RIVER SAFARI’S GIANT PANDAS LOOKING LOVELORN, SIGNAL START OF MATING SEASON

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Giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia ready for second attempt at making a baby panda;
Guests will not be able to see giant pandas for three days during the mating season

A lovelorn Kai Kai_WRS

With the approach of the giant panda mating season, visitors to River Safari’s Giant Panda Forest can expect to see lovelorn Kai Kai (seen above) and his mate Jia Jia displaying some courtship behaviour. Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

SINGAPORE, 23 March 2016  With the approach of the annual panda mating season, River Safari’s giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia are gearing up for their second shot at making a baby panda and guests at the park may observe some intriguing courtship behaviour from the pair.

Giant panda mating season is typically from February to May. As early as January, Kai Kai and Jia Jia have shown early signs that the breeding season was going to start soon.

In the coming weeks, visitors can expect to see male panda Kai Kai bleating in his exhibit and scent-marking more frequently. He may also display the flehmen response, a behaviour whereby an animal curls back its upper lip to sniff for pheromones to assess the breeding readiness of its mate. When mating season arrives, female panda Jia Jia will display restless behaviour and bleating to attract the attention of her mate.

Nine-year-old Kai Kai and eight-year-old Jia Jia entered mating season for the first time last April but both natural mating and artificial insemination had been unsuccessful. The experience, however, has armed River Safari’s team of veterinarians and keepers with a better understanding of the endangered bears’ notoriously complex reproduction process. For the coming mating season, vets and keepers have fine-tuned and employed techniques proven to be successful before in other zoos.

To enhance his performance ahead of the breeding season, Kai Kai has been dutifully doing his “sexercise” in his den for months. Panda keepers get Kai Kai to stand up on his hind legs for a few seconds at a time to strengthen his hind quarters. The exercise also serves to improve his stamina which would help to improve success rates during mating.

As with the year before, keepers have continued varying daylight hours and temperature at River Safari’s Giant Panda Forest. This simulates the seasonal transition from winter to spring in their homeland in Sichuan, China, triggering the breeding cycle of the pair—the first of their kind to live so close to the equator.

Kai Kai and Jia Jia also swapped exhibits and dens in January and February. Smelling the scent of another gender stimulates their mating instincts, encouraging hormonal changes.

At present, vets and keepers are carefully observing the behaviour of the two pandas as well as monitoring Jia Jia’s hormonal levels. Once the black and white duo are deemed ready, the pandas will be taken out of their respective exhibits for three days to allow natural mating in the dens. During this mating season of three days, guests to River Safari will not be able to see Kai Kai and Jia Jia in the Giant Panda Forest.

Vets have also collected Kai Kai’s semen for artificial insemination to increase the chances of breeding the pandas should natural mating be unsuccessful.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “Kai Kai and Jia Jia are the first giant pandas to live so close to the equator and make an intriguing case study for researchers worldwide. We have learnt much about the care of this endangered species and their breeding behaviour in the last few years, and the team is ready to apply this knowledge and hope for a Singapore baby panda this year.”

 

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE URGES PUBLIC TO TAKE A STAND AGAINST ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE

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Real-life inspired images and anecdotes of animals expose bleak nature of illegal wildlife trade;
Wildlife Reserves Singapore calls for public to take action

YouBuyTheyDie - Cockatoo

SINGAPORE, 10 March 2016 – Cockatoos stuffed in bottles to be smuggled as pets, and pangolin babies taken from their mothers’ wombs to meet the insatiable demand for exotic medicine and food delicacies—these are disturbing but true accounts of animals being transported for the illegal wildlife trade. By highlighting the fate of these animals in the second instalment of the You Buy, They Die campaign, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) hopes to rally the public to take a stand against the illegal wildlife trade.

From 10 March to 6 April 2016, commuters taking buses and trains will come across harsh but realistic images of animals being transported for the illegal wildlife trade: cockatoos stuffed in plastic bottles where two out of five do not survive, and pangolins crushed against limbs and choking under mangled bodies. These visuals can be seen on train windows and bus stops around the island, as well as educational interpretive at Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo.

Dr Sonja Luz, Director, Conservation and Research, WRS, said: “The illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion dollar business with devastating consequences for wild animal populations and ecosystems. Many species suffer greatly in the process. With this campaign, we hope to empower the public to take action and help us change their fate. Our ultimate goal is to stop the demand and that will only happen if everyone understands the problem, spreads the word and takes action by making informed decisions when offered wildlife or wildlife products.”

YouBuyTheyDie - Pangolin

To encourage engagement, the advertisements contain QR codes for commuters to scan with their mobile phones, immerse in a 360˚ experience that showcases the brutal smuggling process, and put an end to the cycle of death by declaring their pledges at ChangeTheirFate.sg. Those who pledge can immediately see the brighter future they have made for wildlife, with visuals of animals seen in their natural habitats and maintaining balance in the ecosystem.

