AH MENG AND FAMILY REVEL IN NEW HANGOUT AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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New orangutan free-ranging area features scenic views of the Upper Seletar Reservoir;
visitors have one more week to enjoy Ah Meng-zing activities at world-class attraction

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Image 1: Sumatran orang utan Ah Meng (extreme right), Singapore Zoo’s animal icon, looks unfazed by heights as she chills out in her new free-ranging area, which overlooks the scenic Upper Seletar Reservoir. Orangutans are the award-winning zoo’s flagship species, and over 40 of them have been born here. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 21 June 2016Singapore Zoo introduced their flagship orangutans to a new free-ranging area earlier this month, to complement the Ah Meng-zing experience, which happens every weekend this June. Overlooking the picturesque Upper Seletar Reservoir, the new space features hammocks and interconnecting vines for the orangutans to explore. An average of five orangutans hang out in the area daily to enjoy the treetop haven, while guests walking underneath them stop to gaze in wonder at the charismatic apes above.

Guests have one final weekend to enjoy the Ah Meng-zing experience, where Singapore Zoo transforms into a living classroom to show visitors, parents and children alike, the small things they can do to help save the planet and the animals that share it. Visitors can discover and appreciate wildlife through a diverse range of activities, including meet and greet sessions with larger than life mascots, inventive craft workshops, and enlightening animal enrichment trails. For more information about the June holiday activities, visit http://www.zoo.com.sg/ahmeng-zing/

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Image 2: [FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT] Bornean orangutans Binti and her baby Adi, and Nattu, lounge with [BACK ROW, FROM LEFT] Sumatran orangutans Endah and Ah Meng on the hammock at Singapore Zoo’s new orangutan free-ranging area PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

WORLD’S RAREST TORTOISES RACE AGAINST EXTINCTION AT SINGAPORE ZOO’S NEW TORTOISE SHELL-TER

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New exhibit a naturalistic sanctuary for the tortoises to display natural behaviour and breed;
Zoo celebrates World Turtle Day with special Keeper Talks for guests

Image 1: Great care was taken in designing Singapore Zoo’s Tortoise Shell-ter, now home to some of the world’s most threatened tortoises such as the critically endangered Ploughshare Tortoise (pictured above).Only 200 mature specimens are left in the wild, and survive in a 12 square km patch in Madagascar. Their decline in recent years is a result of poaching for the illegal pet trade. The species is at extreme risk of extinction in the wild within 10-15 years. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Image 2: Singapore Zoo has been successful in the conservation breeding and maintenance of an assurance colony of Southern River Terrapins (pictured above). More than 50 terrapins have been bred since 2007. Assurance colonies refer to the safeguarding of an endangered species under human care, in case the wild population is wiped out. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 20 May 2016 – Boosting Singapore Zoo’s efforts to save the world’s most threatened vertebrates from extinction is its newest exhibit—Tortoise Shell-ter. Guests at the park can now look forward to learning more about some of the world’s rarest tortoises and ongoing efforts to increase their dwindling numbers.

Tortoise Shell-ter showcases three critically endangered tortoise species—the Ploughshare Tortoise, Radiated Tortoise and Burmese Star Tortoise—making it one of Singapore Zoo’s exhibits with greater conservation and educational values. Other threatened species at the new attraction include the Elongated Tortoise and the Yellow-footed Tortoise. The naturalistic exhibits feature rock walls, habitat specific planting, and climate-controlled micro-habitats, including special lighting, heating with temperature gradient and humidity control, to create the ideal home away from home for these delicate species to thrive.

Some of these tortoises share their homes with other compatible reptiles, such as the Rock Monitor, Black and White Tegu, Green Iguana and Veiled Chameleon. This provides inter-species interaction, which is a great form of enrichment for the inhabitants, as well as providing a more interesting viewing experience to the guests.
In addition to featuring threatened species, Tortoise Shell-ter is also a sanctuary for some former-victims of the illegal wildlife trade, which have been confiscated and sent to Singapore Zoo, such as the Indian Star Tortoise.

