WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE PRESENTS WORLD’S RAREST BABIES TO MARK WORLD ANIMAL DAY 2014

Critically endangered Sunda pangolin, cotton-top tamarin and southern river terrapin
among animal births this year; giant river otters produce two babies.

Radin, Night Safari’s third and newest Sunda pangolin baby, rests in the protective clutch of his mother Nita. Found throughout primary and secondary forests of Southeast Asia, Sunda pangolins, also known as Malayan pangolins, are critically endangered as populations in the wild are experiencing rapid decline. Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore
Radin, Night Safari’s third and newest Sunda pangolin baby, rests in the protective clutch of his mother Nita. Found throughout primary and secondary forests of Southeast Asia, Sunda pangolins, also known as Malayan pangolins, are critically endangered as populations in the wild are experiencing rapid decline.
Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Singapore, 2 October 2014 – To mark World Animal Day this year, Wildlife Reserves Singapore announced the arrival of some of the world’s rarest babies, among them the critically endangered Sunda pangolin that is native to Singapore.

Between January and August 2014, over 400 animal babies were born or hatched in Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo. Nearly one in four babies belongs to animals listed as ‘threatened’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species* and these include the Bali mynah, Javan langur, proboscis monkey and giant anteater.

The birth of a critically endangered Sunda pangolin in Night Safari is one of the most iconic births for WRS as the species is native to Singapore and is the logo for the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund. Night Safari is the world’s first zoological institution to house the elusive, solitary, nocturnal creature which in recent years has been driven closer to extinction by illegal animal trafficking, habitat loss and being hunted for their meat and scales at an unsustainable level. This is the third successful birth of a Sunda pangolin in WRS since 2011.

Another exciting development comes from the giant river otters at River Safari which displays this rare species for the first time in Asia. While their first pup in 2013 did not survive, the giant otters are now proud parents of two new pups. Parents Carlos and Carmen have become more experienced in raising their young and have started teaching the pups how to swim.

Giant river otter Carmen brings her pups for a swimming lesson at River Safari – the first zoological institution in Asia to display this endangered species. Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore
Giant river otter Carmen brings her pups for a swimming lesson at River Safari – the first zoological institution in Asia to display this endangered species.
Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Over at Jurong Bird Park, a Goliath palm cockatoo is successfully bred for the first time. Goliath palm cockatoos have one of the lowest hand-rearing success rates among the parrot species due to their specialised diet. The park also successfully bred eight critically endangered Bali mynahs. Conservation efforts for the species intensified in 2010 – the year which marked the start of a partnership with Indonesia’s Begawan Foundation. Bred specifically to increase the off-site numbers of Bali mynahs in the wild, all progenies will eventually be sent back to Bali.

Singapore Zoo is ecstatic to welcome the births of two critically endangered species to its collection: the cotton-top tamarin and southern river terrapin. Singapore Zoo also saw the birth of an endangered proboscis monkey this May and the park continues to house the largest collection of proboscis monkeys in the world, outside of Indonesia.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “The world is undergoing an unprecedented loss of wildlife as a direct result of human related activities. Each of these births represents a precious glimmer of hope in our effort to help save the planet’s biodiversity. Many of them are part of coordinated conservation breeding programmes to safeguard against extinction in the wild. All of them are invaluable ambassadors for their species
to connect our visitors to the need for their protection.”

*International Union for Conservation of Nature

20 YEARS OF FUN IN THE DARK WITH NIGHT SAFARI

– Home-grown attraction is world’s first zoo for nocturnal animals.
– Recipient of multiple accolades, including 11 awards in Best Visitor Attraction category.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore officiates Night Safari’s 20th anniversary celebrations. Night Safari is the world’s first zoo for nocturnal animals and was officially opened in 1994 by then Prime Minister Goh.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore officiates Night Safari’s 20th anniversary celebrations. Night Safari is the world’s first zoo for nocturnal animals and was officially opened in 1994 by then Prime Minister Goh.

