– Over 8000 runners show up in race to pay homage to the late Ah Meng, Singapore Zoo’s orang utan as elephants, lions, and rhinoceros watch on.
Singapore, 16 February 2014 – Unlike the usual lazy Sunday morning spent lounging in the treetops, the orang utans in Singapore Zoo watched curiously as runners raced in the Safari Zoo Run 2014, which was conceived six years ago to commemorate their most famous matriarch, Ah Meng.
Over 8000 runners arrived at Singapore Zoo for the run to pay homage to the late Ah Meng, one of Singapore’s most loved and iconic animal personalities, which died of old age in February 2008. The race spans across Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, taking runners through lush green paths and enthralling animal exhibits.
The Safari Zoo Run also aids in wildlife conservation; a portion of the proceeds from this year’s race will go towards the care of endangered animals in Night Safari and Singapore Zoo.
Singapore, 6 September 2012 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) today announced that the two giant pandas from China have arrived safely. The giant pandas, Kai Kai (凯凯) and Jia Jia (嘉嘉), touched down at Changi Airport on board a Singapore Airlines Cargo Boeing 747 freighter at 8.20am after a five-hour flight.
“We are delighted that Kai Kai and Jia Jia have reached Singapore safe and sound. It is an honour to be entrusted with two of China’s national treasures and their arrival symbolises the strong ties and deep friendship between Singapore and China. It is an exciting time for tourism in Singapore, with the opening of new attractions like the River Safari. Kai Kai and Jia Jia will certainly generate great interest and excitement for visitors and Singaporeans alike. We will continue to strengthen our tourism value proposition with new and diversified tourism offerings to grow the tourism sector,” says Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry.
“With this captivating species as one of the main attractions at River Safari, we are anticipating at least 850,000 visitors annually. Through this collaborative programme with China Wildlife Conservation Association, WRS now has another opportunity to boost greater interest in the area of wildlife conservation by bringing visitors up close to the two giant pandas and hopefully inspiring them to care for threatened wildlife ecosystems around the world”, said Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman of WRS.
CapitaLand Limited, one of Asia’s largest real estate companies with a strong presence in China for over 15 years, has pledged a conservation donation to support the 10-year collaborative programme.
Mr Liew Mun Leong, President and CEO of CapitaLand Group, and Director of CapitaLand Hope Foundation, said: “CapitaLand’s role as the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the Giant Panda Collaborative Programme resonates with the Group’s core values of ‘People’ and ‘Community’. The programme provides an excellent platform to enhance cultural exchange and understanding between Singapore and China, and promote wildlife conservation education, CapitaLand is committed to sustainability in all our development projects in the geographies we operate and we are pleased to be part of this meaningful effort to conserve and share the beauty of wildlife with our future generations.”
Singapore Airlines, Official Airline Sponsor, has provided transportation for the pandas as well as air tickets for training and exchange programmes involving the team of panda caretakers’ from both Singapore and China.
“Singapore Airlines is pleased to have transported Kai Kai and Jia Jia comfortably to Singapore. We warmly welcome them to their new home at the River Safari, and are privileged to be playing our part in this significant conservation initiative,” said Mr Goh Choon Phong, CEO, Singapore Airlines.
Upon landing, the giant pandas were received by Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and representatives* from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Singapore; State Forestry Administration of the People’s Republic of China; CapitaLand Limited; CapitaLand Hope Foundation; Singapore Airlines; Temasek Holdings; Singapore Tourism Board; and Wildlife Reserves Singapore, who gathered at the cargo area to welcome the bears. Subsequently, the giant pandas were whisked away in a temperature-controlled truck to their quarantine enclosure in River Safari while the guests continued with the welcome ceremony at the Jet Quay CIP facility at Changi Airport.
During the ceremony, WRS Chairman Ms Claire Chiang presented VIP (Very Important Panda) passes to representatives from the State Forestry Administration of the People’s Republic of China, symbolic of the pandas’ new status as residents of River Safari.
Over at the entrance of River Safari, a crowd of close to 1000 guests and WRS staff were waiting expectantly at the driveway. They cheered enthusiastically as the truck containing the precious pandas approached, led by an escort jeep, six lion dancers and two panda mascots in the likeness of Kai Kai and Jia Jia.
Within 3 hours of landing in Singapore, Kai Kai and Jia Jia were smoothly transferred into their quarantine dens with careful coordination by the Chinese giant panda specialists and WRS zoology and veterinary teams. The team shared that the pair were calm and relaxed throughout the operation.
The giant pandas will be quarantined for a month before being released into their exhibit to explore and familiarise themselves with their new surroundings. Visitors can look forward to visiting Kai Kai and Jia Jia at the giant panda exhibit this December.
