WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE CONSERVATION FUND OPENS GRANT APPLICATIONS

AREAS FOR CONSIDERATION: NATIVE WILDLIFE CONSERVATION FOCUSING ON BIRDLIFE AND OTHER ANIMALS IN DANGER, AND IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON CONSERVATION

Singapore, 10 December 2009Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund (WRSCF) announces that it is now accepting grant applications for project proposals from interested parties working toward conserving endangered native wildlife. The grant applications will be for conservation and related research work on birds, native wildlife in danger and impact of climate change on conservation, in Singapore.

“As a conservation fund with the objective to sustain endangered native wildlife and ecosystems, we encourage like-minded individuals or organisations to come forward and submit their proposed scope of study of wildlife that are unique to our nation. From these efforts and studies, we hope to make concrete progress on the conservation front and to raise public awareness of native species,” said Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

WRSCF is designed to provide accessible and flexible grants for persons who want to contribute to the conservation of native wildlife species. To be eligible, the scope of study needs to include at least one of these elements: conservation-related scientific research, direct field conservation work, education and public awareness, human-animal conflict resolution or capacity building and the sharing of best practices.

Thus far, National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Ah Meng Memorial Conservation Fund is the first grant recipient of $500,000 over a five-year period. The amount will support NUS students and faculty members conducting academic research and studies pertaining to endangered wildlife.

WRSCF grant applications will be reviewed by the Specialist Panel comprising scientists, academics and representatives from government agencies such as National Parks Board (NParks), Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), National Institute of Education (NIE), NUS, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) and Nature Society of Singapore (NSS).

With the establishment of WRSCF, parties keen to embark on projects contributing to the conservation of native endangered wildlife will have a financial avenue to support their cause. Application forms and guidelines can be downloaded from http://www.wrscf.org.sg.

NEW CONSERVATION FUND PROMISES A BOOST TO LOCAL WILDLIFE

– WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE CONSERVATION FUND LAUNCHED TO PROTECT AND SAVE SINGAPORE’S NATIVE ENDANGERED SPECIES
– NUS, FIRST RECIPIENT, WILL EMBARK ON A STUDY OF SINGAPORE’S NATIVE BANDED LANGUR
– S$1 MILLION SEED FUND FROM WRS; 20 CENTS FROM EVERY ENTRANCE TICKET  (TO JBP, NS SZ) SOLD DONATED TO WRSCF SINCE APRIL 1, 2009

Singapore, 10 July 2009Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS/新加坡野生动物保育集团) today launched an independent conservation fund to protect and save Singapore’s native endangered species.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund (WRSCF/新加坡野生动物保育基金) is dedicated to wildlife conservation and education. Its focus will be on native animal conservation efforts and the issue of climate change. Additionally, it will support the Ah Meng Memorial Conservation Fund, set up in conjunction with the National University of Singapore.

This will be achieved through direct field conservation work, education and public awareness, human-animal conflict resolution, capacity building and sharing of best practices.

“Singapore’s rich biodiversity is home to a lush variety of flora and fauna, including the pangolin, flying lemur and banded langur. Unfortunately, many Singaporeans are unaware of what wildlife can be found locally and even when informed, they tend to take these animals for granted. We would like to encourage more organisations and individuals to join us in preserving our natural heritage. In support of conservation, WRS has made a contribution of S$1,000,000 in seed money to the Fund,” says Ms Claire Chiang (张齐娥), newly appointed Chairperson of the WRSCF.

In addition, WRS has started contributing 20 cents from every entrance ticket sold to any of its three parks – Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and the Singapore Zoo. This will anchor the funds for the WRSCF. Public donations are also welcome.

The first recipient is the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Ah Meng Memorial Conservation Fund, which will receive S$500,000 over five years. This will support the academic research and study of endangered native wildlife undertaken by students and faculty members of NUS.

“We are honoured to be the first recipient of the fund as it definitely helps in furthering our cause to learn and gather information on data deficient animals. It is our duty as Singaporeans to seek new facts and records of our wildlife, and in the process train and develop future local conservationists,” says Professor Leo Tan (陈伟兴教授), Director (Special Projects), National University of Singapore. The first project to receive funding from the NUS’ Ah Meng Memorial Conservation Fund is a study on the banded langur, one of Singapore’s native endangered wildlife.

WRSCF will also be partnering with NGOs such as the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) of New York, to advance public education and awareness. Some of the issues that will be addressed include the illegal wildlife and bushmeat trade, that Singaporeans may unknowingly contribute to when they consume exotic dishes while overseas.

Individuals and organisations will soon be able to submit project proposals to WRSCF. Funding support will be subjected to approval by an independent Specialist Panel comprising professionals from National Parks Board (NParks), Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), National Institute of Education (NIE), NUS, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR), Nature Society of Singapore (NSS) and Singapore Science Centre.

