3canola4

RIVER SAFARI GEARS UP FOR POSSIBLE PANDA PREGNANCY

While it is too early to tell, Jia Jia’s keepers leave nothing to chance; Daily cub retrieval and urine collection conditioning conducted in preparation for a possible pregnancy

Singapore, 23 June 2017 – Jia Jia’s keepers have been hard at work since this year’s mating season ended for River Safari’s pair of giant pandas.

Kai Kai and Jia Jia were put together for natural mating on 30 March, following which artificial insemination was carried out to maximise the chances of breeding under human care. Professor Ng Soon Chye, an obstetrics and gynaecology specialist internationally renowned for his expertise in reproductive medicine, assisted River Safari’s veterinary team during the insemination process.

panda1.PNG

Since then, the team of keepers at River Safari’s Giant Panda Forest have been conducting daily cub retrieval and urine collection conditioning sessions for Jia Jia in preparation for the possible arrival of a baby panda. Urine collection conditioning allows keepers to collect fresh and uncontaminated urine samples from Jia Jia to monitor her hormonal levels. A gradual increase in progesterone levels indicates a possible pregnancy or pseudo pregnancy. Getting Jia Jia used to handing her cub to the keepers allow her carers to conduct health checks, and to provide supplementary or foster care for the cub if required.

Keepers also started Jia Jia on a daily dosage of folic acid, a pre-natal and pregnancy supplement. River Safari’s team of vets and keepers are holding their breaths on Jia Jia’s pregnancy status. Giant pandas have delayed implantation during pregnancy and as such, vets cannot confirm a pregnancy until the later part of the panda’s gestation period, which in Jia Jia’s case, falls between August to September.

panda2.PNG

HELP WILDLIFE ESCAPE EXTINCTION THIS MARCH HOLIDAYS

Dinosaurs at River Safari and Singapore Zoo help spread conservation message with new themed activities on weekends of 11-19 Mar 2017; Local residents enjoy savings of 50 per cent with two-park combo through March

conservation3
Meet critically endangered animals at River Safari and Singapore Zoo this March holidays, and help steer them away from extinction. All-new activities promise family fun as you learn important conservation messages on how to stop today’s species from suffering the same fate as dinosaurs. Enjoy this new experience on the weekends of 11 – 19 Mar 2017. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 1 MARCH 2017 — This March holidays, our Zoo-rassic Park dinosaur friends in River Safari and Singapore Zoo are spreading the conservation message to help threatened wildlife escape a fate similar to them.

Discover critically endangered animals such as the Sumatran elephant, Sumatran orangutan and Sulawesi crested macaque when you embark on the Together for Wildlife trail and learn how the smallest action can help impact their lives. The trail continues with animals like the Indian gharial, Mekong Giant Catfish and Amur sturgeon at River Safari.

Find out how our keepers engage these critically endangered residents through a series of animal enrichments and feedings to help encourage their natural behaviour.
Parents will get the opportunity to bond with their children over craft activities. Pass on conservation messages to the little ones, while turning discarded egg cartons into adorable turtles or decorating orangutan and elephant masks.

From 1 – 31 March, local residents enjoy fabulous savings of 50 per cent with our two-park combo to Singapore Zoo and River Safari at $31.50 per adult and $21.00 per child (3-12 years old) (Usual price $63.00 per adult and $42.00 per child 3-12 years old). This promotion is available online and onsite. Terms and conditions apply.

conservation

conservation2

For more information, visit www.zoorassicpark.sg

UNCOVER A LOST WORLD AT ZOO-RASSIC PARK

Singapore Zoo and River Safari aim to raise awareness on the sixth extinction with lifelike dinosaur animatronics display; Dinosaur-themed activities await during weekends of 26 Nov – 18 Dec 2016

Come face to face with T-rex (left), Spinosaurus, Velociraptor (right) and a host of their prehistoric cousins at Singapore Zoo and River Safari this year end. Zoo-rassic Park promises a fun-filled immersive adventure as you discover how to save today’s species from going the way of the dinosaurs. Dinosaur-themed activities await during weekends of 26 Nov – 18 Dec 2016, but visitors can continue to catch the dinosaurs in their new home until March 2017. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 16 November 2016 — In a unique display that does not involve living animals, Singapore Zoo and River Safari have brought in a lifelike animatronics collection of pre-historic creatures—dinosaurs.

