ICONIC WATERFALL AVIARY AT JURONG BIRD PARK RE-LAUNCHED

– 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.

MIRACLE RODENTS NOW ON EXHIBIT AT SINGAPORE ZOO

– BIZARRE-LOOKING NAKED MOLE RATS MAY HOLD SECRET TO LONGEVITY
– LATEST OFFERING SHOWCASES THESE CURIOUS CREATURES’ UNDERGROUND LIFE

Singapore, 7 March 2012 – They are hairless, buck-toothed and very nearly blind. Pick one of these creatures up and you’ll realise that they smell really bad. It’s probably from all the rolling about in their own fecal matter so they’ll smell like one big happy family. Smelly or not, scientists believe that naked mole rats’ genetic material holds the secret to a long life – they can live over 20 years, almost eight times longer than mice.

These little rodents, only one of two mammals known to have a social structure similar to social insects, now have a huge exhibit all to themselves—Singapore Zoo’s first foray into showcasing such little creatures on a comparatively large scale.

Wrinkled “sausages” with teeth: Naked mole rats have lips that close behind the teeth. This way, they don’t end up with a mouthful of dirt when digging and burrowing!

The exhibit mimics their system of burrows in the wild in order to provide a naturalistic environment for them. Naked mole rats have burrow systems extending up to 4.8 kilometres long in the wild and covering an area as big as six football fields.

Singapore Zoo’s exhibit, measuring 50 square metres, is a scaled-down version of their complex living environment. Constructed with steel and concrete, it also has glass-fronted panels for visitors to view the naked mole rats at work and play. Lighting is kept dim, as these creatures are used to living in dark environments.

Tunnel vision: Guests peering at the naked mole rats in their ‘natural’ home!
Did you know the tunnels are actually completely man-made! This is how the intricate system of tunnels looks like from the back of house area.

To facilitate convenient cleaning, two identical sets of burrow systems were constructed. Each set is washed and switched every month, then lined with pine shavings to keep them clean and relatively odourless. It is hard work, as the components of the exhibit are extremely sturdy – a necessary defense against the strong teeth of these rats. Unfortunately, these little creatures seem to possess superhuman strength, and have already managed to make dents in some of the concrete components, much to the dismay of their keepers!

Though only recently opened, the naked mole rat exhibit is already a popular spot for curious visitors

An interactive element was also added – a pint-sized tunnel for children to crawl through and imagine a day in the life of a naked mole rat. Periscopes and child-friendly interpretive and activity panels complete the educational component of this exhibit.

Mind your head, for these tunnels are made for little humans only

“Having such an accessible and engaging exhibit allows us to observe the behaviour of these fascinating critters closely, as such animals cannot be studied so easily in the wild. Singapore Zoo hopes to be able to contribute to the education and research of this species, and at the same time introduce the lesser-known wonders of nature to our guests,” said Dr Sonja Luz, Director, Conservation, Research and Learning Centre, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Come visit and learn more about the naked mole rat at Singapore Zoo today! If these little creatures end up contributing to longer lives for all of us one day, you can tell everyone you saw them first at our Zoo!

Note: Daily feeding sessions are held at 11.30am