In the wild, these land-dwelling reptiles’ shells (called carapaces) shield them against predators but they are no match for the combination of habitat loss and human exploitation, including unsustainable consumption and poaching for the illegal pet trade.
Aside from showcasing these chelonians at the Tortoise Shell-ter, Singapore Zoo also contributes to safeguarding the future of other threatened species of turtles through conservation breeding and the maintenance of assurance colonies. The latter refers to the safekeeping of endangered species populations under human care in case something happens to the already diminished numbers in the wild. Singapore Zoo has a good track record of breeding threatened chelonian species, both terrestrial (tortoises) and aquatic (turtles and terrapins) and has recently had the first hatching for the critically endangered Painted Terrapin. Other threatened species bred at the Zoo include the endangered Elongated Tortoise and Burmese Mountain Tortoise and the critically endangered Southern River Terrapin.

The park’s breeding programmes offer the possibility of reintroducing the animals to the wild whenever their safety can be ensured in their natural habitat. In addition, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) actively supports on-site and off-site breeding and reintroduction programmes in a few Southeast Asian countries. It also collaborates with trade monitoring organisations to raise awareness on illegal wildlife trade of tortoises.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Life Sciences Officer, WRS, said: “Within the span of just one human generation, many turtle and tortoise species have been decimated to near extinction through our activities. We are working in the zoo as well as in their native habitats to prevent these ancient creatures from disappearing from earth altogether. Through the Tortoise Shell-ter we would like to highlight their plights to our guests and to engage them to join us in our effort to save the species.”

World Turtle Day, observed every 23 May, aims to celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises, and their disappearing habitats around the world. To commemorate World Turtle Day this year, Singapore Zoo has lined up three special Keeper Talks for guests to find out more about these rare tortoises and their plight in the wild. Visitors will get to see the wild residents participating in a host of enrichment activities, and get up close and personal with the Indian star tortoise, the most confiscated tortoise in Singapore.

SINGAPORE ZOO RECEIVES BOOST TO ALDABRA GIANT TORTOISE CONSERVATION BREEDING PLAN

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Tortoises a precious gift from Mauritius to Singapore to mark
new air corridor between the two countries

Images 1 and 2: Casela (left) and Coco (right), two Aldabra giant tortoises, are a valuable addition to the Singapore Zoo’s living collection, and will boost the park’s breeding programme to increase the species’ captive numbers. The pair was presented as a gift from Mauritius to Singapore, to mark the new air corridor that opened between the two republic states late last year.
PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 17 March 2016Singapore Zoo is looking forward to making headway on its conservation breeding programme for Aldabra giant tortoises with the addition of two valuable specimens on 12 March 2016. The female tortoises were a gift from Mauritius to Singapore to mark the new air corridor that opened between the two republic states late last year.

Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam received a painting of the Aldabra giant tortoises from Mauritius Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and External Communications Charles Gaëtan Xavier-Luc Duval to mark the occasion.

Originating from Casela World of Adventures in Mauritius, the tortoises, named Casela and Coco, are currently housed in Singapore Zoo’s quarantine facility where they will remain for a month. They will then be moved to the Aldabra giant tortoise exhibit permanently to join their fellow species, and prepare for future breeding opportunities.

Casela was named after Casela World of Adventures, while Coco draws her name from coconuts, a prominent feature of Mauritian beaches.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “Aldabra giant tortoises are among the longest-lived animals on the planet, individuals can live to well over 100 years but sadly the species is threatened with extinction in the wild. We warmly welcome the addition of Casela and Coco to our existing herd of six giant tortoises as they will be a great boost to our breeding programme for this charismatic gentle giants.”

Aldabra giant tortoises are listed as vulnerable under the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. These giants are characterised by a thick dome-shaped carapace and feed on vegetables. One of the largest giant tortoise species in the world, a fully-grown specimen can weigh up to 250kg. The two newly-arrived ladies weigh approximately 110kg each.

