KOALAS READY TO WELCOME VISITORS AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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Singapore Zoo - Koalas Chan (R) and Idalia (L)

Four koalas received as gifts from Australia to Singapore ready to meet visitors;
Singapore Zoo celebrates Koalamania with a host of activities during June school holidays

SINGAPORE, 20 May 2015 – Four furry envoys from Australia – koalas Chan, Idalia, Paddle and Pellita – are set to welcome visitors at Singapore Zoo with the opening of their new exhibit today, in a ceremony officiated by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law, Singapore, and The Honourable Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia.

The quartet is a precious gift from Australia to Singapore on the occasion of Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence, and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and Singapore.

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said,“The four koalas are living emblems of the strong and longstanding friendship between Australia and Singapore. Their stay in Singapore Zoo presents an excellent opportunity for visitors to have a peek at these fascinating animals that stand among the biggest icons of endemic Australian wildlife.”

Originating from Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the four koalas landed safely in Singapore onboard Qantas Airways on 13 April 2015, and underwent a one-month quarantine period. They will stay at Singapore Zoo until January 2016 before returning to Australia. During the koalas’ time in Singapore, Qantas Airways will fly in eucalypt leaves – the koalas’ primary diet – twice weekly from Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

In the home state of Queensland where the four koalas hail from, marsupials are considered ‘vulnerable’ and are threatened by habitat loss and encroachment, motor vehicle accidents, diseases, bush fires and even attack by suburban dogs. Wildlife Reserves Singapore (parent company of Singapore Zoo) is currently supporting the Bob Irwin Wildlife & Conservation Foundation Inc. in their efforts to produce a series of short education films to raise awareness of the threats koalas face in the wild.

Prior to the koalas’ arrival, Singapore Zoo took two months to design and build a special 210 square metre climate-controlled exhibit. The koala exhibit is an addition to the Australian zone, a dedicated section in Singapore Zoo that showcases Australian wildlife. ANZ Singapore is the proud adopter of the Australian zone.

During the opening of the koala exhibit, the Australian High Commission presented two street art murals to Singapore Zoo, created by graffiti and stencil artist Regan Tamanul.

Ms Chiang said, “As proud custodian of the four koalas, Singapore Zoo has planned a month-long Koalamania celebration in honour of the marsupials, and we invite everybody to join us for the festivities.”

In celebration of SG50, local residents visiting Singapore Zoo can visit River Safari on the same day and enjoy 50% off River Safari admission tickets. Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 60 years and above enjoy free admission to Singapore Zoo from 30 May to 30 June 2015.*

Singapore Zoo has planned a series of Koalamania activities for the June holidays in tandem with the opening of the koala exhibit. On weekends between 30 May to 28 June, visitors can look forward to aboriginal dance performances, mascot meet and greet sessions, and Australian arts and crafts stations. In addition, visitors can enjoy animal-themed Zoolympix educational activities with game-stations and awareness booths.

*Terms and conditions for promotions apply. Visit http://zoo.com.sg/events-promos/events-promos.html for details.

KOALAMANIA HITS SINGAPORE ZOO THIS JUNE

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Go wild with koa-lity holiday activities and stand a chance to win a family trip to Queensland

Koalamania

18 May 2015, SINGAPORE – Koalas Chan, Idalia, Pellita and Paddle have arrived at Singapore Zoo for their tropical vacation and are ready to meet visitors from 12pm on 20 May! Say “G’day” to the four lovely ladies from Down Under, take part in Zoolympix 2015, and go wild with Koalamania this June school holidays.

For five weekends from 30 May to 28 June, young visitors can show their love for the furry marsupials by donning koala masks, and create koala keepsakes such as origami art, pencil huggers and Australian aboriginal-inspired dot paintings. Snap a photo at the zoo’s koala photo illusion wall, upload it on the Koalamania website (http://www.zoo.com.sg/koala-mania/) and stand to win a family holiday to Queensland, Australia with Qantas Airways!

The annual Zoolympix is also back this June with a line-up of fun and educational activities inviting kids (aged 5-12 years) to play Junior Explorers for a day. Held for 15 activity days between 30 May and 28 June, explorers can help save animal friends from the brink of extinction.