Singapore, 23 May 2014 – The world’s first zoo for nocturnal animals, Singapore’s Night Safari, marked its 20th Anniversary with an evening celebration graced by the Guest of Honour who also officiated the park opening in 1994, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

“Night Safari is a home-grown attraction that has gained a reputation on the world’s stage for the unique, immersive wildlife experience we provide our visitors. It is a park where Singaporeans love to take their foreign visitors to at night, and has been so for the last 20 years,” said Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Night Safari was conceptualised by the same visionaries who created the critically acclaimed Singapore Zoo. Since opening on 26 May 1994, the park provides local residents and tourists an insight into the mystery of the tropical jungle at night by displaying a wide range of nocturnal animals in natural settings, and also filled a critical void in night-time attractions in Singapore.

The late Dr Ong Swee Law, founder and Executive Chairman of Singapore Zoo, in his project proposal for Night Safari wrote, “Nothing like the Night Safari can be found anywhere else in the world: it is truly unique.” He also highlighted that it makes good sense to view zoo animals at night since 90% of tropical mammals (excluding primates) are nocturnal, coupled with the fact that with regular sunsets occurring around 7.30pm and cool nights, Singapore is an ideal geographical location for a night zoo.

Today, Night Safari stands at the forefront of wildlife conservation, adopting innovative approaches to conservation science, partnership and research. The park opened the world’s first Sunda pangolin exhibit, and successfully bred the endangered species native to Singapore.

Ms Chiang said, “Beyond being a must-see recreational destination, we strive for excellence in wildlife conservation and have over the 20 years been successful in captive breeding of endangered species like the native Sunda pangolin, Malayan tapir, and Asian elephant.”

Night Safari, the world’s first zoo for nocturnal animals, celebrated its 20th anniversary with guest-of-honour Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who officiated the park’s opening in 1994. Left: Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, and Mr Lee Meng Tat, CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore
Night Safari, the world’s first zoo for nocturnal animals, celebrated its 20th anniversary with guest-of-honour Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who officiated the park’s opening in 1994. Left: Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, and Mr Lee Meng Tat, CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Over the past 20 years, Night Safari has constantly been renewing and rejuvenating its animal collection and product offerings to improve visitor experience. Notably, in 2003 the park launched the Creatures of the Night Show in a new amphitheater, and the Thumbuakar fire performance just two years later.

To commemorate Night Safari’s 20th Anniversary, the park will officially introduce a pair of white lions in addition to officially launching two new exhibits featuring Asiatic black bears and Malayan tigers that would be the finale to the park’s 35-minute tram experience.

Visitors to the park in the month of June will enjoy the 20th Anniversary festivities, which include energising fire performances by the wildly popular Thumbuakar group, talented shadow cutters, and glittery face-painters that help bring out the mystery of the night.

Night Safari, the world’s first zoo for nocturnal animals, celebrated its 20th anniversary. Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who officiated the park’s opening in 1994, graced the event and took a ride on the tram.
Night Safari, the world’s first zoo for nocturnal animals, celebrated its 20th anniversary. Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who officiated the park’s opening in 1994, graced the event and took a ride on the tram.

HEARTS BLEED FOR THE BLEEDING HEART AT JURONG BIRD PARK

A Luzon bleeding heart pigeon in the South East Asia Aviary, characterised by the splash of vivid red in the centre of the white breast. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 17 April 2012 – Two pairs of Luzon bleeding heart pigeons flew into Jurong Bird Park a month ago, as part of an agreement signed with Avilon Zoo (Philippines) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Part of an ex-situ conservation and breeding programme instituted by the Bird Park, progenies will be released to the wild on the Polillo Islands in Philippines.

After the mandatory month long quarantine, the release of one pair of pigeons to the South-East Asia Aviary today will be witnessed by the Philippine Ambassador to Singapore, Ambassador Minda Calaguian-Cruz, and they will join the Park’s individual Luzon bleeding heart pigeon. The other pair of pigeons will be housed in a secluded, off-site breeding aviary where they will have the necessary privacy and attention of the officers at the Breeding and Research Centre (BRC).

