CANOLA THE MANATEE IS RIVER SAFARI’S NEW ANIMAL ICON

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Lovingly raised by human caregivers as a calf, Canola makes a big splash with her special story; June is Manatee Madness month at River Safari with new behind-the-scenes tour with Canola

Left: Canola, the first manatee to be hand-raised by keepers in River Safari, is now the park’s animal icon who will act as the wildlife ambassador for her kind and threatened animal species in the wild.
Right: For the month of June, guests to River Safari can sign up for a special behind-the-scenes tour with Canola, where they can observe how aquarists feed baby manatees and conduct operant conditioning with Canola.
PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 25 May 2016 – Canola the manatee has a dramatic life story, to say the least. Abandoned as a calf, her keepers came to the newborn’s rescue to ensure her survival. Today, barely two years old, her fortunes have taken another upswing as Canola is named the animal icon of River Safari.

Born 6 August 2014, Canola was abandoned by her mother. Without her mother’s milk, the infant’s life was in serious danger. To give her a chance at survival, River Safari’s aquarists dived in to render round-the-clock care for the newborn. Canola had to be bottle-fed every two to three hours during the first three months of her life. 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.

Canola was successfully reintroduced to the manatee herd under the doting care and great team effort of her human caregivers in 2014, and can now be seen swimming along with the herd in the world’s largest freshwater aquarium—River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest.

In her new role as River Safari’s animal icon, Canola will be the wildlife ambassador for her species and all threatened wildlife in the wild. River Safari is home to 14 West Indian manatees, six of which are male while the rest are female. 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 of manatees, River Safari hopes to contribute to the species’ population. Over 10 manatees have been born in Singapore. The park has plans to repatriate two manatees to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean as part of a breeding programme to repopulate the region where wild manatees have become extinct for the past 100 years.
Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “Canola is the first manatee hand-raised by aquarists in River Safari. To ensure her health and wellbeing, her keepers have maintained a very close bond with her through ongoing medical training sessions. By making Canola an icon and ambassador animal, we hope her life story will inspire our guests to join in our conservation efforts to save threatened freshwater wildlife.”

As a hand-raised manatee, Canola is accustomed to close contact with humans. Guests at River Safari can get an up-close encounter with Canola over the June holidays if they sign up for a special behind-the-scenes tour. Aquarists will demonstrate how they hand-raise baby manatees, and work with Canola on operant conditioning exercises where the manatee is trained to roll over for medical procedures such as injections and ultrasound scans.

Mr Keith So, Deputy Head Aquarist, River Safari, said, “Canola has a special place in our hearts. Despite having a rough start to her life, she has developed a very gentle, kind and patient nature. It was a unanimous decision to select her as our animal icon.”
In line with Canola’s new role as River Safari’s animal icon, a series of illustrations which depict various facets of her personality has been developed. These capture her in different poses and should endear Canola to people of all ages.

 

canola

 

 

Left: Canola the manatee is River Safari’s new animal icon and a series of illustrations depicting various facets of her personality has been developed.
PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

 

On weekends from 4 to 26 June, members of the public can join Manatee Madness in River Safari, which offers a series of manatee-themed activities, a manatee mascot meet-and-greet and an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour with Canola.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES WITH CANOLA
Dates: 11, 19, 25 June 2016
Time: 9.30am to 11.00am
Maximum capacity: 20pax
Fee: $18 per pax
Note: This tour is open to sign ups only and subject to availability. Admission charges of $30 per adult, $20 per child (3 to 12 years old), and $15 per senior citizen (above 60 years old) apply

To sign up for the tour, visit https://estore.wrs.com.sg/education-public-programmes. Signups open on 31 May 2016.

MANATEE MADNESS JUNE HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES
Dates: 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 June 2016 (weekends only)
Time: 10.00am to 7.00pm (various timings)
Venue: River Safari (activities at various locations around the park)
Fee: Activities are free but admission charges of $30 per adult, $20 per child (3 to 12 years old), and $15 per senior citizen (above 60 years old) apply
For more information on Manatee Madness, visit http://www.riversafari.com.sg/events-promos/manatee-madness.html.

manatee madness

 

MANATEES MOVE INTO WORLD’S LARGEST FRESHWATER AQUARIUM AT RIVER SAFARI

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Gentle giants to be showcased at Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit.

Singapore, 13 March 2013 – Seven manatees were the first residents to move into the world’s largest freshwater aquarium at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit.

A team comprising more than 20 zookeepers and veterinarians took two days to move the seven manatees – including two calves – from Singapore Zoo to their new home at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest. The new exhibit showcases the annual flooding of the Amazon rainforest where fish and other creatures swim amongst giant trees. The manatees’ home at the world’s largest freshwater aquarium is four times bigger than their previous exhibit at Singapore Zoo.