In celebration of SG50, local residents visiting Singapore Zoo can visit River Safari on the same day and enjoy 50% off River Safari admission tickets. Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 60 years and above enjoy free admission to Singapore Zoo from 30 May to 30 June 2015.*

*Terms and conditions for promotions apply. Visit http://zoo.com.sg/events-promos/events-promos.html for details.

Activity Details

Zoolympix 2015
30 May to 7 June, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28 June
Starting point at Zoolympix booth near entrance
Junior Explorers can pick up a Zoolympix booklet near the entrance of Singapore Zoo before seeking out the five wildlife-themed game stations that are scattered around the park. Help save animals and protect their homes through fun activities, while learning about environmental threats.
All participants are entitled to a Spin and Win lucky draw on completing the Zoolympix booklet.
Participants can also look forward to sale of educational materials, exclusive badges and an education awareness booth.

Koalamania!
30 May to 28 June 2015 (Weekends only)
Koala Mask-cum-Fan Giveaway (Limited to 1000 pieces daily, while stocks last)
Wear your love for koalas… on your face! The adorable mask doubles as a fan to keep you cool throughout the day.

Koala Kling-on Optical Illusion Photo Wall
Snap a photo at our illusion wall, upload it on the Koalamania website (http://www.zoo.com.sg/koala-mania/) and stand to win a family holiday to Queensland, Australia!

11am and 1pm (30mins each)
Didgeridoo (aboriginal wind instrument) performance by The Earthtone Project – hang around for a chance to try playing Australian aboriginal instruments.

10am, 12 noon, 4pm (30mins each)
Mascot Mania – look out for the adorable koalas and Zoo Hoo elephant, orang utan and zebra mascots! Snap photos with them for a memorable keepsake.

10am to 4pm
Koala-ty Crafts – Young koala fans can get krafty with koala and aboriginal-themed crafts like origami, sticker printing and dot painting on pebbles.

KOALAS ARRIVE IN SINGAPORE ZOO

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Koalas Chan, Idalia, Paddle and Pellita enter one-month quarantine

Assistant Curator Rubiah Ismail observing Pellita the koala as part of the morning routine. Rubiah, together with Junior Animal Management Officer Rachel Yeo, was on attachment in Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for two months to learn all about koala care. On 13 April 2015, four female koalas arrived in Singapore Zoo and the quartet is currently on a month-long quarantine. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Assistant Curator Rubiah Ismail observing Pellita the koala as part of the morning routine. Rubiah, together with Junior Animal Management Officer Rachel Yeo, was on attachment in Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for two months to learn all about koala care. On 13 April 2015, four female koalas arrived in Singapore Zoo and the quartet is currently on a month-long quarantine. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Singapore, 16 April 2015 – Four female koalas from Australia landed safely in Singapore on 13 April 2015, and will make Singapore Zoo their temporary home for the next six months.

Koala Idalia enjoys a spot of breakfast of eucalypt leaves flown specially into Singapore by Qantas Airways. Four female koalas arrived in Singapore Zoo on the evening of 13 April 2015 and they are now in quarantine for a month. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Koala Idalia enjoys a spot of breakfast of eucalypt leaves flown specially into Singapore by Qantas Airways. Four female koalas arrived in Singapore Zoo on the evening of 13 April 2015 and they are now in quarantine for a month. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

The furry envoys, named Chan, Idalia, Paddle and Pellita, departed from their home in Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane, and travelled with Qantas Airways from Brisbane to Singapore. They are now housed in the zoo’s quarantine facility where they will remain for a month. The koala exhibit is expected to open to public in late May with a grand housewarming party and a series of activities for visitors to Singapore Zoo.

Koala Idalia arrived in Singapore on the evening of 13 April 2015, and is currently in quarantine with three other female koalas, Chan, Paddle and Pellita in Singapore Zoo. Members of the public can see koalas in Singapore Zoo’s Australian Outback section from late-May. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Koala Idalia arrived in Singapore on the evening of 13 April 2015, and is currently in quarantine with three other female koalas, Chan, Paddle and Pellita in Singapore Zoo. Members of the public can see koalas in Singapore Zoo’s Australian Outback section from late-May. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “We are ecstatic to host the koalas for the next six months. These lovely creatures are excellent animal ambassadors for Australia, offering a peek into the biodiversity of eucalyptus forests. They will no doubt charm zoo visitors of all ages when the exhibit officially opens.”

