BIG AND BEAUTIFUL BUNDLE BOUNDS INTO SINGAPORE ZOO

BABY WHITE RHINOCEROS IS 13TH TO BE BORN HERE

SINGAPORE, 11 Jul 2012 — Singapore Zoo recently celebrated the birth of its 13th white rhino, an adorable and curious youngster named Jumaane.

Jumaane, which means “born on Tuesday”, arrived on 10 April this year, which of course, is a Tuesday. Weighing approximately 70kg at birth, he is undoubtedly one of the biggest bundles of joy Singapore Zoo has welcomed to date.

Jumaane (front) was born on 10 April 2012, weighing a hefty 70kg. At birth, rhino calves can weigh between 40-70kg. Over the years, he will grow to an estimated male adult weight of 2,300kg.

Baby Jumaane can be seen exploring or rolling around in the mud in his spacious exhibit at the Wild Africa region of the Zoo. His mother, Shova is always close by though, keeping a watchful eye on her precious baby.

Prolific yet protective: 28-year old Shova stays close by while her baby finds his footing around their exhibit. Jumaane is Shova’s seventh calf.
Baby Jumaane excitedly enjoys exploring his exhibit, which is landscaped to resemble the white rhino’s African habitat.

Crash course: Jumaane is already building bonds with the other rhino residents. Here, he is sharing a nosey moment with 2-year old female Kito, who was also born in Singapore Zoo [Note: A group of rhinos is known as ‘a crash of rhinos’]
White rhinos are considered near threatened in the wild on the IUCN’s* Red List of Threatened species. Together with the Indian rhino, it is the largest species of land mammal after the elephant. They are hunted for their horns, which some believe as having medicinal properties. In fact, the horns are actually made of keratin, the same type of protein that makes up hair and fingernails, and there has been no scientific evidence to suggest that they are a cure for anything.

Singapore Zoo currently has eight of these majestic creatures in its collection, and boasts the most number of white rhinos bred in a single zoo in Southeast Asia. Of the 13 babies born here, some have been sent to Indonesia, Australia, Thailand and Korea as part of the Zoo’s ex-situ conservation efforts through its worldwide exchange programme.

Meet the white rhinos during their daily 1.15pm feeding session—the first ever in Asia—and experience an up close and personal encounter with these giants.

*International Union for the Conservation of Nature
PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

NIGHT SAFARI CELEBRATES BIRTH OF RARE CLOUDED LEOPARDS

– NOTORIOUSLY DIFFICULT TO BREED, THREE NEW CLOUDED LEOPARDS ARE BORN A YEAR AFTER THE PARK’S FIRST SUCCESSFUL CLOUDED LEOPARD BIRTH.

The three clouded leopard cubs are healthy and active.
Cubs are seen climbing on branches.

Singapore, 12 June 2012 – Barely a year since its first successful birth of clouded leopards, Night Safari recently welcomed another litter of clouded leopard cubs, one of the world’s rarest and secretive wild cat species. The three cubs that arrived on 14 April 2012 were born to parents Tawan and Wandee, who had their first litter in May last year.

Named for the cloud-like patterns of their coats which help them disappear into the shadows of the forest, clouded leopards are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity. These cats often exhibit very aggressive courtship behaviours which sometimes results in the death of the female during mating. It is estimated that less than 20% of captive clouded leopards have been successful at reproducing because the males tend to kill their females during mating.

This second birth is a result of a planned breeding program, which saw the introduction of Tawan and Wandee at an early age to promote bonding and minimise aggression. The mating pair arrived from Thailand’s Khao Kheow Open Zoo three years ago.

“We are very pleased that our efforts have paid off once again with the birth of this second litter. For a species of big cat facing many threats, every little kitten counts. We hope that this birth will go towards sustaining and increasing the population of clouded leopards both in captivity and in the wild,” said Mr. Subash Chandran, Assistant Director, Zoology, Night Safari.

Clouded leopards are the smallest of the big cats and their highly elusive nature, coupled with nocturnal lifestyle, mean that little is known about their population size and behaviour in the wild as they are very rarely seen. Listed as a vulnerable species by IUCN*, it is estimated that there are fewer than 10,000 individuals left in the wild. Clouded leopards are found primarily in lowland tropical rainforest habitats throughout Southeast Asia, Nepal and southern China. It is believed to be extinct in Taiwan. Population numbers are continuing to decline throughout their natural range due to habitat loss and poaching.

Well adapted to forest life, the clouded leopard has an exceptionally long tail – as long as its body – for balancing on trees. Their flexible ankles allow them to run down trees headfirst. Clouded leopards also have the longest canines of any feline, in proportion to their body size.

Night Safari displays clouded leopards at the Leopard Trail, one of the four walking trails in the park.

Mother Wandee watches over her cubs as they explore the surroundings.
A young clouded leopard

*International Union for Conservation of Nature

KITTY CATS GALORE AT NIGHT SAFARI

DOUBLE SURPRISE AS WORLD’S FIRST SAFARI PARK FOR NOCTURNAL ANIMALS WELCOMES BIRTH OF FISHING CATS AND BEARCATS

A pair of fishing cat kittens (left) and a pair of bearcat cubs (right) PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

24 April 2012 – The world’s first Night Safari recently celebrated the birth of a pair of fishing cats and bearcats. The fishing cats were born on January 13 while the bearcat litter joined approximately two weeks later, on January 26.