Kai Kai and Jia Jia will be in Singapore for 10 years as part of a joint collaboration between China Wildlife Conservation Association and WRS to raise public awareness on wildlife conservation and develop a breeding programme for these endangered animals. There are fewer than 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild. The pair of giant pandas also emphasises the close diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.
Singapore is the ninth country to receive giant pandas from China since 1994.
Singapore, 27 December 2011 – Award-winning parks Singapore Zoo and Night Safari will be transformed into a race course for Safari Zoo Run 2012, an annual run that takes participants through its scenic paths and interesting animal exhibits.
The run will be held on 5 February 2012 and is organised in its fourth consecutive year. The Safari Zoo Run was conceptualised to commemorate the death anniversary of orang utan Ah Meng, one of Singapore’s most adored animal personalities.
Energetic little ones and adults can participate in the 2.8km and 12km competitive run while families looking for a fun, healthy activity amidst the wilderness can take part in the 6km non-competitive Safari Zoo Fun Run. Unlike previous years, Safari Zoo Run 2012 will flag off participants in the morning instead of late afternoon.
This run not only offers families and individuals the opportunity to enjoy the wonders of the parks in a different way, it also aids in wildlife conservation as part of the proceeds will be donated to the care of endangered animals in the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.
Each participant will receive an exclusive Safari Zoo Run 2XU dry-fit tee (worth $55 for adults and $29.90 for kids) amongst other attractive goodies and discounts. In addition, all runners will each receive an exclusive animal-motif finisher medal and a one-day entry to the Singapore Zoo on the day of the run.
Attractive prizes worth up to $2,000 will be awarded to the top three winners in each category in the competitive segment.
Early bird registration is now open until 31 December 2011. For more information, please log on to www.safarizoorun.com.sg.
NIGHT SAFARI OPENS ONE OF ITS LATEST EXHIBITS TO BRING THE PUBLIC CLOSER TO THESE NATIVE CRITTERS
Singapore, 4 November 2011 – If you spot one of these shy and furry creatures right at your doorstep, don’t be alarmed. They are native, nocturnal animals called common palm civets, locally known as toddy cats, which live in our forests and parks. Five of these adorable toddy cats are currently on display at the Night Safari, boosting its collection of endangered native animals and enabling visitors to learn more about this species.
Visitors can now observe the toddy cats and their nocturnal foraging behaviour in a huge enclosure simulating a ‘kampong’ scene. To reflect the species’ history in Singapore, the exhibit features chicken coops, coconuts and baskets, which convey a typical village feel. The ‘kampong house’ is made of real thatched roofs and house plants that are commonly found in villages such as banana trees, serai and tapioca.
The toddy cat – known as musang in Malay – is one of the last wild carnivores which can still be seen around residential areas in Siglap and forests in Bukit Timah, the Central Catchment, Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong. They range in parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia. The animal earned its name from its apparent liking for the sap from palm trees that is used to produce the alcoholic drink, ‘toddy’.
The toddy cat enclosure covers a total area of over 126 m2 and is one of the latest exhibits to open at the Night Safari.
“We would like visitors to leave our parks with increased knowledge and awareness of wildlife conservation through our animal exhibits. In this case, we hope they will appreciate some of our native species such as the common palm civets, so as to minimise human-animal conflict in our urban environment. It is important that we preserve the natural wildlife of Singapore for future generations to come,” said Mr. Kumar Pillai, General Manager of Night Safari, which is operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), together with Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and the upcoming River Safari.
Another unique feature of the exhibit is that it has an educational interpretive where visitors can learn more about the plight of this wild resident of Singapore, whose natural habitat has been encroached by humans through the years. It also showcases items associated with the animal such as packets of kopi luwak, one of the world’s most expensive coffee beans produced from coffee berries that pass through the toddy cat’s digestive tract. Known to be excellent climbers with a preference to stay in trees, these Night Safari residents will also enjoy climbing up and down three finely crafted tree trunks and vines.
WRS is currently working with various governmental organizations such as the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore and National Parks Board to rehabilitate and relocate captured toddy cats. We have rehabilitated and released a total of 57 civets since 2009. More recently, WRS is looking into radio-collaring civets to be released into the wild to study their range, survival and integration of this species in the new habitat.
The Night Safari had collaborated with the National University of Singapore to study the toddy cat population, specifically in the Siglap and Opera Estate areas. The project aimed to educate and encourage residents to live harmoniously with these creatures of the night. Recently, a team from Night Safari also conducted a talk on these native animals to students at Temasek Junior College.