The quartet is a precious gift from Australia to Singapore on the occasion of Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence, and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and Singapore.

NEW STRIPES, SPOTS AND A MANE EVENT AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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Charismatic additions to cat collection are getting preened to welcome visitors

Singapore Zoo’s new white tigers Pasha (below) and Keysa (above) enjoy an afternoon prowl in their habitat as part of a conditioning session to get them settled in their new home. The two-year-old brother and sister pair are part of an animal exchange programme with Indonesia’s Maharani Zoo. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Singapore Zoo’s new white tigers Pasha (below) and Keysa (above) enjoy an afternoon prowl in their habitat as part of a conditioning session to get them settled in their new home. The two-year-old brother and sister pair are part of an animal exchange programme with Indonesia’s Maharani Zoo. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Singapore, 3 March 2015 – Cat lovers are in for a roaring fur-filled experience as Singapore Zoo introduces a flurry of felines in the coming months. The new additions will include white tigers, cheetahs and an African lion.

First to make their public debut will be white tiger siblings Pasha and Keysa. The duo arrived from Indonesia’s Maharani Zoo on 15 January this year, and has since completed their month-long quarantine period. They are now being conditioned to the exhibit most afternoons, and spend their time sniffing and stalking every inch of the habitat. Once keepers are confident they are comfortable in their new home, they will be displayed on a regular basis.

Pasha the white tiger pauses to enjoy a sip of water, before continuing to explore his new habitat at Singapore Zoo. The 2-year old male and his sister Keysa are one of three feline species that have recently arrived at the park. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Pasha the white tiger pauses to enjoy a sip of water, before continuing to explore his new habitat at Singapore Zoo. The 2-year old male and his sister Keysa are one of three feline species that have recently arrived at the park. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

The two-year-old brother and sister pair will take turns with Omar, the zoo’s 15-year-old white tiger, to prowl the tiger habitat at different times of the day. As Omar is in his senior years, there are plans to further enhance the collection in the event he passes on.

Singapore Zoo welcomed four sleek and stunning cheetahs from De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre in South Africa in January 2015. Two of the four peer curiously at their surroundings during their month-long quarantine. Visitors will soon get to see these charismatic cats at Singapore Zoo’s Wild Africa section. Cheetahs are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Singapore Zoo welcomed four sleek and stunning cheetahs from De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre in South Africa in January 2015. Two of the four peer curiously at their surroundings during their month-long quarantine. Visitors will soon get to see these charismatic cats at Singapore Zoo’s Wild Africa section. Cheetahs are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Prepping themselves for their first appearance too, are two pairs of cheetahs. The two males Indiana and Obi, and two sisters Maya and Herculina, arrived from the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre on 14 January. The males will be introduced to the exhibit in early March, while the new females are being acquainted with Kima, the older cat in the Singapore Zoo collection. When they are eventually released into the habitat, visitors will likely only spot two or three cheetahs at any one time, as the sexes will be displayed separately in preparation for future breeding opportunities.

Visitors will have to wait a little longer for the mane event at the Zoo’s Wild Africa section. Timba, a two-year-old African male lion from Dierenpark Emmen in the Netherlands, is awaiting his harem of females, and will only be exhibited at a later date this year. The three females are scheduled to arrive in March.

Male African lion Timba may not be on display yet, but he is being kept occupied with operant conditioning sessions, including target training and whistle training, in the off-exhibit den. These sessions will make it easier for keepers and vets to conduct regular health checks in the future. African lions are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Male African lion Timba may not be on display yet, but he is being kept occupied with operant conditioning sessions, including target training and whistle training, in the off-exhibit den. These sessions will make it easier for keepers and vets to conduct regular health checks in the future. African lions are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

In the meantime, keepers have commenced the all-important medical training for Timba in the off-exhibit den. Aside from keeping him occupied and stimulated, the training is an important aspect of animal care in a modern zoo as it makes routine health checks less stressful for the animals, and is great for keeper-animal bonding.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “As part of our collection planning process, we routinely exchange captive-bred animals with other zoological institutions to ensure we have the appropriate numbers for exhibition and education purposes. New bloodlines are also essential to maintain genetic diversity which is all important for zoos to ensure sustainable captive populations.”

