RIVER SAFARI CELEBRATES OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING

– Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park houses 6000 animal specimens from over 200 species. Latest WRS attraction set to enhance wildlife experience in Mandai.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officiated at the Grand Opening of River Safari, Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park on 28 February 2014, and is seen here with Wildlife Reserves Singapore Chairman Ms Claire Chiang, both symbolically rowing the boat forward for River Safari. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officiated at the Grand Opening of River Safari, Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park on 28 February 2014, and is seen here with Wildlife Reserves Singapore Chairman Ms Claire Chiang, both symbolically rowing the boat forward for River Safari. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Singapore, 28 February 2014 – Mandai, an area synonymous with Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, has become even more wild today with the much-anticipated official opening of River Safari, Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park.

River Safari is the latest addition to Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s portfolio of award-winning parks, which includes Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, and Singapore Zoo. With a unique focus on freshwater habitats, the park adds a new dimension to the wildlife experience in Singapore.

Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, officiated the grand opening before 300 guests.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong together with Mr S Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry having an up-close encounter with a Brazilian tapir along the Amazon River Quest on 28 February 2014, at the Grand Opening of River Safari. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong together with Mr S Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry having an up-close encounter with a Brazilian tapir along the Amazon River Quest on 28 February 2014, at the Grand Opening of River Safari. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “We are very proud today to officially introduce River Safari to the world. From conceptualisation and design to construction and completion, River Safari represents our dedication to conserve wildlife, our commitment to educate the public about threats to freshwater habitats, and our passion to create an enriching and fun recreational venue for visitors all over the world.”

The journey to creating Asia’s first and only river-themed park started with an idea to create a freshwater aquarium to complement the offerings of Singapore Zoo. This spark evolved and gave rise to River Safari.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong admires the gracefulness of the endangered giant river otters at Amazon Flooded Forest as they swim by, during River Safari’s Grand Opening on 28 February 2014. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong admires the gracefulness of the endangered giant river otters at Amazon Flooded Forest as they swim by, during River Safari’s Grand Opening on 28 February 2014. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Today, the 12-ha River Safari offers visitors a wildlife adventure inspired by the world’s most iconic rivers, including the Amazon, Ganges, Mekong, Nile and Yangtze rivers. Built at a cost of $160 million, River Safari houses one of the world’s largest collections of freshwater fauna. To date, the park features 6,000 animal specimens representing 200 species, of which 40 are threatened. These include river giants and mega fishes such as the giant river otter, giant freshwater stingray, Mekong giant catfish and Singapore’s very own pair of resident giant pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia.

WRS parks are world-renowned for their open concept exhibit design, and with River Safari, the team pushed the boundaries further and created a park that would provide visitors with an unforgettable adventure through the world’s most iconic rivers.

Manatees and River Safari’s team of aquarists at the world’s largest freshwater aquarium in Amazon Flooded Forest, thanking Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for gracing River Safari’s Grand Opening on 28 February 2014. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
Manatees and River Safari’s team of aquarists at the world’s largest freshwater aquarium in Amazon Flooded Forest, thanking Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for gracing River Safari’s Grand Opening on 28 February 2014. All photos provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

“The park has been well-received since we opened the Giant Panda Forest in Nov 2012, and our soft opening in Apr 2013. We have already welcomed more than 1.1 million visitors from all over the world and this shows that visitors are curious about the world of river habitats. We feel positive that River Safari has a huge role to play in satisfying this hunger for knowledge about freshwater inhabitants,” said Ms Chiang.

When visiting River Safari, visitors can look forward to interactive and digital educational interpretives, discovery stations where visitors can learn more about animals and freshwater conservation issues and behind-the-scene tours which provide a clearer glimpse into the world these animals live in.

River Safari opens daily from 9:00am to 6:00pm and tickets are priced at S$25 (adult), S$16 (child between 3-12 years) and $12.00 (local senior citizens 60 years and above). From 5 March 2014, tickets to the Amazon River Quest boat ride will be priced at S$5 (adult) and S$3 (child).

For more information, please log on to www.riversafari.com.sg

RIVER SAFARI COMPLETES MEGAFISH COLLECTION WITH MOVE OF GIANT FRESHWATER STINGRAY

Move of gargantuan fish with venomous barb one of the most complicated and dangerous to date.

Singapore, 17 July 2013 – The giant freshwater stingray, believed to be the largest and heaviest freshwater fish in the world, moved into Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park today. Known for its venomous barb and mighty ability to pull boats down the Mekong River, this gargantuan species can weigh up to 600 kilogrammes and grow up to 5 metres in length.

The giant freshwater stingray, believed to be the largest and heaviest freshwater fish in the world, moved into River Safari today. Known for its venomous barb and mighty ability to pull boats down the Mekong River, this gargantuan species can weigh up to 600 kilogrammes and grow up to 5 metres in length.
The giant freshwater stingray, believed to be the largest and heaviest freshwater fish in the world, moved into River Safari today. Known for its venomous barb and mighty ability to pull boats down the Mekong River, this gargantuan species can weigh up to 600 kilogrammes and grow up to 5 metres in length.