“The Philippines deeply appreciates the commitment of Jurong Bird Park to assist in saving one of the country’s endangered species of wild birds. This collaborative project between the Philippines and Singapore is the first conservation breeding programme for the bleeding heart pigeons outside the Philippines and since the passage of the Philippines’ Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001. It is also the first ex-situ conservation project involving Philippine endemic species in the ASEAN region. We look with great interest towards the progress of this project, which aims to contribute towards the recovery and perpetuation of bleeding heart population in the Philippines and hopefully, the start of more conservation partnerships for nationally and regionally important wildlife resources. Hopefully, we can also share with the public a view of this wild bird species,” said Her Excellency, Ambassador Minda Calaguian-Cruz.

“We were concerned to hear that the wild population of the Luzon bleeding heart pigeons is under some threat. This is the first agreement the Bird Park has signed with an institution in Philippines, and we are excited to have more bleeding heart pigeons here. We currently have 16 species of pigeons in our collection, and have been breeding them successfully via parental natural incubation and artificial incubation. With our proven expertise in avian life, we are quietly confident that we will be able to release the progenies to Polillo Island in the future, helping to increase their numbers in the wild,” said Mr Raja Segran, General Manager, Jurong Bird Park.

The Luzon bleeding heart pigeons get their name from a splash of vivid red right in the centre of their white breast, with a reddish hue extending all the way down to their belly. A quiet and shy ground dweller from the primary and secondary rainforests of the central and southern parts of Luzon, and on the neighboring Polillo Islands in Philippines, this species is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN. Their numbers in the wild are under threat from the locals, who trap them for their meat, while their unique appearance also make them a prime target for the pet trade.

Her Excellency, Philippine’s Ambassador Minda Calaguian-Cruz looks on as a Luzon bleeding heart pigeon steps out into its’ new home at the South East Asia Aviary.
Her Excellency and Ms Isabella Loh, Chief Executive Officer, WRS, peer intently as the Luzon bleeding heart pigeons are released.

INDERA THE SUN BEAR’S JOURNEY TO THE WEST

EXCHANGE PROGRAMME WITH UK’S RARE SPECIES CONSERVATION CENTRE WILL BOOST CAPTIVE BREEDING OF THE ENDANGERED SPECIES

Singapore, 28 June 2011Singapore Zoo’s juvenile Malayan sun bear has arrived safe and sound in the United Kingdom and has made himself right at home at the Rare Species Conservation Centre (RSCC) in Kent.

Within minutes of settling in, the one-year-old was already eating fruit. Being young and adventurous, the curious sun bear also explored his new enclosure by sniffing out every nook and cranny, and was climbing and playing with enrichment devices almost immediately after being introduced to his new home.

Indera’s new ‘mate’ at the centre’s sun bear exhibit is Charlotte, a four-year-old female born in Cologne Zoo in Germany. Keepers at RSCC hope to kick start a breeding programme with the pair when Indera reaches sexual maturity in the next two years.

“Charlotte, however, was at first apprehensive about Indera and showed some aggression towards him. However, the little one stood his ground and rose on two feet to show he was not going to be intimidated. Such confidence is rarely seen in young sun bears and staff at RSCC have high hopes for him as a mate for Charlotte,” said Todd Dalton, Director of RSCC.

His journey to the UK was arranged in the summer to help him adapt more easily to the new surroundings. Both bears have a temperature controlled ‘house’ in the exhibit which keeps them warm in the winter.

Indera’s transfer from Singapore Zoo to RSCC is part of an exchange programme between the centre and Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which also manages Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and the upcoming River Safari. These animal exchanges boost genetic diversity by ensuring the survival of captive populations of endangered species.

Sun bears are found primarily in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. Though relatively diminutive in size and cuddly-looking, these animals can be aggressive in the wild, and are among the most dangerous creatures in the forest. Humans pose the biggest threat to their existence – deforestation and logging have led to their habitat loss. They are also poached for their parts, e.g. fur, paws, or bile, and many young sun bears are trapped for the illegal pet trade. International laws have made any commercial trade in the bear or its body parts illegal, and they have been listed as a species ‘vulnerable’ to extinction.