From 26 November 2016 until March 2017, guests can expect to see the likes of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops in the newly installed Dinosaur Valley in Singapore Zoo, and some of their wild pre-historic cousins roaming in River Safari.

Ms May Lok, Director of Education, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “Dinosaurs disappeared from the face of the earth in the fifth extinction, and today, sadly, we are looking at a possible sixth extinction. Animal species are being wiped out at an unprecedented rate. We have lost 67 per cent of the world’s biodiversity in the last 50 years. Through Zoo-rassic Park, we hope to raise awareness on the issue, and rally our guests to do something to save the world’s biodiversity before it is too late.”

The immersive discovery trails draw parallels to the parks’ living collections. Journey through the Same Same But Different Trail in Singapore Zoo to learn about convergent evolution and be amazed by how the animals of today—like giraffes, rhinos, and bats—share similar features and behaviours with these relics of the past. Continuing the journey in River Safari, learn about living fossils in the Extinction Escapees Trail and find out more about ancient animals still alive today such as the Alligator Snapping Turtle, Indian Gharial and Giant Salamander.

Aside from the physical lifelike dinosaur display, Zoo-rassic Park offers guests an engaging augmented reality experience via Visual Discovery app Blippar. Whilst journeying through a misty walk in an immersive outdoor environment, guests can scan the dinosaurs peeping through the foliage to unlock an interactive experience and learn fun facts about their relationship to other animals in the Zoo.
Dinosaur-themed activities happen on the weekends of 26 Nov – 18 Dec 2016. Visitors can continue to catch the dinosaurs in their new home at Singapore Zoo and River Safari until March 2017.

Between 26 Nov – 18 Dec 2016, local residents also enjoy higher savings with the Dino-mite admission combo, with Singapore Zoo and River Safari dual park combo tickets at $39.00 per adult and $25.00 per child (3-12 years old) (Usual price $63.00 per adult and $42.00 per child 3-12 years old). The Dino-mite admission combo is available online and onsite. Terms and conditions apply.

zoorassiczoorassic2

For more information, visit http://www.zoo.com.sg/zoorassic-park/

CELEBRATE CHILDREN’S DAY WITH SOME SERIOUS FUN AT SINGAPORE ZOO THIS OCTOBER

Children enter free and are invited to save their favourite baby animals by voting to determine how an additional $60,000 in conservation funds will be allocated; Learn about conservation on newly launched
Go Green for Wildlife microsite and through in-park activities

Celebrate Children’s Day by voting for your favourite animal and help direct additional conservation funding to protect the species. Kids 12 years and under heading to Jurong Bird Park, River Safari, and Singapore Zoo from 1-31 October 2016 will enjoy free admission with a paying adult.
PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 27 September 2016 – In line with Children’s Day, Singapore Zoo is celebrating kids of all species this October and little people 12 years and under will be treated to some serious fun.

Through cute, scaly, and unusual baby animals, the Zoo aims to convey conservation messages and impart a love for the environment in children. Every weekend in October, meet furry animals Poe the binturong pup, Foxtrot the fennec fox kit, and Winona the goat kid at Singapore Zoo, or their unusual but equally adorable baby friends, the caterpillar, mealworm, red-footed tortoise, and others.

In addition, guests can go on a self-guided baby animal trail to discover some of the new births in the park, including the proboscis monkey, white rhinoceros, Komodo dragon, orangutan and more! Guests who take a photo of at least six baby animals can redeem an attractive gift.

To drive awareness of sustainability and conservation among the young, children are empowered to play an active role in helping Wildlife Reserves Singapore (parent company of Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo) decide where to channel part of its conservation funds. WRS supports over 25 conservation and research projects in Singapore and the region aimed at protecting wildlife in their native habitats. Under the ‘Vote for Wildlife’ initiative, an additional S$60,000 has been pledged in support of ongoing projects to protect Raffles’ banded langurs, Sumatran elephants, and Sumatran orangutans, broken down as follows:

  • For every online vote or share (www.gogreenforwildlife.com) WRS will donate 20 cents to the selected conservation project with funding capped at $40,000 across the 3 projects.
  • For on-site votes, the selected conservation projects will receive a boost of $10,000, $6,000, or $4,000 in conservation funds depending on number of votes.

