Charismatic additions to cat collection are getting preened to welcome visitors
Singapore Zoo’s new white tigers Pasha (below) and Keysa (above) enjoy an afternoon prowl in their habitat as part of a conditioning session to get them settled in their new home. The two-year-old brother and sister pair are part of an animal exchange programme with Indonesia’s Maharani Zoo. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.
Singapore, 3 March 2015 – Cat lovers are in for a roaring fur-filled experience as Singapore Zoo introduces a flurry of felines in the coming months. The new additions will include white tigers, cheetahs and an African lion.
First to make their public debut will be white tiger siblings Pasha and Keysa. The duo arrived from Indonesia’s Maharani Zoo on 15 January this year, and has since completed their month-long quarantine period. They are now being conditioned to the exhibit most afternoons, and spend their time sniffing and stalking every inch of the habitat. Once keepers are confident they are comfortable in their new home, they will be displayed on a regular basis.
Pasha the white tiger pauses to enjoy a sip of water, before continuing to explore his new habitat at Singapore Zoo. The 2-year old male and his sister Keysa are one of three feline species that have recently arrived at the park. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.
The two-year-old brother and sister pair will take turns with Omar, the zoo’s 15-year-old white tiger, to prowl the tiger habitat at different times of the day. As Omar is in his senior years, there are plans to further enhance the collection in the event he passes on.
Singapore Zoo welcomed four sleek and stunning cheetahs from De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre in South Africa in January 2015. Two of the four peer curiously at their surroundings during their month-long quarantine. Visitors will soon get to see these charismatic cats at Singapore Zoo’s Wild Africa section. Cheetahs are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.
Prepping themselves for their first appearance too, are two pairs of cheetahs. The two males Indiana and Obi, and two sisters Maya and Herculina, arrived from the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre on 14 January. The males will be introduced to the exhibit in early March, while the new females are being acquainted with Kima, the older cat in the Singapore Zoo collection. When they are eventually released into the habitat, visitors will likely only spot two or three cheetahs at any one time, as the sexes will be displayed separately in preparation for future breeding opportunities.
Visitors will have to wait a little longer for the mane event at the Zoo’s Wild Africa section. Timba, a two-year-old African male lion from Dierenpark Emmen in the Netherlands, is awaiting his harem of females, and will only be exhibited at a later date this year. The three females are scheduled to arrive in March.
Male African lion Timba may not be on display yet, but he is being kept occupied with operant conditioning sessions, including target training and whistle training, in the off-exhibit den. These sessions will make it easier for keepers and vets to conduct regular health checks in the future. African lions are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.
In the meantime, keepers have commenced the all-important medical training for Timba in the off-exhibit den. Aside from keeping him occupied and stimulated, the training is an important aspect of animal care in a modern zoo as it makes routine health checks less stressful for the animals, and is great for keeper-animal bonding.
Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “As part of our collection planning process, we routinely exchange captive-bred animals with other zoological institutions to ensure we have the appropriate numbers for exhibition and education purposes. New bloodlines are also essential to maintain genetic diversity which is all important for zoos to ensure sustainable captive populations.”
* IUCN stands for International Union for Conservation of Nature