The Aldabra giant tortoise, which originates from the island of Seychelles, is the only remnant of some 18 species of tortoises that once thrived in the Indian Ocean region. They were introduced to Mauritius after a recommendation from eminent naturalist Charles Darwin in the late 19th century.

* IUCN stands for International Union for Conservation of Nature

Images 1 and 2: Casela (left) and Coco (right), two Aldabra giant tortoises, are a valuable addition to the Singapore Zoo’s living collection, and will boost the park’s breeding programme to increase the species’ captive numbers. The pair was presented as a gift from Mauritius to Singapore, to mark the new air corridor that opened between the two republic states late last year.
PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

OVER 8,500-STRONG CROWD GO APE OVER NEW AH MENG AT SAFARI ZOO RUN 2016

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Ah Meng’s legacy lives on in granddaughter and annual run at Night Safari and Singapore Zoo; Safari Zoo Run 2016 marks public debut of newly crowned Ah Meng

Singapore, 27 February 2016 — Over 8,500 participants will pay homage to Singapore Zoo’s newly crowned animal ambassador Ah Meng over the weekend of 27 and 28 February 2016 as they race through the lush forested trails of Mandai in the eighth instalment of Safari Zoo Run, a race conceptualised to celebrate the life of the first Ah Meng.

Guest of Honour, Mr S Dhanabalan, Chairman of Mandai Safari Park Holdings, flagged off the first race before meeting with Ah Meng, who was officially crowned only one day earlier in a private event. Lucky runners also got a closer glimpse of the new queen of the jungle as she descended from her treetop throne.

Mr Mike Barclay, CEO of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, joined the action and ran alongside runners in the 10km competitive category. Families could enjoy the more manageable 5.5km run. Races on Day 2 include the 5.5km competitive and family runs, and 2.5km kids and family dashes. Participants over both days also get to enjoy appearances by animal mascots, educational show and tell sessions and animal photography opportunities after their races.

Safari Zoo Run was conceived eight years ago and celebrates the life of Ah Meng, Singapore Zoo’s iconic Sumatran orangutan, who died of old age in February 2008. Her popularity was so great that to many Singaporeans, the name Ah Meng is synonymous with orangutans. Singapore Zoo introduced a new Ah Meng, eight years after the first passed on, in hopes that her legacy will live on and her descendants can continue to be animal ambassadors to inspire people to care for orangutans and other threatened species.

A part of the proceeds from Safari Zoo Run 2016 will go towards aiding the conservation efforts of Singapore Zoo and Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Image 1 - Safari Zoo Run 2016_WRSImage 1: Guest-of-Honour Mr S Dhanabalan, Chairman of Mandai Safari Park Holdings (extreme left), flags off Safari Zoo Run’s first run of the day – the 10km competitive race. He is accompanied by Ms Isabel Cheng, Chief Marketing Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (third from left) and the Ah Meng mascot.

PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Image 2 - Safari Zoo Run 2016_WRSImage 2: Mr S Dhanabalan, Chairman of Mandai Safari Park Holdings (extreme right), meets Singapore Zoo’s freshly minted royalty, Ah Meng (second orangutan from left), who will carry on the legacy of her grandmother and be an ambassador for the park and her species. Looking on are Alagappasamy Chellaiyah, primate specialist, Singapore Zoo (second from right), and Kumaran Sesshe, head keeper, great apes, Singapore Zoo (third from right).

PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Image 3 - Safari Zoo Run 2016_WRSImage 3: Kumaran Sesshe, head keeper, great apes, Singapore Zoo, points out the new Ah Meng to excited participants who were taking a breather from their 10km race in this year’s instalment of the wildly popular Safari Zoo Run.

PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

NEW AH MENG MAKES HER MARK AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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Singapore Zoo’s well-known orangutan lives on as her granddaughter steps into her footprints; New icon said to resemble grandmother in her younger days, exhibits traits of a matriarch

Image 1 [LEFT] Formerly known as Ishta, the new Ah Meng steps boldly into her grandmother’s footprints to continue the legacy left behind by the original icon.

