JURONG BIRD PARK, NIGHT SAFARI, RIVER SAFARI AND SINGAPORE ZOO REPORT OVER 700 ANIMAL BIRTHS AND HATCHINGS IN 2015

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Over a third of the babies are native or Southeast Asian species, affirming the parks’ bid to conserve biodiversity in Singapore and Southeast Asia

WRS SZ - Chomel, a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan, gave birth to a male on 16 September 2015. Orangutans are Singapore Zoo’s flagship species - 2

Over 700 animal babies were born or hatched in Wildlife Reserves Singapore parks in 2015. Chomel, a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan, gave birth on 16 September 2015. The male baby is Chomel’s second offspring—her first son, Bino, is now five years old. Young orangutans will remain with their mother for several years until they learn the necessary skills to live independently. Orangutans are Singapore Zoo’s flagship species. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Singapore, 12 January 2016 – More than 700 furry, feathery and scaly young across 150 species were born or hatched in Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari, and Singapore Zoo in 2015. Among them, over 40 species are listed as threatened under the *IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy CEO and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “Each of these births and hatchings is significant and is part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s efforts to conserve threatened wildlife, particularly in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Breeding under human care allows us to maintain sustainable populations without having to collect from the wild, and our living collection serves to inspire positive actions in people to conserve our environment and biodiversity.”

Among the most exciting births of the year is that of a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan born on 16 September 2015. The primate is the great-grandson of Singapore Zoo’s late icon, Ah Meng. To date, over 40 orangutans have been born in Singapore Zoo. To facilitate the breeding of these charismatic apes and ensure genetic diversity, orangutans born in the park have been sent to zoological institutions in Malaysia, India, Vietnam, Japan, Australia and New Zealand as part of a worldwide exchange programme.

WRS SZ - Ayana, which means blossoming beauty, is Singapore Zoo’s latest pygmy hippopotamus addition. She was born on 11 April 2015

Ayana, which means blossoming beauty, is Singapore Zoo’s latest pygmy hippopotamus addition. She was born on 11 April 2015 and is the 11th offspring of parents Bubu and Minah. 23 pygmy hippopotamuses have been born in Singapore Zoo in the past 42 years. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

2015 also saw the births of critically endangered cotton-top tamarins, a species of tiny primates, and endangered Southern white rhinoceros and pygmy hippopotamus in Singapore Zoo. The park has an exceptionally impressive track record with all three species, welcoming over 80 cotton-top tamarins, 16 Southern white rhinoceroses and 23 pygmy hippopotamuses in the past 42 years.

WRS RS - River Safari saw two new additions of emperor tamarins – tiny primates with outstanding “facial hair”

River Safari saw two new additions of emperor tamarins – tiny primates with outstanding “facial hair”. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

River Safari welcomed another manatee calf in October, bringing the park’s total herd to 13 individuals. The park also saw the hatchings of unusual amphibians like the fire-bellied newt, a species of small newt native to China, and the births of capybara, super-sized rodents native to South America.

Animal births in Night Safari were particularly exciting as many of the species are from Singapore or Southeast Asia, like Malayan sambar deer, Malayan bearded pig, binturong, hog badger, and the endangered Burmese brow-antlered deer.

Moving beyond the region, Night Safari saw three births of Indian crested porcupines in two years. The park also welcomed two pups to its cackle of spotted hyenas, bringing the park’s total to 11.

WRS NS - Night Safari’s cackle of spotted hyenas added two more to their family in October. Born fully black, the pups slowly develop spots characteristic of the species within months of birth

Night Safari’s cackle of spotted hyenas added two more to their family in October. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Jurong Bird Park continues to be actively involved in the breeding of threatened species, with the hatchings of two Bali mynahs and eight Luzon bleeding-heart doves. The park works closely with Avilon Zoo and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the Philippines and Begawan Foundation in Bali, Indonesia, to increase the off-site numbers of these precious birds. The Bali mynah additions in 2015 are particularly special as it is the first time these chicks are hand-raised. All progenies will eventually be sent back to their respective home countries to be released into the wild.