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WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE TO HOST SLOW LORIS IDENTIFICATION TRAINING AT SINGAPORE ZOO

Singapore, June 11, 2008Wildlife Reserves Singapore will be hosting a Slow Loris Identification Training Workshop on June 13, 2008 at the Singapore Zoo. Through a combination of presentations and interactive learning, the day long training workshop aims to raise awareness of the slow loris’ endangered status. A total of 27 enforcement officials and Wildlife Reserves Singapore representatives are participating in the training workshop.

Mr Kumar Pillai, Assistant Director of Zoology, Night Safari said: “The workshop will present a golden opportunity for participants to learn more about slow lorises and wildlife conservation. Learning from an expert in the field will help us better educate the public about slow lorises in the future.”

Conducted by acclaimed conservationist Dr Anna Nekaris, of Oxford Brookes University, UK, the programme will address numerous topics related to the slow loris. Reasons behind its endangered status, slow loris taxonomy and morphology, and the identification of various slow loris species as well as its look-alikes are just some of the many topics that will be addressed. Additionally, a glimpse into the workings of the illegal wildlife trade, specifically with regards to common slow loris smuggling methods will be touched on.

Participating officials include those from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), National Parks Board (NParks), NUS Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research as well as representatives from the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.

The training workshop aims to ultimately contribute to a reduction in illegal slow loris trade and the inappropriate release of confiscated slow lorises.

Currently, Night Safari has 18 slow lorises, which can be seen along the Leopard Trail.

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE SEES AN INCREASE IN ANIMALS DONATED TO THE PARKS

637 ANIMALS DONATED IN 2007

Singapore, May 16, 2008 – The total number of animals donated to the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari rose to 460 in 2007, a sharp increase from the 118 animals donated in 2006. Jurong Bird Park received a total of 177 donations in 2007.

The majority of these were either brought in by the police or confiscated by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA). Confiscations from AVA constituted a seven-fold jump from 25 to 175, over the previous year. The animals were mainly reptiles, and included star tortoises, green iguanas, fly-river turtles and Southeast Asian soft-shell turtles.

Donated animals are quarantined upon arrival, to prevent the potential spread of diseases to the rest of the parks’ animal collection. During the quarantine period, the animals are cared for and administered by the parks’ team of vets and keepers. The team inspects the animals for signs of injury and illness and provide them with a diet comprising appropriate food, nutritional supplements and medication, if necessary.

The need to feed and care for donated animals is a responsibility that the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) institutions take in their stride. Designated as Singapore’s official wildlife rescue centres, the Jurong BirdPark, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo are able to provide expert specialist care to a spectrum of exotic animals that enter the facilities. Over the last three decades, WRS parks have cared for and rescued more than 10,000 animals from all over the world, including Singapore.

The expertise to provide this assistance comes with years of experience in handling over 4,000 animals and 7,000 birds on a daily basis through the running of the three parks. WRS enjoy excellent relations and maintain constant communication with zoological institutions all over the world to keep abreast of the latest veterinary know-how. Staff are regularly sent on numerous overseas learning attachments, ensuring we are able to deal with anything from tarantulas to orang utans.

Ms Fanny Lai, CEO of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “We see many cases each year of exotic animals brought in and subsequently abandoned when the host family realises they do not have the necessary skills or resources to care for them. These animals can be extremely difficult to upkeep and I strongly urge members of the public and animal lovers not to buy or raise exotic animals as pets.”

Management of donated animals
WRS’ parks manage these donations and confiscations in a variety of ways. Integration into the parks’ animal collection is one method. For example, a 2-week old slow loris that was donated by the public in August 2007 was hand-raised and is now in Night Safari’s collection. Slow lorises are listed on CITES Appendix I, which means trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

In August 2007, a total of 139 confiscated Southeast Asian soft-shell turtles were brought in. Thirty-two had to be euthanased and 107 housed in Singapore Zoo. Of these, 61 are now surviving and the population have since stabilised. These turtles are on CITES Appendix II, which includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilisation incompatible with their survival. Also listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, these turtles are considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

Native wildlife that were donated to the parks, such as the pangolins, have been microchipped, rehabilitated and released back into the wild. Some exotic animals have also been repatriated to the various countries of origin or to other zoo collections to participate in breeding programmes. For example, 15 star tortoises were sent to Lisbon Zoo for display and breeding purposes in March this year. Another donated slow loris will be making its way to Augsburg Zoo in Germany this June. Two male-female pairs of white-handed gibbons were sent to Canada and Sri Lanka respectively in 2006. Two thousand star tortoises were sent back to India in 2002 and 15 shingle-back skinks, a green tree python and a crocodile skink were sent to Detroit Zoo for re-homing and breeding purposes.

WRS would like to urge the public not to import or keep exotic animals as pets. To reiterate, under The Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act (ESA) it is an offence to import and export any endangered species without a permit from AVA. It is also an offence to possess, sell, offer or expose for sale, or display to the public any of these species, if it has been illegally imported. Any person or company caught violating the ESA is liable to be prosecuted in Court and fined up to a maximum of S$50,000 for each animal or plant, and/or imprisoned for a term up to 2 years.