The public are invited to vote onsite in Singapore Zoo, or on the campaign microsite http://www.gogreenforwildlife.com which also hosts a treasure trove of conservation knowledge to enrich little minds.

In addition, from 1-31 October, children 12 years and under enjoy complimentary admission into Jurong Bird Park, River Safari and Singapore Zoo, with the purchase of an adult ticket (Terms and conditions apply).

oct activities.PNG

RIVER SAFARI’S GIANT PANDAS KAI KAI AND JIA JIA CELEBRATE BIRTHDAYS WITH HONEY-FLAVOURED ICE CAKES

Pandas’ eighth and ninth birthdays mark the fourth anniversary of their arrival on 6 September 2012.

ABOVE: Kai Kai (right) and Jia Jia enjoying their honey-flavoured ice cakes. In a recent update to their Red List of Threatened Species, giant pandas were downgraded to ‘Vulnerable’ from ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Photo credits: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

SINGAPORE, 14 September 2016 – Keepers at River Safari today threw a birthday bash for giant pandas—Kai Kai and Jia Jia—with honey-flavoured ice cakes decorated with apple and carrot slices, some of their favourite treats.

Male Kai Kai celebrates his ninth birthday today, and female Jia Jia turned eight on 3 September 2016. Their ice cakes weighed a collective 7kg, and took keepers four days to make.

Both giant pandas arrived in River Safari in 2012 on a 10-year loan from China. Kai Kai and Jia Jia entered their second mating season in April earlier this year, but both natural mating and artificial insemination had been unsuccessful. From weeks of displaying pseudo-pregnancy behaviour, female panda Jia Jia is gradually returning to a quiet life of normalcy.

Keepers and vet remain optimistic for a future Singapore panda cub as Jia Jia is still very young (teenager in human years), and will continue to employ conservation breeding techniques proven to be successful before in other zoos.

ABOVE LEFT: Nor Faizah Bt Abdul Aziz, 23, Junior Keeper, and Halim Ali, 49, Assistant Curator, putting the final touches on Kai Kai’s cake.
ABOVE RIGHT: Ivan Ang, 26, Junior Keeper, gently placing sliced carrots on Jia Jia’s cake. Giant pandas consume up to 20kg of bamboo daily, and Kai Kai and Jia Jia also enjoy fruits, vegetables and high fibre biscuits. Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

RIVER SAFARI’S KAI AND JUNIOR TAKE FLIGHT FOR LANDMARK MANATEE CONSERVATION PROGRAMME

Manatee duo and best of friends set off early this morning
on a 34-hour chartered flight to Guadeloupe; Entourage includes two vets and an aquarist

LEFT: River Safari Singapore’s team of aquarists, keepers and vets coaxing Junior into the canvas stretcher, for transfer into the travelling crate. Junior and his best friend Kai are bound for Guadeloupe as pioneer manatees for the world’s first manatee repopulation programme spearheaded by the National Park of Guadeloupe.

RIGHT: Jayce Chua, Assistant Curator, River Safari Singapore, making a final check on Kai before he and Junior are loaded onto the chartered freighter aircraft for the 19,600km journey to Guadeloupe which will take 34 hours. Kai and Junior will be the first of 15 manatees globally to arrive for the world’s first manatee repopulation programme in the creatures’ historic range in the Caribbean, where the species have not been sighted in over a century.

PHOTOS CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 8 August 2016River Safari Singapore’s Kai and Junior have set off on their historic journey to become the first two manatees in over a century to arrive in Guadeloupe as pioneers for the world’s first manatee repopulation programme. The pair departed Singapore at 4.50am today.

At a farewell ceremony on Sunday, Mr Mike Barclay, Group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings presented a special flight comfort kit consisting of the manatees’ favourite treats—high fibre pellets—to Mrs Laurence Beau, Deputy Head of Mission from the Embassy of France in Singapore, symbolically signifying the handing over of River Safari’s two male manatees to Guadeloupe, a French territory in the Caribbean.