Also joining the park’s avian collection is the lesser bird-of-paradise, the first successful hatching in over a decade. These birds, prized for their beautiful plumage, are notoriously hard to breed in captivity because of their unique courtship rituals prior to mating.

Dr Cheng added, “Captive breeding programmes play an important role in conserving threatened animal species whose numbers are declining as a result of activities like habitat destruction and poaching.  Some of them can be valuable assurance colonies against extinction in the wild, with the aim of ultimate release back to nature, while all of them are ambassadors representing their relatives in the wild.”

*International Union for Conservation of Nature

SAFARI ZOO RUN 2016 TO MARK DEBUT OF NEW AH MENG AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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New icon is closely related to Singapore Zoo’s well-known orangutan; Eighth instalment of popular run will span weekend of 27 and 28 February 2016

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Safari Zoo Run 2016 participants will be able to catch a glimpse of the new Ah Meng when they take part in this year’s instalment of the wildly popular run on 27 and 28 February. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 8 January 2016 – A new queen of the wild will look upon the human race at Safari Zoo Run 2016 in Singapore Zoo and reign as the much-awaited animal icon.

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Ah Meng, Singapore Zoo’s beloved Sumatran orangutan who passed away in February 2008, left behind six descendants, one of whom has been identified as the new Singapore Zoo icon. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

The passing of Ah Meng, Singapore Zoo’s famous matriarch and one of Singapore’s most adored personalities, in 2008 left a void in the hearts of many animal lovers and regular zoo visitors. All orangutans in Singapore are commonly referred to as “Ah Meng”. In her memory, the Safari Zoo Run was conceived in 2009.

Ahead of the Safari Zoo Run 2016, Singapore Zoo has identified the orangutan that reign and continue Ah Meng’s legacy.

The upcoming icon is said to share some similarities with her famous predecessor, like a penchant for durians, a big heart for her family, and endearing eyes.  More nuggets about her personality will be shared when the date for Safari Zoo Run draws near.

Safari Zoo Run, Singapore’s wildest race, returns with competitive and family-oriented runs during the weekend of 27 and 28 February 2016. Avid runners can look forward to 10km and 5.5km races while families looking to bond over a healthy walk amidst nature can enjoy a more leisurely pace with the 5.5km or 2.5km family dashes.

The races will transport runners past animal exhibits through scenic paths lined by greenery in Night Safari and Singapore Zoo. A host of carnival festivities awaits family participants after their race, with cheeky animal mascots, educational show and tell sessions, and animal photography opportunities.

The run aims to encourage family bonding and raise awareness on wildlife conservation, with a part of the proceeds going towards aiding the conservation efforts of Singapore Zoo and Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Each participant will receive exclusive Safari Zoo Run apparel and other attractive goodies including Singapore Zoo and River Safari admission, discount vouchers to Jurong Bird Park and Night Safari, and exclusive F&B and retail offers. In addition, all runners will walk away with an exclusive animal-motif finisher medal.

Registration closes on 31 January 2016. For more information, log on to http://www.safarizoo.run.

Details at a glance
Dates and times:
Safari Zoo 10km Challenge / 5.5km Family Run
27 February 2015 (Saturday)
Races    :  7.30am – 12.00pm

Safari Zoo 5km Challenge / 2.5km Kids Dash / 2.5km Family Dash
28 February 2015 (Sunday)
Races    : 7.30am – 12.00pm

Venue:    Night Safari and Singapore Zoo
80 Mandai Lake Road
Singapore 729826

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE HOSTS 23RD SOUTH EAST ASIAN ZOOS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE

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Zoo experts from 18 countries unite to work towards
sustainable captive population of Southeast Asian species

SINGAPORE, 2 November 2015 – Over 200 specialists from the region’s zoos and wildlife institutions have come together this week for the 23rd South East Asian Zoos Association (SEAZA) conference to achieve a common goal of a sustainable captive population of Southeast Asian species. Hosted by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), the four-day conference was officiated this morning by Mr S Dhanabalan, Chairman, Mandai Safari Park Holdings Pte Ltd, the holding company of WRS.

Held from 1 to 4 November, the conference calls for a coordinated approach in animal management to ensure desirable outcomes for species requiring conservation attention. It brings together over 200 zoo professionals from 18 countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Experts will discuss conservation action plans for sustainable populations, breeding strategies, best practices in healthcare, animal welfare and ethics as well as conservation efforts for threatened species.