Image 2 [RIGHT] Ah Meng’s first role as the newly crowned ambassador of Singapore Zoo was to cast a handprint in clay for posterity. Mr Alagappasamy Chellaiyah, Primate Specialist, Singapore Zoo (left), Mr Mike Barclay, CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (centre) and Mr Kumaran Sesshe, head keeper, great apes, Singapore Zoo proudly show off Ah Meng’s handprint. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 26 February 2016 – Ah Meng lives on at Singapore Zoo, as the much-awaited animal icon was revealed today ahead of Safari Zoo Run 2016, a race originally conceptualised to honour Singapore’s favourite orangutan. Formerly known as Ishta, the new queen of the jungle will officially begin her reign as Singapore Zoo’s animal ambassador.

The first Ah Meng was Singapore Zoo’s famous matriarch and one of Singapore’s most adored personalities. As a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan and one of the most iconic in the Zoo’s collection, Ah Meng was an excellent ambassador for her species and all threatened animals. Her role as Singapore’s first non-human tourism ambassador brought fame to Singapore Zoo and in turn, helped open people’s eyes to the plight of orangutans in the wild.

Although she passed on in 2008, she left behind many legacies, in the form of her offspring and their kin, and the passing on of her nurturing qualities as a super mom to the younger orangutans. She is survived by six family members in Singapore Zoo

Ishta is the natural choice and the perfect candidate to carry on Ah Meng’s name. Aside from having a strong resemblance to her famous grandmother, she exhibits the makings of a matriarch—patience, tolerance towards the other orangutans, and a friendly personality.

Born on 8 March 2011, she is the first offspring of Ah Meng’s late daughter Sayang and Galdikas, a male orangutan from Frankfurt Zoo. When Sayang fell ill, Ishta was fostered by her cousin Chomel who was then raising Bino, her biological son. Ishta also has a biological sister, Endah.

Like her grandmother, she savours durians and is a sociable and affectionate orangutan, both towards her kind and her keepers. Her best friend is Bino, and the pair is often seen wildly traversing the vines and branches of the free-ranging orangutan habitat together. She takes after her grandmother not just in appearance but has the same appreciation for cleanliness.

Mr Mike Barclay, CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “Orangutans have been synonymous with Singapore Zoo from the day our gates opened. No story about Singapore Zoo is complete without a mention of these charismatic apes, with Ah Meng being the greatest of them all. It is fitting that her legacy endures through her kin, so we can continue talking to people about the threats facing Asia’s only great ape and seek to inspire them to take action to help conserve our orangutans’ wild cousins.”

Mr Alagappasamy Chellaiyah, former Zoology Assistant Director and lifelong caretaker of Ah Meng, said, “Many Singaporeans shared a special love story with Ah Meng for over three decades, and I’m privileged to have been her keeper since the day she arrived. Till today, people come up to me and say they remember Ah Meng, not just locals but tourists as well. It is hard to believe that she had such a great impact on so many people. I’m thrilled that Ah Meng’s name, and legacy, will live on through Ishta.”

While the new Ah Meng may have big footprints to fill, she seems to be taking it all in her stride. Although still young, she is already accustomed to engaging guests during Singapore Zoo’s signature dining programme—Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife, and looks set to swing into the hearts of Singaporeans in years to come.

To celebrate the crowning of the new queen, a series of illustrations which captures the various facets of her personality has been developed. These depict her in various poses and should further endear the new Ah Meng to people of all ages.

Singapore Zoo is home to 27 orangutans, eight of which are Sumatran while the rest are of the Bornean species. The population of Sumatran orangutans in the wild is estimated at fewer than 7,000, making this species critically endangered. Borneans number about 50,000 in the wild and are listed as endangered

The park’s highly successful global conservation breeding programme has seen more than 40 births in the past 42 years. Of these, some have been sent to various zoos in Malaysia, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka as part of a global exchange programme.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which manages Singapore Zoo, supports several in-situ orangutan conservation projects in Kalimantan—either through funding, staff expertise, or provision of much-needed veterinary supplies and equipment. To help further preserve orangutan habitats in the wild, all food and beverage outlets in Wildlife Reserves Singapore parks use only sustainable palm oil.