RIVER SAFARI WILL BE HOME TO THE ANDEAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK
Singapore, 3 August 2011 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) received eight stunning birds from Peru as part of a continuing partnership with the Republic of Peru through the Embassy of Peru in Singapore. This gift bears much significance as the species, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, is the country’s national bird.
The species Rupicola peruviana is a medium sized bird and is native to the Andean cloud forests in South America such as Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Considered to be one of the most spectacular birds in the world, the male is differentiated by its large disk-like crest and brilliant orange plumage.
WRS, which operates award winning wildlife parks, Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo, has a long standing relationship with the Embassy of Peru in Singapore, which began in 2002 when both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote cultural and biodiversity exchange.
“WRS is privileged to have received these spectacular birds, with the kind assistance of the Embassy of Peru, that was instrumental in facilitating the necessary approval processes. Peru is home to one of the largest rainforests in the world with a rich biological diversity. By bringing species native to Peru into Singapore, we hope to share the beauty of the ecosystem and educate visitors on the importance of wildlife conservation through these animals,” said Mr Biswajit Guha, Director, Zoology, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
“Peru is home to over 1,800 species of birds, the second highest in the world. The Andean Cock-of-the-Rock is Peru’s national bird and a representation of our country’s unique heritage. Through this exchange, we hope to introduce Singaporeans and other visitors to our rich and diverse wildlife as well as the importance of preserving our natural history,” said H.E. Armando Raúl Patiño Alvistur, Ambassador of Peru to Singapore.
Despite their striking appearance, these birds are difficult to spot in the wild as they are extremely shy and wary of their surroundings, preferring to stay in the trees to feed on fruits. This elusive forest inhabitant has an unusual mating ritual, which has become a highlight for tourists visiting Peru. Throughout the year, the males practice an elaborate dance to attract females to mate with. The dance is performed at a ‘lek’, a communal display area used by animals during courtship.
The birds are currently under quarantine at Jurong Bird Park and will eventually reside at the River Safari, WRS’ upcoming attraction slated to open in 2012. The birds will remain in their permanent habitat at River Safari’s Amazon River region, in a rainforest setting reminiscent of their Amazonian jungle home.
Singapore, 16 December 2010 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is taking on a fun – and soft – approach in its latest effort to spread the message of wildlife conservation. The parent company of the Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo, and the upcoming River Safari, has been appointed the exclusive distributor of YooHoo & Friends, a collection of soft plush toys that are cute, huggable and reflective of highly endangered animals in the wild.
Created by Aurora, one of the leading companies for high-end soft toy designs in the global gifts industry, these 8-inch plush creatures come in 33 different animal designs, which depict highly vulnerable species across the globe. These include the Iberian Lynx in Europe, Spectacled Bear in South America, Platypus in Oceania and Japanese Macaque in Asia. Currently, twelve designs have been put on sale at the Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo. These include best-sellers like the Fennec Fox and Fairy Penguin. WRS plans to bring in the other 19 designs in the coming months. They are also retailing at major shopping centers, including Takashimaya, N’BC stationery, BHG, Isetan as well as the Singapore Science Centre and Mount Faber Cable Car Station.
These little wildlife ambassadors have been a big hit with both the young and old, since they were first introduced as plush toys four years ago. There is even a Korean animated series, YooHoo & Friends, which was created to teach children the importance of protecting and conserving the environment.
Said Ms Linda Tan, Assistant Director, Retail, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, “We hope to draw the consumers’ attention to these doe-eyed endangered species, to spark interest and eventually bring the message of conservation in a lovable and fun way to the masses. WRS will be partnering with local departmental stores, retailers and organizations to make these plush toys readily available to the public. We also have plans to go regional by approaching zoos and wildlife parks across Asia to develop new distribution channels and spread the message of wildlife conservation.”
“Children will be drawn to the cuddly features of the toys while teenagers will find the innocent expressions most endearing. Adults will find solace in these small critters as they make ideal stress relievers,” she added.
YooHoo & Friends will make ideal gifts this festive season, particularly for young children as they fulfill international safety standards and specifications, including those set out by the EU Directive for Toy Safety, i.e. Standard EN71, and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Toy Safety.
Consumers and collectors can even look forward to a special Valentine’s Day edition that includes a 28-inch tall Bush Baby plush that will make its debut in January/February 2011. There will also be a limited edition Halloween collection in Q3 of 2011.
Singapore, 5 July 2010 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), Asia’s leading operator of world-class wildlife attractions, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), one of Singapore’s leading institutions of higher learning, today launched the Certificate Programme in Animal Management course.