The last to join two other rare megafishes at the park’s Mekong River zone, the move of the giant freshwater stingray is one of the most complicated and dangerous as it has a deadly barb on the base of its tail capable of piercing bones.

Close to 20 staff was deployed for the move, including aquarists and veterinarians. Due to the size of the stingray – currently at 2.4 metres long and weighing 62.5 kilogrammes – various arrangements were made in preparation for the move, including a specially-modified carrier truck to transport the stingray in controlled water conditions. As a safety precaution, the stingray’s venomous barb on its tail was trimmed. Stingrays can regrow their barbs throughout their lifetime.

Mr Wah Yap Hon, Curator, Zoology, River Safari, said, “We are thrilled that the last of our Mekong River giants are finally in. Over the past few months, we have been moving animals into their exhibits and have been looking forward to this day when we finally introduce the powerful giant freshwater stingray. This latest addition completes our collection of megafishes. We hope these aquatic ambassadors will help visitors gain a deeper appreciation of their species, and of freshwater habitats.”

Found in river systems in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the giant freshwater stingray is under threat due to overfishing and degradation of riverine habitats as a result of pollution and dam-building. In Thailand where the subpopulation has dropped dramatically, the giant stingray is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. This species is shrouded in mystery: their behaviour is elusive and no one knows of their exact numbers in the wild.

By bringing visitors up close to fascinating underwater animals such as the giant freshwater stingray, River Safari aims to highlight the importance of freshwater ecosystems and inspire positive actions for conserving them.

Visitors can catch the giant stingrays at the park’s Mekong River zone, home to two other megafishes: giant Siamese carp and the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish.

Aquarists prepare to move a giant freshwater stingray into its aquarium at River Safari’s Mekong River zone. As a safety precaution, the stingray’s venomous barb on its tail was trimmed before the move. The barb can grow to an incredible length of 38 cm – the largest of any stingray and capable of piercing bones. Stingrays can regrow their barbs throughout their lifetime.
Aquarists prepare to move a giant freshwater stingray into its aquarium at River Safari’s Mekong River zone. As a safety precaution, the stingray’s venomous barb on its tail was trimmed before the move. The barb can grow to an incredible length of 38 cm – the largest of any stingray and capable of piercing bones. Stingrays can regrow their barbs throughout their lifetime.
Aquarists carefully lower a canvas holding a giant freshwater stingray for its release into River Safari’s Mekong River zone. This 2.4m-long specimen weighs 62.5kg and measures 1.2m wide. It arrived at the park’s holding facility in October 2010.
Aquarists carefully lower a canvas holding a giant freshwater stingray for its release into River Safari’s Mekong River zone. This 2.4m-long specimen weighs 62.5kg and measures 1.2m wide. It arrived at the park’s holding facility in October 2010.
To ensure that its newest resident is fine, an aquarist checks on the breathing pattern of a giant freshwater stingray after it is released into its aquarium at River Safari’s Mekong River zone.
To ensure that its newest resident is fine, an aquarist checks on the breathing pattern of a giant freshwater stingray after it is released into its aquarium at River Safari’s Mekong River zone.
Children come up close with a giant freshwater stingray at River Safari’s Mekong River zone, which is also home to two other megafishes: giant Siamese carp and the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish.
Children come up close with a giant freshwater stingray at River Safari’s Mekong River zone, which is also home to two other megafishes: giant Siamese carp and the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish.

*IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature

RIVER SAFARI SOFT OPENING FROM 3 APRIL

Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park to feature rare and endangered animals from eight iconic river habitats; boat rides to be ready at a later date.

Singapore, 25 March 2013 – From 3 April, visitors can look forward to discovering the exotic wildlife found in eight iconic river habitats with the soft opening of River Safari.

The 12-ha River Safari is the newest addition to Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s portfolio of award-winning parks and will showcase animals from freshwater habitats inspired by eight of the world’s iconic rivers including the Mississippi, Nile, Mekong, Yangtze and Amazon rivers. The park will be home to over 150 plant species and 5,000 animal specimens representing 300 animal species, including one of the world’s largest collections of freshwater animals.

Among the unique aquatic and terrestrial animals featured in the park are endangered river giants such as the Giant Salamander, Giant Freshwater Stingray and Mekong Giant Catfish. River Safari is the only park in Asia to feature the Giant River Otter, the world’s largest otter that can grow up to 1.8 metres.

The highlight of the Mekong River zone is a 3m-tall aquarium with a large underwater view of megafishes such as the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish and giant freshwater stingray.
The highlight of the Mekong River zone is a 3m-tall aquarium with a large underwater view of megafishes such as the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish and giant freshwater stingray.

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “We look forward to welcoming visitors to River Safari and bringing them up-close to the fascinating wildlife that live in river habitats, which are disappearing faster than forest and marine environments. As the first and only river-themed wildlife park in Asia, River Safari aims to highlight the importance of freshwater ecosystems and inspire positive actions for conserving them. In addition, we also seek to play a part in global captive breeding programmes for endangered freshwater species.”