Ah Meng will meet visitors four times weekly at Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife, and also at selected photography sessions. Outside these activities, Ah Meng can be spotted swinging about or chilling in the free-ranging orangutan habitat.

Image 3 [LEFT]: Ah Meng shares a tender moment with Mr Kumaran Sesshe, Head Keeper of great apes, Singapore Zoo. She will turn five years old this March, and is the granddaughter of the first Ah Meng, who died of old age in February 2008.

Image 4 [RIGHT]: The newly crowned Ah Meng will meet visitors four times weekly at Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife and at selected photography sessions. Outside these activities, she can be spotted swinging about or chilling in the free-ranging orangutan habitat. The critically endangered Sumatran orangutan is the new animal ambassador of Singapore Zoo. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

ANIMAL RESIDENTS ENJOY FESTIVE TREATS TO USHER IN YEAR OF THE MONKEY

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Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo roll out enrichment goodies
for wild residents from 6 to 9 Feb 2016

SINGAPORE, 22 January 2016 – The wild residents at Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo are ready to swing into the Year of the Monkey with festive enrichment treats specially created by doting keepers. From 6 to 9 February 2016, guests at the four wildlife parks can catch the amusing antics of animals, including a singing parrot wishing everyone “Gong Xi Fa Cai” and giant pandas enjoying their favourite food from larger-than-life ang pows.

For some serious monkey business, head down to Singapore Zoo which is home to over 30 monkey species. Some of the world’s rarest monkeys like the cotton-top tamarin, Javan langur and golden-headed lion tamarin will receive festive enrichment treats that tease their curiosity and test their problem-solving skills. As the monkeys chomp, dig and crunch their way through festive delights such as oranges, nuts and seeds, guests can marvel at their nimble and agile movements, adore their stunning features, or just snap away for a photo memory.

Other festivities across the four wildlife parks include acrobatic lion dance performances, meet and greet sessions with God of Fortune and Fu Lu Shou mascots, and a Zoodiac trail for guests to discover their fortune forecast in the Year of the Monkey.

CNY Enrichment - Golden-headed lion tamarins @Singapore Zoo 1  CNY Enrichment - Golden-headed lion tamarins @Singapore Zoo 2
Images 1-2: This Lunar New Year, swing over to Singapore Zoo and catch the cute antics of palm-sized monkeys such as the endangered golden-headed lion tamarins as they chomp, dig and crunch their way through festive delights. All four wildlife parks – Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo – will roll out festive activities for guests from 6 to 9 February 2016. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

CNY Enrichment - Javan langurs @Singapore Zoo 1   CNY Enrichment - Javan langurs @Singapore Zoo 2
Images 3-4: This Lunar New Year, swing over to Singapore Zoo and catch the cute antics of monkeys such as the threatened Javan langur enjoying festive enrichment treats that tease their curiosity and test their problem-solving skills. All four wildlife parks – Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo – will roll out festive activities for guests from 6 to 9 February 2016. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

ACTIVITIES AT A GLANCECNY Table.jpg

 

For more information, visit wildcny.sg

 

JURONG BIRD PARK, NIGHT SAFARI, RIVER SAFARI AND SINGAPORE ZOO REPORT OVER 700 ANIMAL BIRTHS AND HATCHINGS IN 2015

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Over a third of the babies are native or Southeast Asian species, affirming the parks’ bid to conserve biodiversity in Singapore and Southeast Asia

WRS SZ - Chomel, a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan, gave birth to a male on 16 September 2015. Orangutans are Singapore Zoo’s flagship species - 2