Rising affluence, increasing purchasing power and globalisation all spell trouble for wildlife as the growing demand for exotic meat, body parts, traditional medicine, pets and luxury items, directly causes drastic declines in wildlife numbers.

Possible Singapore is the creative agency behind the campaign. The latest initiative is WRS’ second instalment of the You Buy, They Die anti-wildlife crime campaign launched in 2015 to educate the public on how their buying decisions can support the conservation of endangered wildlife. Members of the public who have information on illegal wildlife activities are advised to make a report immediately to the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). In addition, they can also download the free Wildlife Witness App, created in partnership with the Taronga Conservation Society Australia and wildlife monitoring network TRAFFIC.

SCALING UP CONSERVATION EFFORTS FOR SUNDA PANGOLINS ON WORLD PANGOLIN DAY

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Night Safari Singapore is home to the world’s first conservation breeding programme
for Sunda pangolins; Experts gather to discuss species conservation efforts

Image 1 (left): Sunda pangolin babies hitch a ride on mom’s tail when they are young. Not much is known about these elusive creatures but Night Safari intends to change that by supporting several projects to learn more about the behaviour and ecology of the world’s only scaly mammal.

Image 2 (right): When threatened, pangolins curl into a ball, making them easy targets for poachers. In the past 10 years alone, it is believed that more than one million pangolins have been illegally traded.
PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 18 February 2016Night Safari is scaling up on efforts to save the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal from extinction, through a number of pangolin conservation and research programmes.

The global trade of pangolins has reached epic proportions and it is believed that more than one million have been traded illegally in the past decade alone. International trade is largely driven by demand in China and Vietnam where pangolins are considered a delicacy and poached extensively for their scales, meat and skin for use in traditional medicine.

World Pangolin Day, which is celebrated on 20 February 2016, aims to raise awareness on the plight of these scaly mammals which are poached more than elephants and rhinos combined. Organised in conjunction with World Pangolin Day, a group of dedicated pangolin conservationists met with the Wildlife Reserve Singapore (WRS) Conservation & Research team in Singapore this week (Tuesday, 16 February 2016) to review the ongoing research efforts for Singapore’s remaining pangolins.

Through its conservation fund, WRS is supporting a number of projects which include tracking pangolins in the wild with radio and GPS tags and training conservation sniffer dogs to help with local and regional field efforts for wild pangolins.

In addition, Night Safari is home to the world’s first conservation breeding programme for the Sunda pangolin which is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. It currently houses seven Sunda pangolins in its protection, two of which were born under human care.

Dr Sonja Luz, Director of Conservation & Research, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “The plight facing pangolins is devastating and if we want to win the battle against the illegal wildlife trade, we must educate people and inspire compassion and respect for nature and animals. At WRS, we have made this our mission, and we have the unique opportunity to study and learn more about this elusive animal right at our doorstep.”

She added, “Our local research and conservation efforts contribute to a better understanding of the biology and urban ecology of pangolins. Through our captive breeding efforts, we are able to raise more awareness about the amazing creatures.”
A Singapore pangolin working group consisting local stakeholders has also been formed to gather feedback on outreach and research activities to maximise conservation efforts.

Image 3_Pangolin Book _WRS (smaller)To further reach out to children, WRS has published a book titled ‘Why did the pangolin cross the road?’ (left). This illustrated anecdote is inspired by one of the seven pangolins in Night Safari’s collection, and features English and Mandarin texts.

On World Pangolin Day, Night Safari has lined up two special sessions of Keeper Talks where visitors will have the opportunity to get up close with the park’s Sunda pangolin. The pangolins can be found on the Fishing Cat Trail at Night Safari.

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

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

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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

SWEET SURPRISE FOR NIGHT SAFARI’S OLDEST MALAYAN TAPIR

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Manis the Malayan tapir celebrates her 35th birthday at world’s first safari park for nocturnal animals.

Away from the public eye, Manis’ keepers donned black and white polka dotted party hats in her honour and toasted her to many more happy, healthy years as she chomped on her birthday cake, made with her favourite food, including bread, watermelon, papaya and honeydew. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Away from the public eye, Manis’ keepers donned black and white polka dotted party hats in her honour and toasted her to many more happy, healthy years as she chomped on her birthday cake, made with her favourite food, including bread, watermelon, papaya and honeydew. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 1 April 2014Night Safari’s oldest Malayan tapir, Manis, turned 35 years old on 24 March 2014, and celebrated her birthday in style. She is also one of the region’s oldest Malayan tapirs under human care.