Dr Phan Viet Lam, President of SEAZA, said: “This conference is another milestone for SEAZA in the conservation and management of sustainable populations in Southeast Asia. Zoos in this region have an important role in this context and we hope to develop strategic action plans for species conservation and visitor education.”

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, WRS and Vice President of SEAZA said: “The annual SEAZA conference is a significant event in the calendar for zoos in our region and we are proud to be the host this year. It brings together zoo and aquarium professionals from Southeast Asia and beyond to share best practices and ideas in achieving our common missions of wildlife conservation and education.”

One of the primary objectives of the conference is to identify key Southeast Asian species for conservation and regional studbook development—a first in the region. The studbook tracks the relatedness of animals in zoo collections and allow managers to coordinate and regulate breeding programmes to achieve long-term genetic and demographic sustainability.

In addition, delegates will share findings and experiences, such as acupuncture in birds and avian surrogacy in hatchlings from WRS’ aviculturists. The conference will be complemented by workshops in Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo, where delegates will go behind the scenes for practical hands-on sessions to learn more about the incubation of bird eggs and creating a master plan for conservation education.

In recent years, WRS has organised various conferences and workshops for capacity building and conservation strategy planning, such as the International Congress on Zookeeping and the recent Songbird Crisis Summit.

BIRTHDAY SUSPENSE FOR GIANT PANDAS AT RIVER SAFARI

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Giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia celebrate birthdays and third anniversary in Singapore; Changes in Jia Jia’s hormones and behaviours keep caretakers on toes over possible pregnancy

Female panda Jia Jia, who was late for her birthday party, turns seven today. She enjoyed a colourful birthday cake made of ice, bamboo, apples and carrots at River Safari’s Panda Party. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Female panda Jia Jia, who was late for her birthday party, turns seven today. She enjoyed a colourful birthday cake made of ice, bamboo, apples and carrots at River Safari’s Panda Party. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

SINGAPORE, 3 September 2015 – As she quietly celebrated her 7th birthday this morning, River Safari’s female panda Jia Jia continues to keep a little secret which has been keeping vets and keepers on their toes over changes in her behaviours.

In the past two months, panda caretakers have been playing a guessing game on whether the bear is pregnant or going through pseudopregnancy, a common state in which pandas exhibit hormonal and behavioural changes that indicate they are pregnant when they are not.

After the panda underwent artificial insemination on 18 April, caretakers, including a panda specialist from China, have been closely monitoring her behaviours and hormone levels, watching for signs of pregnancy. Since July, Jia Jia has been eating less bamboo, sleeping more, spending more time in her den and her hormone levels are increasing – all signs consistent with pregnancy or pseudopregnancy. Giant pandas commonly display pseudopregnancies and experts worldwide are often not able to determine pandas’ pregnancy status until a late stage.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “Under the watchful eyes of our vets and keepers, both Kai Kai and Jia Jia continue to develop well in their Singapore home. Both reached sexual maturity for the first time this year and we are now tracking Jia Jia closely. We hope the data and knowledge gathered from the study of Kai Kai and Jia Jia will add to the global understanding of this endangered species, and contribute to the conservation of giant pandas.”

Vets and keepers have been conducting weekly ultrasound scans to detect a foetus but the results have been inconclusive. Panda caretakers could not detect any foetus based on a recent ultrasound scan on 31 August. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Vets and keepers have been conducting weekly ultrasound scans to detect a foetus but the results have been inconclusive. Panda caretakers could not detect any foetus based on a recent ultrasound scan on 31 August.
PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Since 23 July, vets and keepers have been conducting weekly ultrasound scans in an attempt to detect a foetus but the results have been inconclusive. The gestation period for a giant panda is typically five months, and the foetus only starts to develop a few weeks before birth.

Dr Serena Oh, Assistant Director of Veterinary Services, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “Her behaviours are in line with a rise in progesterone but it is not easy to confirm her pregnancy because the gestation period varies for each panda. Giant pandas have delayed implantation and it is difficult to see the small foetus during ultrasound scans. We can only definitively conclude she is not pregnant once her hormone levels return to normal and she has not delivered, but for now, it is still a guessing game.”

