WRS INVITES SINGAPOREANS TO NAME THE GIANT PANDAS

Singapore, 15 June 2010Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) and CapitaLand have launched a nation-wide competition today to name the pair of Giant Pandas which will arrive in Singapore in 2011.

The pair of male and female pandas will be on loan to WRS from the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) as part of a 10-year joint collaboration to promote the conservation of Giant Pandas and kick-start a breeding research programme. WRS is the parent company of Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming River Safari, which will be home to the pandas. CapitaLand, one of Asia’s largest real estate companies, is the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the Giant Panda collaborative programme.

From now till 31 August 2010, members of the public can submit their entries for the two new furry black and white residents at www.pandas.com.sg. The names must be symbolic in meaning, reflect the close relationship between Singapore and China, and be easy to pronounce. Suggested names given for both male and female Giant Pandas must be in Chinese, with the option of an English, Malay or Tamil translation. Each entry comes with a participation fee of SGD $2, which will be donated in full to the Giant Panda Conservation Fund for the pandas’ upkeep.

The winning pair of names, to be announced in October 2010, will be picked by a panel of judges comprising representatives from the Singapore Tourism Board, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Singapore, WRS and CapitaLand. The winner will receive a complimentary three-night stay at any Ascott serviced residence worldwide, an exclusive preview of the Giant Panda exhibit when it opens in 2012 and other attractive prizes.

The River Safari, Asia’s first river-themed park and WRS’ fourth and latest nature attraction, will be home to the two Giant Pandas. Giant Pandas are the rarest members of the bear family and are considered one of the world’s most endangered animals. About 1,600 Giant Pandas are estimated to be left in the wild, and to ensure the existence of these endearing creatures, some 200 Giant Pandas have been placed in captive breeding programmes in wildlife parks across the world.

“The arrival of the Giant Pandas is a milestone for WRS and Singapore. We call upon the local community to welcome these gentle creatures by taking part in a nation-wide search for their names, to demonstrate our commitment to wildlife conservation and to celebrate the close ties between Singapore and China,” said Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Mr Liew Mun Leong, President and CEO of CapitaLand Group, said, “The Giant Panda collaborative programme will raise cultural exchange and understanding between Singapore and China and further strengthen the strong relationship between the two countries. It is against this backdrop that CapitaLand, as an active social investor in Singapore and China, is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the programme. This naming contest for the two Giant Pandas will raise conservation awareness of the Singapore public as we get ready to welcome these Chinese national treasures to Singapore next year.”

For more information, please refer to www.pandas.com.sg.

Can you think of a name for our Giant pandas?

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE MARKS NEW CHAPTER OF GROWTH WITH LAUNCH OF RIVER SAFARI

GROUND-BREAKING CEREMONY FOR ASIA’S FIRST RIVER-THEMED WILDLIFE PARK TO BE HELD TODAY

Singapore, 21 May 2010Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), the parent company of award-winning attractions Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming River Safari, celebrates a significant milestone today with the ground-breaking of Asia’s first river-themed wildlife park.

River Safari, which will be the world’s largest repository of fresh water animals and many critically endangered animals like the giant panda, marks a new chapter of growth for the 10-year-old company, bringing it closer to its vision of being the foremost wildlife institution in the world.

WRS’ three attractions – Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo – attracted 3.6 million visitors in 2009, and the numbers have been growing every year. These parks rank among the best leisure destinations in Singapore and are well-known for their successful captive breeding programmes for endangered species such as the Bali mynah, Asian elephant and orang utan.

“We aim to offer the best wildlife experience in Asia and part of this effort is the expansion of our unique product offerings,” said Ms Claire Chiang, WRS’ Chair. “Being a first in Asia, River Safari will not only bring the rich biodiversity of the freshwater systems around the world right to our doorstep, it will be home to many endangered and threatened species, which we hope to preserve through our captive breeding programmes.”

River Safari is expected to draw at least 820,000 visitors annually. The 12-hectare park located between the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari in Mandai, is scheduled to open in the first half of 2012, and will house one of the world’s largest collections of freshwater aquatic animals, with more than 300 plant species, 500 animal species and over 5,000 individual animal specimens.

Comprising boat rides and displays of freshwater habitats of the famous rivers of the world like the Mississippi, Congo, Nile, Ganges, Murray, Mekong and Yangtze, the River Safari will provide a close-up, multi-sensory experience for visitors. For example, the indigenous wildlife at the Amazon River will be showcased at the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit, which will be home to deadly river creatures like the anaconda and electric eel, as well as the elusive giant river otter, one of the most endangered animals in South America.

One of the star attractions – the giant pandas – will live in a specially designed, climate-controlled exhibit along the “Yangtze River”. Different species of bamboo, which is the panda’s staple diet, will be planted throughout this 1,600 sqm landscaped enclosure. Sheba and Inuka, the Singapore Zoo’s pair of mother-and-son polar bears, will also have a new home at River Safari’s Frozen Tundra, which comprises over 1,400 sqm of living space that will mirror conditions in the Arctic. Other animals like the tanuki, a raccoon dog native to Japan, will join the polar bears at this new exhibit, which will feature permafrost, frozen caves, and icy pools of water.

“Biodiversity in freshwater habitats is disappearing at a faster rate than marine and forest environments. By bringing visitors up close to the fascinating underwater animals and terrestrial animals that live in such ecosystems, we aim to highlight how our survival is dependent on their well-being,” said Ms Fanny Lai, WRS’ Group CEO. “We expect people to be awed by many of these strange and interesting fresh water creatures including the ‘giants’ of river habitats. These include the giant catfish and the giant freshwater stingray from Mekong river, giant river otters from Amazon river; and not forgetting the giant pandas from China. All of these charismatic animals are disappearing at an alarming rate due to habitat destruction.

The ground-breaking ceremony this morning will be held at one of the actual development sites fronting the reservoir and will be graced by Mr S Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and Education.