During the soft opening phase, visitors can walk through River Safari’s freshwater galleries and immersive exhibits, including the world’s largest freshwater aquarium at the Amazon Flooded Forest and the Giant Panda Forest. The park’s boat rides will not be available until later this year as they are undergoing technical adjustments.

The world's largest freshwater aquarium at the Amazon Flooded Forest showcases a surreal world of manatees, fishes and other creatures swimming amongst giant trees, created every year during the rainy season when the river rises 30 to 40 feet.
The world’s largest freshwater aquarium at the Amazon Flooded Forest showcases a surreal world of manatees, fishes and other creatures swimming amongst giant trees, created every year during the rainy season when the river rises 30 to 40 feet.

River Safari opens daily from 9am to 6pm and tickets will be priced at S$35 (Adult), S$23 (Child between 3-12 years), and $17.50 (Senior citizen above 60 years). As the boat rides and some exhibits will not be ready until a later date, daily admission (refer to Appendix attached) during the soft opening phase will be priced at a discounted rate of S$25 (Adult), S$16 (Child between 3-12 years) and $12.50 (Senior citizen above 60 years). Visitors can purchase tickets at Singapore Zoo and River Safari’s ticket booth. River Safari extends free admission to beneficiaries of selected programmes by Voluntary Welfare Organisations (details on http://www.riversafari.com.sg).

From 3 April, visitors planning to see the giant pandas can do so only via River Safari. The current giant panda preview, which visitors pay a top-up fee in addition to Singapore Zoo admission ticket, will end on 31 March. Both pandas are housed at the Yangtze River zone that features the Yangtze alligator and the world’s largest amphibian – the Chinese giant salamander.

The highlight of the Yangtze River zone is the Giant Panda Forest – the largest panda exhibit in South East Asia – home to giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia.
The highlight of the Yangtze River zone is the Giant Panda Forest – the largest panda exhibit in South East Asia – home to giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia.

River Safari is designed and developed with the utmost concern for the environment, especially the Mandai Nature Reserve area where the park is situated. The park brings together the best in zoological architecture and design, with state-of-the-art exhibit artistry and technology to provide visitors with an immersive experience into the world of rivers and the landscapes they support. River Safari is the first attraction in Singapore to be conferred with the Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark Platinum Award in the park category.

More information can be found on www.riversafari.com.sg.

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED MEKONG GIANT CATFISH SPLASHES INTO RIVER SAFARI

Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park home to some of the world’s largest species of freshwater fish.

Singapore, 6 March 2013 – One of the many giants of River Safari – the Mekong giant catfish – moved into the soon-to-be-opened wildlife park today. This species is one of the world’s largest freshwater fish, capable of growing up to 3 metres in length and nearly 300 kilogrammes in weight.

Found mainly in the lower Mekong River in Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the Mekong Giant Catfish is critically endangered as a result of human activities such as overfishing, pollution and the looming construction of hydroelectric dams. Experts estimate that the total population has decreased by 90% in the last decade, with only a few hundred individuals remaining in the wild.

As Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park, River Safari aims to create a greater awareness of freshwater habitat conservation by bringing visitors up close to fascinating animals – like the Mekong Giant Catfish – that are dependent on freshwater habitats. In addition, through captive breeding programmes, River Safari hopes to contribute to the population of endangered freshwater species.

Aquarists prepare to move the Mekong Giant Catfish – one of the world’s largest species of freshwater fish – into its aquarium at the Mekong River zone of the soon-to-be-opened River Safari. The Mekong Giant Catfish in River Safari were obtained from the only captive breeder in Thailand and arrived at the park’s holding facility in May 2010.
Aquarists prepare to move the Mekong Giant Catfish – one of the world’s largest species of freshwater fish – into its aquarium at the Mekong River zone of the soon-to-be-opened River Safari. The Mekong Giant Catfish in River Safari were obtained from the only captive breeder in Thailand and arrived at the park’s holding facility in May 2010.
A group of school children were among the first to marvel at the aquarium which houses the Mekong Giant Catfish (centre, right), one of the largest species of freshwater fish, on the day they were moved into the soon-to-be-opened River Safari. The aquarium is the highlight of the Mekong River zone and will also feature other megafishes such as the Giant Freshwater Stingray.
A group of school children were among the first to marvel at the aquarium which houses the Mekong Giant Catfish (centre, right), one of the largest species of freshwater fish, on the day they were moved into the soon-to-be-opened River Safari. The aquarium is the highlight of the Mekong River zone and will also feature other megafishes such as the Giant Freshwater Stingray.
Despite its extraordinary size, the Mekong Giant Catfish (that can be seen at the soon-to-be opened River Safari) is a herbivore that lives on a diet of algae and other plants on the riverbed. River Safari aims to create a greater awareness of freshwater habitat conservation by bringing visitors up close to fascinating underwater and terrestrial animals that are dependent on freshwater habitats.
Despite its extraordinary size, the Mekong Giant Catfish (that can be seen at the soon-to-be opened River Safari) is a herbivore that lives on a diet of algae and other plants on the riverbed. River Safari aims to create a greater awareness of freshwater habitat conservation by bringing visitors up close to fascinating underwater and terrestrial animals that are dependent on freshwater habitats.