* IUCN stands for International Union for Conservation of Nature

WHITE TIGER OMAR UNDERGOES BLOOD TEST

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Regular vet checks for Singapore Zoo’s 15-year-old white tiger to keep tabs on his health

Image 1: A team of three from the zoology and veterinary department of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (parent company of Singapore Zoo) preparing 15-year-old male white tiger Omar for a blood draw. Here, head vet Dr Serena Oh (right) prepares a syringe as junior keeper Hamidan Mislan holds steady the tail, while deputy head Keeper Kumar Vall (centre) distracts Omar on the other side of the conditioning chute with calming words and chunks of meat. Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Image 1: A team of three from the zoology and veterinary department of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (parent company of Singapore Zoo) preparing 15-year-old male white tiger Omar for a blood draw. Here, head vet Dr Serena Oh (right) prepares a syringe as junior keeper Hamidan Mislan holds steady the tail, while deputy head Keeper Kumar Vall (centre) distracts Omar on the other side of the conditioning chute with calming words and chunks of meat. Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Singapore, 29 January 2015 – The usually active white tiger Omar lay down quietly in his conditioning chute as deputy head keeper Kumar Vall spoke in calming tones and fed him meaty treats. On the other side of the chute, head vet Dr Serena Oh and junior keeper Hamidan Mislan quietly and quickly drew blood from the 15-year-old male tiger’s tail. The procedure, a blood draw to determine Omar’s health, was over in less than 10 minutes.

As Omar progresses into his senior years, keepers and vets are keeping a closer eye on the white tiger to ensure they stay on top of his healthcare needs. Blood test results showed that his liver and kidneys are functioning normally. He is also receiving treatment for keratisis in his left eye, a condition in which the cornea becomes inflamed or dry.

Image 2: About 3ml of blood was drawn from Omar through his tail. His blood test results revealed that he is generally in good health for a tiger well into his geriatric life stage. His liver and kidneys are found to be functioning normally. Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Image 2: About 3ml of blood was drawn from Omar through his tail. His blood test results revealed that he is generally in good health for a tiger well into his geriatric life stage. His liver and kidneys are found to be functioning normally. Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Unlike health checks for some of the zoo’s animals which require sedation, Omar’s was conducted through operant conditioning, a method that allows keepers to train and obtain desired behaviours from animals under their care. This technique is less stressful for the animal, keepers and vets when conducting veterinary and animal management procedures.

Image 3: The white tiger has been conditioned to respond to certain commands which allow zoo keepers and vets to perform regular check-ups without putting him through the stressful process of sedation. Here, Omar responds to deputy head keeper Kumar Vall’s hand signal to open his mouth to check on the condition of his gums and teeth. Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Image 3: The white tiger has been conditioned to respond to certain commands which allow zoo keepers and vets to perform regular check-ups without putting him through the stressful process of sedation. Here, Omar responds to deputy head keeper Kumar Vall’s hand signal to open his mouth to check on the condition of his gums and teeth. Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Through this method, Omar was conditioned to respond to commands such as sitting and opening his mouth, allowing zoo staff to keep an eye on his health more regularly while strengthening the bond between him and his keepers.

Popular with visitors, Omar has charmed visitors since arriving in Singapore Zoo on 6 April 2001. Born in Indonesia’s Taman Safari, Omar and his two sisters Winnie and Jippie arrived in Singapore when they were 19 months old. Winnie and Jippie have since passed on.

In the wild, tigers have an average lifespan of between 10 to 15 years while those in zoological institutions live 16-20 years on average.

SINGAPORE ZOO’S POLAR BEAR INUKA SLURPS GIANT ICE KACHANG ON HIS 24TH BIRTHDAY

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First polar bear born in the tropics celebrates birthday in true Singapore style

Singapore, 26 December 2014 – Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, turns 24 today at Singapore Zoo.

Inuka’s birthday celebration started bright and early as keepers presented him with a giant ice kachang* cake made of the bear’s favourite food like salmon, blueberries, watermelon and strawberries topped with whipped cream.