Besides WRS’ ongoing breeding programme, it has also been involved in overseas research and conservation projects, including a field research project in the Danum Valley region of Sabah to gather data on the ecology of the sun bear and its prospects for survival in disrupted forest habitats.

Photo courtesy of Balazs Buzas and Rare Species Conservation Trust - Indera explores his new home.
Photo courtesy of Balazs Buzas and Rare Species Conservation Trust - Like all adventurous young bears, Indera sniffs out his environment.
Photo courtesy of Balazs Buzas and Rare Species Conservation Trust - Indera plays with the various enrichment devices in his enclosure.

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE, WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE CONSERVATION FUND AND SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL ORGANISE FIRST ASIAN PRIMATE CONSERVATION WORKSHOP

Singapore, 6 May 2011 – Primates have the closest genetic link to Man, but we have played a hand in the very extinction of many of their species. To stem the tide of destruction and reverse the damage we have inflicted, two industry heavyweights – Wildlife Reserves Singapore and San Diego Zoo Global, together with Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund – are teaming up for the first time to hold a regional workshop to share best practices in primate conservation.

To be held from 1-15 May at the Singapore Zoo, the intensive workshop aims to impart technical skills and knowledge as well as provide hands-on training for zoo professionals and primate researchers who study endangered species in captivity and in the wild.

It will be attended by 32 participants from all over the region, including Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Nepal, China and Taiwan. Students from the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, as well as staff from WRS will also participate.

Lectures will encompass broad overviews of primate taxonomy, behaviour and conservation, and these sessions will include discussions on the best sampling and recording methods, assessments of primate welfare and compilation of scientific data, reports and presentations. Participants will be asked to design behavioural monitoring projects and present their findings at the end of the workshop. Additionally, they will go on field trips to study local primates such as the banded leaf monkey and long-tailed macaques.

Workshop chairman Mr John Sha, who is also curator of conservation and research at WRS said: “This is a very useful workshop for anyone who wants to acquire the professional skills in primate research. Data gathered through behavioural studies and monitoring can provide us with a lot of information on how well the population of species is performing. Through this programme, we hope to develop and adapt methods of study to help these amazing creatures survive in their natural habitat.”

Dr Chia Tan, scientist at San Diego Zoo Institute of Conservation Research said, “Previous partnerships with WRS such as conservation and research projects on the highly endangered proboscis monkeys and Douc langurs, and the turtle conservation workshop have reaped great rewards. We hope this event will strengthen our partnership and make a positive contribution towards primate conservation, especially in this part of the world.”

Human activities like logging are destroying the limited habitat of certain species such as the agile gibbon and proboscis monkey. The demand for pet monkeys also continues to fuel the illegal poaching of these animals.

Part of the funding for the workshop comes from a training grant from The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and contributions from San Diego Zoo Global, Offield Family Foundation, and Primate Conservation, Inc. Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund (WRSCF), an independent charity set up by WRS in 2009 with the purpose of conserving endangered native wildlife, is making up the rest of the cost.

Primate conservation is an important focus area for WRS. It has spearheaded several research studies in the past, including a field survey of proboscis monkeys in Sabah which was co-sponsored by WRS and San Diego Zoo Global. The Singapore Zoo houses one of the world’s largest primate collections, including three species of great apes, the chimpanzee, Sumatran orang utan and Bornean orang utan, the latter two of which are the flagship species of the Singapore Zoo. Visitors can learn more about them at the world’s first orang utan free ranging area built at the zoo.

Niu Kefeng, a participant from China tries to identify several Hamadryas baboons to observe for his workshop project.
San Diego Zoo Global workshop instructor Lance Miller shares tips on the art of observing chimpanzees with two of the participants.
Parkin Runcharoen, a participant from Thailand gets a closer look at the capuchins.
The proboscis monkey will also come under scrutiny during the workshop. Singapore Zoo has the largest breeding group of proboscis monkeys outside its range country,

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.

Cheque Presentation
Time-capsule sealing