RARE BLUE AND BLACK PARROT BEAUTIES MAKE THEIR DEBUT AND CALL JURONG BIRD PARK HOME

Blue-throated macaw hatchling. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 21 May 2012 – Two critically endangered blue-throated macaws, three red-tailed black cockatoos and four endangered hyacinth macaws have hatched at the Jurong Bird Park’s Breeding & Research Centre (BRC). These nine breeding successes, ages ranging from three to nine months, are part of the Bird Park’s carefully managed breeding programme.

The blue-throated macaw siblings are the first ever hatchlings of this species at the Park. They hatched on 17 and 23 December last year after an incubation period of 26 days at the BRC, which is a dedicated area to ensure the welfare, breeding and promulgation of birdlife. Weighing in at 14 g and 15 g at hatching, blue-throated macaws are difficult to breed in captivity, as compatibility is an important requirement for them with regards to the environment and their breeding partner.

It took seven years of persistent research by the avicultural team at the BRC and the Avian Hospital before two fertile eggs were laid, and even more care went into ensuring that the chicks had a diet optimised for their species and their growth. When they hatched, they were fed with baby formula and were gradually introduced to a diet of various fruit such as apples, pears, papayas, and bananas, nuts such as walnuts, macadamia nuts and sunflower seeds at three months.

Although listed as Least Concern on the IUCN, the red-tailed black cockatoo is prohibited from export from Australia, making this species extremely rare in captivity. This is also the first time Jurong Bird Park has successfully bred them in captivity. The three siblings hatched in three different clutches last year, with one egg per clutch on 2 August, 9 September and 20 October.

Before fertile eggs could be laid, endoscopy was performed by the veterinarian to ensure that the breeding pair was healthy, and was ready for breeding. The BRC team also changed the nest for them by providing the birds with a log with a cavity, instead of a wooden nest box. The birds are now in the new Australian themed exhibit at Parrot Paradise, which houses seven cockatoo species endemic to Australia.

Hyacinth macaws were last bred in the Bird Park in May 2010. This breeding season, three clutches of four eggs produced four sibling chicks hatching between November 2011 and April 2012. Similarly with the red-tailed black cockatoo, endoscopy was also carried out prior to breeding. For the parents of these chicks, a veterinary check revealed that their fat intake needed to be increased to get the birds in prime breeding condition, so walnuts and macadamias were added to their diet during the breeding season.

“We are so thrilled to have a 100% success rate with the blue-throated macaw, red-tailed black cockatoo and the hyacinth macaw this breeding season. In particular, there are only about 100 – 150 blue throated macaws left in the wilds of north-central Bolivia, and we hope that they will be valuable additions to the global captive breeding population of blue-throated macaws,” noted Mr Raja Segran, General Manager, Jurong Bird Park.

EGGS AND CHICKS EGGS-PERTLY PAMPERED AT JURONG BIRD PARK

BREEDING AND RESEARCH CENTRE MAKES PUBLIC DEBUT

Scarlet macaw hatchling in a temperature and humidity-monitored brooder (left) and a five day old greater flamingo being fed at the Breeding and Research Centre. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 14 May 2012 – The Breeding and Research Centre (BRC) at Jurong Bird Park is where life begins for some of the Park’s resident birds. The moment eggs arrive at the BRC up to the time chicks hatch and are weaned, they receive eggs-pert tender loving care and literally, pampering, from the Centre’s officers.

This is also the first time in 24 years that the Centre is open for walk-in public viewing. Previously, the BRC was only accessible via organised tours through the Education or Operations teams.

“By showcasing to guests what goes on behind-the-scenes at the BRC, we hope to inculcate in them a deeper appreciation of avian wildlife, and for guests to have a better understanding of our conservation efforts. We are very proud of the successes the BRC has had. We have bred some critically endangered species like the Bali starling and blue- throated macaw and other very significant species such as the black palm cockatoo, hyacinth macaw, red-fronted macaw and the red-tailed black cockatoo, all of which certainly enhance the off-site conservation population of these magnificent birds,” said Mr Raja Segran, General Manager, Jurong Bird Park.

Two incubation rooms, two nursery rooms, three weaning rooms, one each for parrots, aquatic birds and other species, and a kitchen are the eight areas through which guests can take a peek at the eggs and chicks as they mature through life’s stages.

Each of the incubation rooms contain three incubators. At maximum capacity, each room can accomodate up to 180 eggs, each awaiting their turn to hatch. The nursery rooms are where the chicks go immediately after hatching. Chicks are placed in temperature and humidity-controlled brooders, and this is where guests can see how these absurdly cute little helpless juveniles are fed.

When they are fully grown, chicks are transferred to the weaning room, where they are placed in cages to allow them to acclimatise to the area and each other. Here, they are taken care of until they are mature to join the rest of their family in the respective exhibits. The duckery and pheasant room, as their names suggest, are areas where water birds’ young and soft-billed young are placed until they are moved to the rest of the Park.