Manis, whose name means ‘sweet’ in Malay, tucked into a lovingly created layered cake consisting of bananas, bread and watermelons, surrounded by honeydew and papaya balls, and blended carrots and fruit sticks spelling out her name and age. The celebrations took place in the back of house yard, away from the public eye.

Night Safari currently has 10 tapirs in her collection; another two reside in Singapore Zoo. Between the two parks, 27 Malayan tapirs have been born. The last birth occurred on 3 June 2013, and happens to be Manis’ great-granddaughter.

Malayan tapirs are the largest of the five species of tapir, and the only one native to Asia. Listed as endangered on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species, threats include habitat loss and fragmentation, and increasingly, hunting pressure.

*IUCN: International Union for the Conservation of Nature

ICONIC WATERFALL AVIARY AT JURONG BIRD PARK RE-LAUNCHED

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– Aviary, home to world’s first man-made waterfall, teems with avian life with more than 600 birds from over 50 species.

The Livingston's turaco, a colourful bird with a funky mohawk, is one of more than 600 birds which can be found at the Waterfall Aviary in Jurong Bird Park which was re-launched on 23 January 2014

The Livingston’s turaco, a colourful bird with a funky mohawk, is one of more than 600 birds which can be found at the Waterfall Aviary in Jurong Bird Park which was re-launched on 23 January 2014

Singapore, 23 January 2013Waterfall Aviary at Jurong Bird Park, home to the world’s first man-made waterfall, was re-launched today in a ceremony officiated by Mr Desmond Lee Ti-Seng, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development.

Since the 1970s, visitors to Jurong Bird Park have enjoyed the immersive experience of marvelling at birds that fly freely in the Waterfall Aviary – one of the world’s largest walk-in aviaries. The waterfall inside Waterfall Aviary, which stands at 30 metres, was a marvel to throngs of visitors because it was the world’s first and tallest man-made waterfall. Today, it is still the tallest waterfall inside an aviary.

The 30m tall waterfall in Waterfall Aviary is the world's tallest man-made waterfall in a walk-in aviary. A picturesque spot for many Singaporeans since it was unveiled on 3 January 1971, the Waterfall Aviary was relaunched on 23 January 2014

The 30m tall waterfall in Waterfall Aviary is the world’s tallest man-made waterfall in a walk-in aviary. A picturesque spot for many Singaporeans since it was unveiled on 3 January 1971, the Waterfall Aviary was relaunched on 23 January 2014

Jurong Bird Park and Waterfall Aviary played host to several notable dignitaries, namely Queen Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh and Mr Li Rui Huan, Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee from the Republic of China, and they left impressed by the amazing avian collection found within.

In 1972, Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh visited Jurong Bird Park and Waterfall Aviary a year after they were launched, and left very impressed by the avian collection and the exhibit

In 1972, Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh visited Jurong Bird Park and Waterfall Aviary a year after they were launched, and left very impressed by the avian collection and the exhibit

“Waterfall Aviary is a place that holds fond memories for many visitors who now have children and grandchildren of their own,” said Mr Lee Meng Tat, CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore. “With the re-launch of Waterfall Aviary today, we invite these parents and grandparents to take their children here to bond and relive those wonderful times.”

To galvanise families to visit the Bird Park, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) has been working closely with People’s Association (PA) to bring Jurong Bird Park’s wildlife closer to the grassroots. A series of customised packages, which cater to the travel patterns and F&B preferences of residents in the heartlands, will be rolled out. After Jurong Bird Park, WRS will follow up with more enticing packages to WRS parks in the near future.

At the re-launch this morning, Mr Desmond Lee Ti-Seng, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development released some endangered sun conures into the two hectare aviary, bringing the total number of birds there to more than 600.

The world’s largest walk-in aviary houses more than 50 species of birds, including the endangered sun conures, the vulnerable common crowned pigeons, pied imperial pigeons, and Von der Decken’s hornbills. Visitors will get a chance to get see them, as well as other resident birds like the starlings, rollers, guineafowls and parrots, up close during the twice daily keeper-led feeding sessions at 10.30am and 2.30pm.

Sun conures are an endangered species, and they are part of the extensive collection of more than 600 birds which can be found at the Waterfall Aviary in Jurong Bird Park. The exhibit was re-launched on 23 January 2014

Sun conures are an endangered species, and they are part of the extensive collection of more than 600 birds which can be found at the Waterfall Aviary in Jurong Bird Park. The exhibit was re-launched on 23 January 2014

Together with the re-launch, the Waterfall Aviary Terrace was also developed as an event venue in order to provide corporate guests with an alternative to run-of-the-mill event settings. Set in a lush, avian sanctuary, the Waterfall Aviary Terrace is ideal for team-buildings, retreats and cocktail receptions.

The Waterfall Aviary is open from 8.30am to 6.00pm daily. For more information, please visit www.birdpark.com.sg.

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