Manatees are large, slow-moving aquatic mammals that can be found in coastal waters and rivers. They 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). Listed as vulnerable on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species, manatee numbers have declined throughout the last century due to hunting pressures and entrapment in commercial fishing nets. These gentle giants are often accidentally hit by motorboats.

Through captive breeding, River Safari hopes to contribute to the population of endangered freshwater species such as the manatee. The park now holds one of the largest collections of manatees among ISIS^ institutions with eleven manatees in total.

Keepers and consultants position a canvas sheet underneath a 21-year-old female manatee in preparation for her move. She and 10 others will be housed in the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit at the soon-to-be-opened River Safari.

Keepers and consultants position a canvas sheet underneath a 21-year-old female manatee in preparation for her move. She and 10 others will be housed in the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit at the soon-to-be-opened River Safari.

Keepers securing the canvas and ropes before hoisting Eva, a 21-year-old manatee. At over 1,100 kilogrammes, Eva is the heaviest manatee in the park. She and 10 others will be housed in the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit at the soon-to-be-opened River Safari.

Keepers securing the canvas and ropes before hoisting Eva, a 21-year-old manatee. At over 1,100 kilogrammes, Eva is the heaviest manatee in the park. She and 10 others will be housed in the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit at the soon-to-be-opened River Safari.

More than 20 zookeepers and veterinarians were involved in moving a 21-year-old female manatee named Eva, which weighs over 1,100 kilograms. The female manatee was one of the first manatees to arrive at Singapore Zoo in 1994. She and 10 others will be housed in the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit at the soon-to-be-opened River Safari.

More than 20 zookeepers and veterinarians were involved in moving a 21-year-old female manatee named Eva, which weighs over 1,100 kilograms. The female manatee was one of the first manatees to arrive at Singapore Zoo in 1994. She and 10 others will be housed in the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit at the soon-to-be-opened River Safari.

*IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature
^ISIS – International Species Information System

ABUNDANCE OF BABIES AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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INCLUDES ENDANGERED SPECIES SUCH AS COTTON-TOP TAMARIN, PYGMY HIPPOPOTAMUS AND DOUC LANGUR

Singapore, 31 January 2011 – The year ended with a bumper brood of babies at the Singapore Zoo with nearly 300 births and hatchings in 2010, which include endangered species like the cotton-top tamarin, pygmy hippopotamus and the Douc langur.

Considered one of the world’s top 25 most endangered primates and classified as critically-endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the cotton-top tamarin is one of the few species that survives better in captivity than in the wild. Despite protection from the international laws, there are only about 2,000 adult cotton-top tamarins left in the wild in South America. Eleven cotton-top tamarins were born at the zoo last year. The park now has a thriving population of 30.

The Singapore Zoo also celebrated its sole pygmy hippopotamus birth for the year in October. This species is listed as endangered by the IUCN. Similar to the cotton-top tamarins, the survival of this reclusive mammal in captivity is higher than in the wild. With the latest addition, the Singapore Zoo now has four pygmy hippopotamus in its collection.

One of the most colourful primates, the Douc langur, known for its extremely striking appearance, is also considered endangered by IUCN. This species is endemic to Indochina and can be found in Lao, Vietnam and northern Cambodia. These primates suffer from intense levels of hunting for food and for use in traditional medicines. Destruction of its natural habitat is also a major threat to this species. Singapore Zoo saw four births last year and now has a population of 15.

Other animal babies welcomed in 2010 include the proboscis monkey, meerkat, manatee, spotted mousedeer, oriental small-clawed otter, Chinese stripe-necked turtle and Linne’s two-toed sloth, amongst the 44 species of births and hatchings.

“It has been very encouraging welcoming these newborns to our family of animals in the zoo, particularly those of an endangered status. WRS has enjoyed an abundant year of births and hatchings, and captive breeding is an important element of what we do for species conservation. With rising threats such as habitat loss, human encroachment and poaching, captive breeding programmes may be the only hope of saving some species for future generations,” said Mr Biswajit Guha, Director of Zoology at the Singapore Zoo.

The Singapore Zoo, operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) which also runs the award winning Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park and the upcoming river-themed park, the River Safari, has a number of conservation research initiatives such as the captive breeding of proboscis monkeys and study of their dietary requirements, as well as hormonal analyses to chart the oestrous cycles. It continues to work with other zoos and wildlife institutions around the world to facilitate animal exchanges to expand the captive gene pool and increase the population of endangered animal species.

Cotton-top Tamarin

Pygmy Hyppopotamus

Linne's two-toed sloth