In the wee hours of 26 December 1990, Inuka was born in his mother’s den at Singapore Zoo and keepers have referred to him since as their ‘best Christmas present ever’. At 24, Inuka is well into his senior years and lives comfortably in his Frozen Tundra home which features climate-controlled resting areas and a large pool for him to swim in.

*Ice kachang is a dessert popular in Singapore, traditionally comprising ice shavings, syrup, and sweet treats like red beans, sweet corn and jelly.

Singapore Zoo’s beloved Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, was presented a giant ice kachang cake embedded with his favourite food as he celebrated his 24th birthday on 26 Dec 2014. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore Zoo’s beloved Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, was presented a giant ice kachang cake embedded with his favourite food as he celebrated his 24th birthday on 26 Dec 2014. Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

In the wee hours of 26 Dec 1990, Inuka was born in his mother’s den at Singapore Zoo, and keepers have referred to him since as their ‘best Christmas present ever’. The bear turned 24 on 26 Dec 2014. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

In the wee hours of 26 Dec 1990, Inuka was born in his mother’s den at Singapore Zoo, and keepers have referred to him since as their ‘best Christmas present ever’. The bear turned 24 on 26 Dec 2014. Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Polar bear Inuka weighed only 400 grams at birth and he is currently over 500 kilograms. Singapore Zoo celebrated Inuka’s 24th birthday on 26 Dec 2014 with a giant ice kachang containing some of his favourite food like salmon, blueberries, watermelon and strawberries. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Polar bear Inuka weighed only 400 grams at birth and he is currently over 500 kilograms. Singapore Zoo celebrated Inuka’s 24th birthday on 26 Dec 2014 with a giant ice kachang containing some of his favourite food like salmon, blueberries, watermelon and strawberries. Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Singapore Zoo celebrated Inuka’s 24th birthday on 26 Dec 2014 with a giant ice kachang cake containing some of the bear’s favourite food. At 24, Inuka is well into his senior years and lives comfortably in his Frozen Tundra home which features climate-controlled resting areas and a large pool for him to swim in. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore Zoo celebrated Inuka’s 24th birthday on 26 Dec 2014 with a giant ice kachang cake containing some of the bear’s favourite food. At 24, Inuka is well into his senior years and lives comfortably in his Frozen Tundra home which features climate-controlled resting areas and a large pool for him to swim in. Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE TO ADOPT NEW ELEPHANT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

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New system deemed to provide higher degree of safety; Overhaul to be implemented in phases

Singapore, 15 December 2014 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) will be phasing in the protected contact elephant management system for all elephants in Night Safari and Singapore Zoo over the next few years.

When fully in place, all staff training and interaction with elephants under the protected contact system will be conducted through a physical safety barrier. The protected contact management system is based on positive reinforcement where animals are motivated by rewards such as food.

The two parks will be among the first zoological institutions in Asia to implement the protected contact management system for all elephants in its collection. Among the modern zoo community, this method is currently deemed to be the safest way to manage elephants while ensuring proper animal care and welfare.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, WRS, said, “The decision to adopt the protected contact management system was made after an internal review by our elephant managers and healthcare experts, who found that this system of management offers a safer work environment for the elephant keepers. Importantly, the new system will continue to allow our keepers access to the elephants for their daily care, although separated by a safety barrier.”

The complete implementation of the protected contact system will take three to five years as it will involve major redesign and construction of the elephant exhibits, back-of-house facilities as well as re-training of our elephants and elephant keepers.

The first phase of moving towards the protected contact system will be the cessation of programmes involving direct visitor contact with the elephants. From 5 January 2015, elephant rides and other activities where elephants are taken out of their exhibits will cease at the zoo. This is to allow the elephants to spend more time in the exhibits and to socialise among themselves.

Visitors to Singapore Zoo will still be able to enjoy the Elephants at Work and Play show (available twice daily at 11.30am and 3.30pm), and take part in elephant feeding sessions which happens after each show.

Dr Cheng continued, “Providing meaningful interactive opportunities with our animals is one of the most valuable services we bring to our visitors. Our new elephant exhibits will be designed to enable up-close encounters, and give us the chance to offer new behind-the-scenes experiences.”

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