The journey to Guadeloupe will take 34 hours, and Kai and Junior will travel 19,600km across the globe before finally arriving on 8 August 2016, at 1:30am local time.

Under the Antillean manatee repopulation project spearheaded by the National Park of
Guadeloupe, 15 manatees from zoos around the world will be sent to their historic home in the Grand Cul-de-sac Marin, a protected bay which measures 15,000 hectares and will shield the manatee collection from boating traffic by way of an enforced no-entry zone. In addition to age and temperament considerations, genetic diversity is also key in the selection of the founding group. The future offspring from the initial 15 manatees will be reintroduced to the wild, eventually repopulating the Caribbean region. Kai and Junior from River Safari will be the first arrivals for the landmark project.

Mr Mike Barclay, Group CEO, Mandai Park Holdings, said, “As operators of four world-class wildlife parks – Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari, and Singapore Zoo – we are committed to offering the best possible care to the animals under our charge. Aside from maintaining a healthy living collection to educate and inspire an appreciation for wildlife among our park guests, we are also committed to breeding assurance populations for threatened species and, where possible, reintroducing them back into the wild. We are happy to have the opportunity to contribute towards repopulating part of the manatees’ historic range in the Caribbean, where they have not been sighted in over a century. Projects like this allow us to do our bit to protect and conserve the world’s biodiversity.”

In the last 20 years, more than 10 manatees were bred under human care in River Safari and Singapore Zoo. Among them, Kai and Junior have been selected for the repopulation programme in Guadeloupe as they have reached sexual maturity, and are best pals inside the aquarium. Their relative young age also makes it easier for the pair to adapt to a new environment. Kai was born on 8 October 2009 and Junior was born on 2 February 2010.

 

Manatee-shaped breeding facility at National Park of Guadeloupe.jpg
The breeding grounds for the 15 manatees, aptly shaped in the form of a manatee, in Guadeloupe. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL PARK OF GUADELOUPE

Due to Kai and Junior’s massive weight, River Safari’s team of aquarists, keepers, and vets took extra care as they placed the pair into travelling crates for transportation. These crates are lined with thick sponge to ensure that Kai and Junior remain comfortable throughout the journey, and also to absorb water which has to be periodically sprayed on the manatees to keep their skin moist. As an added measure for the manatees’ comfort, the National Park of Guadeloupe and River Safari opted for a chartered flight for Kai and Junior to minimise travel time.

Two veterinarians from the National Park of Guadeloupe and River Safari’s Deputy Head Aquarist, Keith So, are accompanying Kai and Junior throughout the 34-hour journey. Kai and Junior’s favourite aquarist at River Safari, Doris Su, will depart for Guadeloupe on a separate passenger flight this evening, to help ensure they settle down well in their new environment.

Manatees are currently 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.

 

RIVER SAFARI’S KAI AND JUNIOR TO TRAVEL TO THE CARRIBBEAN FOR WORLD’S FIRST MANATEE REPOPULATION PROGRAMME

Best pals Kai and Junior will be the first manatees to arrive in Guadeloupe in over a century;
Future offspring to repopulate manatee-extinct area in landmark project.

Image 1_Hafiz Rahmat, River Safari aquarist, conducting canvas conditioning with Junior _lores.jpg
River Safari aquarist Hafiz Rahmat conducting canvas conditioning for Junior, a 6-tear-old male manatee, to prepare him for the 30-odd-hour journey from Singapore to Guadeloupe. Junior and his tank mate Kai are the first two manatees chosen to participate in the world’s first manatee repopulation programme. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Image 2_Sebastien Rives hand feeding Kai and Junior with high fibre pellets_lores
Sébastien Rives from the National Park of Guadeloupe hand-feeding Kai and Junior with high fibre pellets inside River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest, the world’s largest freshwater aquarium. Sébastien was on a study trip to River Safari to understand Kai and Junior’s personalities better and learn about their likes and dislikes, which will aid their care and well-being when the pair arrives in Guadeloupe. PHOTOS CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 25 July 2016River Safari’s Kai and Junior are set to become the first two manatees in over a century to arrive in Guadeloupe. The pair are pioneer animals for the world’s first manatee re-population programme.