Over 700 animal babies were born or hatched in Wildlife Reserves Singapore parks in 2015. Chomel, a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan, gave birth on 16 September 2015. The male baby is Chomel’s second offspring—her first son, Bino, is now five years old. Young orangutans will remain with their mother for several years until they learn the necessary skills to live independently. Orangutans are Singapore Zoo’s flagship species. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Singapore, 12 January 2016 – More than 700 furry, feathery and scaly young across 150 species were born or hatched in Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari, and Singapore Zoo in 2015. Among them, over 40 species are listed as threatened under the *IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy CEO and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “Each of these births and hatchings is significant and is part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s efforts to conserve threatened wildlife, particularly in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Breeding under human care allows us to maintain sustainable populations without having to collect from the wild, and our living collection serves to inspire positive actions in people to conserve our environment and biodiversity.”

Among the most exciting births of the year is that of a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan born on 16 September 2015. The primate is the great-grandson of Singapore Zoo’s late icon, Ah Meng. To date, over 40 orangutans have been born in Singapore Zoo. To facilitate the breeding of these charismatic apes and ensure genetic diversity, orangutans born in the park have been sent to zoological institutions in Malaysia, India, Vietnam, Japan, Australia and New Zealand as part of a worldwide exchange programme.

WRS SZ - Ayana, which means blossoming beauty, is Singapore Zoo’s latest pygmy hippopotamus addition. She was born on 11 April 2015

Ayana, which means blossoming beauty, is Singapore Zoo’s latest pygmy hippopotamus addition. She was born on 11 April 2015 and is the 11th offspring of parents Bubu and Minah. 23 pygmy hippopotamuses have been born in Singapore Zoo in the past 42 years. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

2015 also saw the births of critically endangered cotton-top tamarins, a species of tiny primates, and endangered Southern white rhinoceros and pygmy hippopotamus in Singapore Zoo. The park has an exceptionally impressive track record with all three species, welcoming over 80 cotton-top tamarins, 16 Southern white rhinoceroses and 23 pygmy hippopotamuses in the past 42 years.

WRS RS - River Safari saw two new additions of emperor tamarins – tiny primates with outstanding “facial hair”

River Safari saw two new additions of emperor tamarins – tiny primates with outstanding “facial hair”. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

River Safari welcomed another manatee calf in October, bringing the park’s total herd to 13 individuals. The park also saw the hatchings of unusual amphibians like the fire-bellied newt, a species of small newt native to China, and the births of capybara, super-sized rodents native to South America.

Animal births in Night Safari were particularly exciting as many of the species are from Singapore or Southeast Asia, like Malayan sambar deer, Malayan bearded pig, binturong, hog badger, and the endangered Burmese brow-antlered deer.

Moving beyond the region, Night Safari saw three births of Indian crested porcupines in two years. The park also welcomed two pups to its cackle of spotted hyenas, bringing the park’s total to 11.

WRS NS - Night Safari’s cackle of spotted hyenas added two more to their family in October. Born fully black, the pups slowly develop spots characteristic of the species within months of birth

Night Safari’s cackle of spotted hyenas added two more to their family in October. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Jurong Bird Park continues to be actively involved in the breeding of threatened species, with the hatchings of two Bali mynahs and eight Luzon bleeding-heart doves. The park works closely with Avilon Zoo and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the Philippines and Begawan Foundation in Bali, Indonesia, to increase the off-site numbers of these precious birds. The Bali mynah additions in 2015 are particularly special as it is the first time these chicks are hand-raised. All progenies will eventually be sent back to their respective home countries to be released into the wild.

Also joining the park’s avian collection is the lesser bird-of-paradise, the first successful hatching in over a decade. These birds, prized for their beautiful plumage, are notoriously hard to breed in captivity because of their unique courtship rituals prior to mating.

Dr Cheng added, “Captive breeding programmes play an important role in conserving threatened animal species whose numbers are declining as a result of activities like habitat destruction and poaching.  Some of them can be valuable assurance colonies against extinction in the wild, with the aim of ultimate release back to nature, while all of them are ambassadors representing their relatives in the wild.”

*International Union for Conservation of Nature

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