The young fishing cats, one male and one female, are currently being hand-raised to increase the kittens’ chances of survival, as their four-year-old mother is relatively inexperienced. At three-months-old, the kittens weigh approximately 3kg and are growing strong and healthy.

The two other cubs – both currently weighing 2.5kg – are binturongs, also known as bearcats. Over the years, the park has successfully bred 60 bearcats. This secretive animal has a face like a cat’s and a body like a bear’s. Despite its name, the bearcat is neither a bear nor a cat. It is actually a member of the civet family. Found primarily on treetops in the rainforest of south and southeast Asia, bearcats have a mixed diet of fruits, leaves, birds, carrion, fish and eggs.

Due to habitat destruction, the numbers of fishing cats and bearcats are declining in the wild. In addition to habitat loss, over-exploitation of local fish stocks threatens the survival of fishing cats. Bearcats are captured for the pet trade, and their skins and body parts are traded for traditional medicine in some Asian countries. Fishing cats are listed as endangered on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species while bearcats are classified as vulnerable.

Night Safari displays the bearcats and fishing cats in the Fishing Cat Trail.

Being one of the few cats that love water, fishing cats eat primarily fish but will also prey on crustaceans, frogs and snakes. The cat attracts fish by lightly tapping the water's surface with its paw, mimicking insect movements. It then dives into the water to catch the fish.
A curious fishing cat kitten explores its area. Fishing cats are commonly found near densely vegetated areas near the marshes, mangrove swamps and rivers of Asia.
In Malay, the bearcat is also known as “musang manis” – the word “manis” means sweet and this relates to the animal’s pleasant scent, which is said to smell like pandan leaves or popcorn. The bearcat is actually a civet, which is characterised by an elongated body and anal scent glands that produce secretions for scent marking.
A bearcat cub demonstrates its ability to hang upside down with its long, prehensile tail to grip on the tree branch. The tail is also equipped with a leathery patch at the end for extra grip.

SINGAPORE ZOO’S GRANDMA MANATEE GIVES BIRTH TO TWINS

– EVA THE CARIBBEAN MANATEE IS PROUD MOTHER OF SEVEN AND GRANDMOTHER OR TWO
– BABY, NINTH TO BE BORN HERE, JOINS LARGEST COLLECTION OF MANATEES AMONG ISIS* INSTITUTIONS

The newborn, christened Valentine, can already be seen comfortably gliding the waters of the Caribbean manatee exhibit in Singapore Zoo. PHOTO CREDITS: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Singapore, 3 April 2012Singapore Zoo celebrated the latest addition to the family on 13 February 2012 when one of our grand dames, Eva the 20-year-old Caribbean or West Indian manatee, gave birth to male twins.

Unfortunately only one of her offspring survived. The other died soon after birth and was found to have a heart defect. Twin births are extremely rare for manatees, which are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN# Red List of Threatened Species

Female manatees reach sexual maturity as young as three years, and typically give birth to a single calf every two years, after a gestation of 12 months. It takes a further 12-18 months to wean the calf. With seven children and two grandchildren to her name, Eva is truly a star. Singapore Zoo now boasts nine of these fascinating creatures, the largest collection among the world’s ISIS institutions.

Valentine, the Caribbean manatee poses next to a bigger family member. PHOTO CREDITS: Wildlife Reserves Singapore
Although manatee babies seldom stray from their mothers for the first one to two years of their lives, Valentine is comfortable exploring the safe haven of his habitat by himself. PHOTO CREDITS: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

The newborn has been christened Valentine, and can already be seen independently exploring the pool although calves usually do not stray from their mothers for the first one to two years of their lives. The last manatee birth was in 2010, a male named Junior that is often seen playing with his baby brother.

“This birth represents another feather in our conservation cap and is the result of the hard work of our keepers and vets, who ensure the highest standard of husbandry and care for all our animals. Although we mourn the loss of his twin, we hope this young one will play an important role in the global captive breeding programme for manatees in years to come,” said Alagappasamy Chellaiyah, Assistant Director, Zoology, Singapore Zoo.

The manatee is a fully aquatic marine mammal that can grow up to four metres and weigh 590kg. Although resembling a cross between a hippopotamus and a seal, it is actually most closely related to the elephant. Manatees spend six to eight hours a day grazing aquatic plants, which is why they are also known as sea cows. Adults can consume 50-100kg a day (equivalent to 10-15 per cent of their body weight).

West Indian manatees like the ones in the Zoo inhabit the shallow, marshy coastal areas and rivers of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Though bulky in size, they are able to hit up to 30 km/h in short bursts of swimming.

In the wild, manatees are particularly threatened by human activity due to dense coastal development in their habitats, which has led to the entry of propeller-driven boats and ships. These propellers can scar, maim, or even kill manatees. Those that are not killed instantly may die of infections from their wounds. Scientists however, have found that the situation can be improved when boats in the area have higher frequencies that will alert the manatees to danger and allow them to swim away. Other human-related threats include entrapment in floodgates, canal locks and fishing lines.

Guests to Singapore Zoo can already see the baby in its habitat, and also come up close to these amiable animals during the daily feeding session at 1.30pm.

*ISIS: International Species Information System
#IUCN: International Union for the Conservation of Nature