Spearheaded by the National Park of Guadeloupe, the historic conservation project aims to reintroduce the Antillean manatees in Guadeloupe through a breeding programme with a founding group of 15 manatees from various zoological institutions. An important cultural symbol locally, the West Indian manatee species has been extinct in the waters of Guadeloupe since the beginning of the 20th century as a result of excessive hunting activities.

Kai and Junior will be the first to arrive at the Grand Cul-de-sac Marin, a protected bay which measures 15,000 hectares and would shield the manatees from boating traffic by way of an enforced no-entry zone. The future offspring from this founding group will be reintroduced to the wild, eventually repopulating the Caribbean region.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “We have been very successful in breeding manatees in our care for the past 20 years. We are very happy that this success will now contribute to restocking part of the species’ historic range in the Caribbean where it has been extinct for the past century. Projects like this is one of many ways that we are contributing to the survival of species in the wild.”

Kai and Junior have been selected as they have reached sexual maturity, and are best pals inside the aquarium due to age similarity. Kai was born on 8 October 2009 and Junior was born on 2 February 2010. They are almost inseparable, and can often be spotted swimming and feeding together.

Inage 3_Seven year old Kai was chosen because he had reached sexual maturity and is best friends with Junior in the aquarium_lores
Seven-year-old male manatee, Kai, was chosen as he had reached sexual maturity and is best friends in the aquarium with Junior. Male manatees can reach sexual maturity from three to four years old onwards. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Kai and Junior’s flight to Guadeloupe will occur within the next few weeks, and is likely to take more than 30 hours with several pit stops. Although a date has not been set, aquarists have been busy conducting operant conditioning, and spending extra time with them before the final farewell. Canvas conditioning is required to ensure that both manatees are comfortable and familiar with the material on export day. Kai and Junior will take turns to be guided to rest on their canvases, and a hoist will then lift the canvas to place the manatees inside their open top traveling crates, custom-fitted to their lengths.

These crates are lined with thick sponge to ensure that Kai and Junior remain comfortable
throughout the flight, and also to absorb water which has to be periodically sprayed on the
manatees to keep their skin moist. In true VIP style, Kai and Junior will have their personal flight entourage, which includes veterinarians from the National Park of Guadeloupe, and two aquarists from River Safari.

“The ultimate conservation goal would be to reintroduce threatened animal species to the wild and yet it is a very rare opportunity for this to happen as there is a severe lack of suitable wild habitats, among other challenges. We are very happy that the manatees will have such an opportunity. We are confident that Kai and Junior will do well for the good of their species”, said Keith So, Deputy Head Aquarist at River Safari.

Manatees are currently 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.

SINGAPORE’S WILDEST RESIDENTS SAY ‘HAPPY SG51’ WITH 51% OFF ZOO ADMISSION

Pricing privileges for Singapore residents to Jurong Bird Park, River Safari, and Singapore Zoo from 1-31 August 2016 to celebrate the nation’s wildest parade

WRS National Day 51% Promotion.jpg
To celebrate National Day, Singapore residents heading to Jurong Bird Park, River Safari, and Singapore Zoo from 1-31 August 2016 will enjoy pricing privileges. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 21 July 2016 – Singapore’s wildest residents in Jurong Bird Park, River Safari, and Singapore Zoo are in the mood to celebrate the nation’s 51st birthday with offers of 51% off admission tickets, a retro kampong-styled feast of delectable street food, and the launch of a new year-long Wild Birthday programme.

Singapore residents will enjoy 51% off bundled admission to Singapore Zoo and River Safari. Bird lovers can commemorate the nation’s birthday month with feathered friends at Jurong Bird Park with the Happy Bird Day Deal, with 51% off bird park admission.

What’s a celebration without great eats, Singapore-style? Take a stroll down memory lane and return to the nation’s kampong roots at Singapore Zoo’s Kampong Mandai food fare, where local favourites such as satay, pisang goreng and other tasty treats await.

In addition, from 1 August, Singapore citizens and permanent residents that visit any of the four WRS parks on their birthdays or within seven days after their birthdate will enjoy free admission when accompanied by a paying guest, as part of a year-round Wild Birthday promotion.

details.PNG

Details are available at www.zoo.com.sg/wild-parade.

 

CANOLA THE MANATEE IS RIVER SAFARI’S NEW ANIMAL ICON

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