Guests to the BRC also get a chance to watch live streaming of avian nest activities at the breeding blocks, which are not publicly accessible. The Breeding and Research Centre opens to the public from 19 May, between 8.30am – 6pm daily. There is no additional charge to visit the Centre, but normal Park admission charges apply (Adult: $18 / Child: $12).

WORLD’S LARGEST BIRD PARADISE – JURONG BIRD PARK – TURNS 40

YEAR-LONG CELEBRATIONS KICK OFF WITH PARK DISCOUNTS, SOUVENIR GIVEAWAYS AND FACEBOOK CONTESTS

Singapore, 4 January 2011Jurong Bird Park, one of four wildlife attractions managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), with the others being Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming River Safari, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, by offering discounts off admission prices and gifts to selected visitors.

From now till the end of January, Singaporeans and Permanent Residents who turn 40 this year get 40% off admission ticket prices. From 3-9 January, those who celebrated their 40th birthday on 3 Jan 2011 will get free admission into the park, and the first 40 who come in also get an exclusive Bird Park 40th anniversary T-shirt and a cute plush toy.

Next month, celebrations continue with a Facebook contest to encourage couples to share their 40 years of romantic moments at the park. Couples will be asked to dust off their old photo albums and post pictures of them during their courtship days or weddings. Winners will walk away with free admission tickets and a limited edition Valentine’s Day YooHoo plush toy.

Other exciting activities planned for the year include a wildlife photography contest, as well as the launch of a play area for kids at the park and a brand new Birds of Prey show.

Opened on 3 January 1971, Jurong Bird Park is the first wildlife park to be established in Singapore and is today the largest bird park in the world. Situated on a 20.2-hectare hillside, the award-winning park is a haven for 4,600 birds representing 380 of the world‟s bird species. As the oldest wildlife park here, it is an excellent model of success, spearheading avian conservation and education infused with fun recreation for both young and old, locals and tourists.

Over the years, the Bird Park has made significant strides towards establishing itself as the region’s leading institution for the conservation of avian biodiversity. In the area of ex-situ conservation, it has a Breeding and Research Centre tasked to ensure the welfare, breeding and promulgation of birdlife, and has won several accolades for its breeding programmes.

For example, it was the first park in the world to successfully breed the black hornbill in captivity in 1995 and the twelve-wired Bird of Paradise for which the park received the Breeders‟ Award from the American Pheasant and Waterfowl Society in 2001. In 2006, the Bird Park received the Conservation & Research Award for the Oriental Pied Hornbill Conservation Project by IV International Symposium on Breeding Birds in Captivity (ISBBC). More recently in 2010, the park successfully bred and hatched the highly endangered red fronted macaw, hyacinth macaw and the near threatened great pied hornbill species in captivity. Committed to conservation, research and providing the best possible veterinary care to the birds in the park, the world class Avian Hospital was established in 2006. It is also Singapore‟s designated avian rescued centre for the treatment and rehabilitation of wild birds. The Bird Park frequently collaborates with relevant government agencies in re-introducing indigenous species back into the wild, such as the oriental pied hornbill in its most recent project.

In addition, the park is one of Singapore’s most popular tourist and family destinations. Key attractions such as the Bird Discovery Centre, African Waterfall Aviary, Lory Loft, Southeast Asian Birds Aviary, and the newly launched Penguin Coast as well as its daily shows attracted close to 900,000 visitors in 2009. The S$1.9 million Penguin Coast exhibit features six penguin species, one third of the world‟s total penguin species. It features the African Penguin, one of few species which live in the tropics, as well as five species of cold climate penguins in the indoor climate-controlled den of the exhibit. It was launched to spread greater awareness for the conservation of penguins by bringing visitors up close to these endearing birds.

”2011 represents a milestone for us at the Jurong Bird Park. It is a time for us to look back on our achievements and look ahead to new horizons. We have come a long way since our humble beginnings in the 1970s. Today, the Bird Park is a shining example of the successful integration of conservation, education and recreation. This is possible only with the passion and dedication shown by our staff towards the WRS mission of preserving birdlife biodiversity and spreading the message of conservation„, said Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

“We hope Singaporeans will continue to have fond memories of their wonderful times spent at the Bird Park by participating in our 40th anniversary festivities throughout the year. Now would be a good time to pay yet another visit to the park and take a walk down memory lane by re-living those cherished moments,” she added.

For more information and the latest updates on the Jurong Bird Park‟s 40th anniversary celebrations, please visit www.birdpark.com.sg, or logon to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s Facebook page.

Front entrance of Jurong Bird Park (1985)
Jurong Falls Aviary, Jurong Bird Park (1971 -1980)
Visitors queuing up at front admission to purchase tickets (1971 – 1980)
Old tram system, Jurong Bird Park (1971 -1980)