Classified as “endangered” with only 1,600 left in the wild, giant pandas are notoriously difficult to breed. River Safari’s pandas were brought together to mate in April, after vets and keepers had successfully triggered breeding behaviours through controlled lighting and temperature in Giant Panda Forest. As the mating session appeared unsuccessful, Jia Jia was artificially inseminated.

Vets and keepers will continue monitoring Jia Jia’s hormone levels and conduct ultrasound scans. The public can follow Jia Jia’s development via Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s Twitter account (@tweetWRS) with the hashtag #SGPanda.

Jia Jia’s mate, Kai Kai, was also presented with a cake today where he enjoyed the birthday treat in the company of 30 pre-school kids from PCF Zhenghua. The male panda will turn eight on 14 September.

The pandas’ birthdays will be marked with a Panda Party Week from 5 to 13 September, where both bears will receive daily treats as a form of enrichment. In addition, visitors can look forward to interactive booths to learn more about giant pandas, and get hands-on with arts and crafts. Visitors can also enjoy one-for-one promotions on exclusive panda merchandise, as well as panda-licious treats. To mark the pandas’ coming of age, children born in 2007 and 2008 enter River Safari for free in September. Free admission is extended to Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term visit pass holders.

INDIGENOUS ANIMALS FEATURED IN “BIODIVERSITY IS US” PROJECT

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WRS creates localised version of global biodiversity campaign; Sunda pangolin, oriental pied hornbill among animals featured

Wildlife Reserves Singapore head vet Dr Serena Oh gives her daughter Megan a piggy back ride, much like how mother pangolins cart their young around, in the local rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project with a series of photos that depicts how humans and animals are closely connected. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Wildlife Reserves Singapore head vet Dr Serena Oh gives her daughter Megan a piggy back ride, much like how mother pangolins cart their young around, in the local rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project with a series of photos that depicts how humans and animals are closely connected. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 27 June 2015 — Indigenous animals that live in the tropical rainforests, mangroves or coral ecosystems of Singapore take center stage in Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project, with a series of photos that depicts how humans and animals are closely connected.

Featuring Singapore’s fauna like the critically endangered Sunda pangolin, oriental-pied hornbill, tokay gecko, crab-eating macaques and knobbly sea stars, the project serves to share knowledge of the environment and the amazing array of life on our planet, and the simple actions that individuals can do to protect it.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation & Research Manager Jessica Lee displays how humans and oriental pied hornbills are closely connected in the local rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project, which serves to share knowledge of the environment and the amazing array of life on our planet, and the simple actions individuals can do to protect it. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation & Research Manager Jessica Lee displays how humans and oriental pied hornbills are closely connected in the local rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project, which serves to share knowledge of the environment and the amazing array of life on our planet, and the simple actions individuals can do to protect it. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Visitors to the Festival of Biodiversity on 27 and 28 June at Vivocity can visit the Wildlife Reserves Singapore booth to learn more about Biodiversity is Us, and have their pictures taken for their own Biodiversity is Us e-poster. The public can also download the free Biodiversity is Us app to learn about 400 animal species, take part in games and quizzes, build animal checklists and more.

Singapore Zoo’s Deputy Head reptile keeper Jose Pedro Cairos displays how humans and tokay geckos are closely connected in the local rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project, which serves to share knowledge of the environment and the amazing array of life on our planet, and the simple actions individuals can do to protect it. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore Zoo’s Deputy Head reptile keeper Jose Pedro Cairos displays how humans and tokay geckos are closely connected in the local rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project, which serves to share knowledge of the environment and the amazing array of life on our planet, and the simple actions individuals can do to protect it. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Biodiversity is Us is initiated by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and supports the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011–2020 by providing tools for raising awareness about biodiversity.

HAND-RAISED BABY MANATEE CANOLA WINS HEARTS AT RIVER SAFARI

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Aquarists provide round-the-clock care for abandoned calf Canola and re-introduce her to manatee family

Neglected by her mother after birth, manatee calf Canola (foreground) can now be found swimming with the rest of the manatee herd at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit after receiving round-the-clock care and successful reintroduction by her human caregivers. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Neglected by her mother after birth, manatee calf Canola (foreground) can now be found swimming with the rest of the manatee herd at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit after receiving round-the-clock care and successful reintroduction by her human caregivers. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 8 April 2015 – The 33kg abandoned calf in River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest had to be watched 24 hours for the first few days, fed every two to three hours during the first three months, and re-introduced gradually to its family – a Herculean task that the team of aquarists dived into to give the baby, named Canola, a fighting chance to live.

Born on 6 August last year, Canola is the offspring of the Flooded Forest’s largest manatee – 23-year-old Eva which measures 3.5m and weighs more than 1,100kg. For unknown reasons, Eva abandoned her latest calf despite having successfully raised eight offspring in the past. Eva is also a proud grandmother of two.

To ensure that animals in River Safari retain their parental behaviours, zoologists strive to have the parents raise their offspring. In the case of Canola, there was no other option but to have aquarists hand-raise the newborn.

Deputy Head Aquarist Keith So bottle-feeds manatee calf Canola with a special milk formula infused with canola oil when she was abandoned by her mother after birth at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Deputy Head Aquarist Keith So bottle-feeds manatee calf Canola with a special milk formula infused with canola oil when she was abandoned by her mother after birth at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Mr Wah Yap Hon, Curator, Zoology, River Safari, said: “Hand-raised animals tend to imprint on their human caregivers. The babies will attach themselves to, and learn certain behaviours from their human foster parents, and may not have a chance to bond with their family or other members of their species. In the case of Eva and Canola, we stepped in as a last resort to ensure the survival of this precious baby.”

Similar to caring for a human baby, hand-raising an animal baby requires planning and hard work. For Canola, it involved bottle-feeding every two to three hours from 8am to 10pm daily for the first three months. 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. To ensure Canola’s safety, the aquarists moved her to a shallow holding pool to minimise the risk of other manatees crowding her and making it challenging for her to rise to the water’s surface to breathe.

Neglected by her mother after birth, manatee calf Canola undergoes a weekly weigh-in at a holding pool in River Safari where aquarists also measure her body length to monitor her growth. Canola’s last recorded weight was a healthy 74kg. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Neglected by her mother after birth, manatee calf Canola undergoes a weekly weigh-in at a holding pool in River Safari where aquarists also measure her body length to monitor her growth. Canola’s last recorded weight was a healthy 74kg. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

“Under the doting care and great team effort of her human caregivers, Canola steadily gained weight and hit all the important developmental milestones of a healthy calf. By December, Canola started swimming with the rest of the herd in the main aquarium, forming close bonds with her species,” said Wah.

Deputy Head Aquarist Keith So conducts a physical check on manatee calf Canola at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest, the world’s largest freshwater aquarium. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Deputy Head Aquarist Keith So conducts a physical check on manatee calf Canola at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest, the world’s largest freshwater aquarium. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Since February, Canola’s caregivers have gradually cut down on her milk intake to four feedings a day to accommodate her increasing diet of vegetables. Manatees spend six to eight hours a day grazing on aquatic plants, which is why they are also known as sea cows. Adults typically consume 50-100kg of vegetation a day, equivalent to 10-15 percent of their body weight.

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, River Safari hopes to contribute to the population of threatened freshwater species such as the manatee. Canola’s birth is an important one as it contributes to the captive populations of manatees in zoological institutions.

Manatee calf Canola (left), which has been melting the hearts of River Safari’s aquarists since August last year, is set to charm visitors now that she is exploring the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit together with the manatee herd. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Manatee calf Canola (left), which has been melting the hearts of River Safari’s aquarists since August last year, is set to charm visitors now that she is exploring the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit together with the manatee herd. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

River Safari’s manatee herd of 12 comprises five males and seven females, making it one of the largest collections of manatees among zoological institutions. These slow-moving mammals can be found swimming gracefully amongst giant trees alongside other aquatic species, such as the arapaima and red-tailed catfish, in the world’s largest freshwater aquarium at the Amazon Flooded Forest.

* IUCN: International Union for the Conservation of Nature

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

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