This is Singapore’s first and only such programme that provides training in the care, handling and husbandry of animals. The comprehensive curriculum will cover mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians as well as exotic animals encountered in wildlife theme park settings. The principles of animal management and wildlife conservation will also be emphasised.
Launched with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between WRS and Ngee Ann’s School of Life Sciences and Chemical Technology, the programme will be the first of many exciting collaborations between the polytechnic and WRS, the parent company of award-winning attractions, such as Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming River Safari.
The new course will be jointly administered by the two parties. Ngee Ann will provide a strong foundation for the course, while more in-depth classes on topics such as wildlife nutrition and diet, social groupings and animal behaviour, as well as quarantine management and prophylactic medication will be conducted by WRS experts. The programme also includes modules on research techniques, public relations, conservation marketing and wildlife conservation.
WRS and Ngee Ann will also collaborate on Research & Development, staff exchange programmes, as well as internships and off-campus classes for students in Ngee Ann’s Diploma in Veterinary Bioscience (VBS) programme. WRS and Ngee Ann are also exploring the possibility of involving the VBS students as Volunteer Rangers, Conservation Ambassadors, Wildlife Buddies and Education Volunteers.
“The MOU marks an important step for WRS as we seek to develop the next generation of individuals who are passionate about wildlife and conservation,” said Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO of WRS. “A pillar of this partnership is the Certificate Programme in Animal Management course, which will be the only qualification available in Singapore and Southeast Asia that provides a foundation in the management skills required to run a successful wildlife institute. Animal management is an extremely specialised career and those in the industry often face unique challenges. We hope that by lending our expertise and vast experience in managing successful wildlife parks, we can provide keen and passionate students in Singapore and across the region, an opportunity to acquire the foundation and skills for conserving our world’s priceless animal species.”
”Ngee Ann Polytechnic is very proud to partner Wildlife Reserves Singapore to enhance the professionalism of the industry. The collaboration promises to be beneficial on several fronts, including education, training, and research. We will spare no effort to ensure the success of the new Certificate in Animal Management course, and look forward to launching a number of other exciting joint initiatives with Wildlife Reserves Singapore in the months ahead,” said Mr Chia Mia Chiang, Principal of Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
The one-year, part-time Certificate in Animal Management course will start in October 2010 with an expected intake of 25. Participants will need to complete six modules over the course of two semesters. To qualify for the course, participants need to have:
At least 2 GCE ‘O’ level subjects, including English, with a minimum grade of 7, excluding CCA, and/or
NTC-2/NITEC or ITC/Higher NITEC
Course fee: $2,600 per participant, excluding GST. WDA funding is available for this course.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Ms Claire Chiang, Chairperson of both WRS and WRSCF; Mr Ward W Woods, Chair of WCS and Dr Steven E Sanderson, President and CEO of WCS and Chair of WCS Singapore, in the presence of President S R Nathan, Patron of WRSCF.
This MOU marks the start of a stronger commitment to protect biodiversity, not just in Singapore, but in Asia and around the world. Through the joint commission, representatives from all four parties will co-operate to undertake field conservation projects and share best practices and technical expertise contributing to wildlife conservation. They will also collaborate to promote public education and increase awareness on conservation issues.
“At WRS, an unprecedented level of effort has been invested to conserve and protect biodiversity. To strengthen our commitment, WRSCF was established last year, primarily to conserve endangered native wildlife. This MOU represents another important step forward in our ongoing commitment to preserve our ecosystems and precious wildlife species, many of which are already threatened and in dire need of protection,” said Ms Chiang.
Established in 1895, the Wildlife Conservation Society has built a strong global conservation network to become the world’s most comprehensive conservation organisation. WCS currently manages about 500 conservation projects in more than 60 countries and educates millions of visitors on important issues affecting our planet at the five parks they manage in New York City, including the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo.
“Our new partnership with Wildlife Reserves Singapore represents an important step for WCS and the conservation of wildlife in Asia,” said Mr Woods. “WRS’ conservation efforts and programmes have won worldwide acclaim. We look forward to spearheading new initiatives together and developing a regional centre of excellence for the protection of Asia’s most endangered wildlife.”
“We share WCS’ clear mission to save wildlife and wild places across the globe. That is why I am so proud to be part of this joint collaboration to bring our conservation programme to the global arena. This partnership will pave the way for future collaborations and open many doors for all four parties to work towards their shared goal of protecting global biodiversity,” added Ms Chiang.
With this MOU, the four parties will coordinate efforts on research methodologies and the exchange of multiple sources of knowledge, leading to action plans for conservation, education and key priorities for the management of biodiversity. Working in Asia since the early 20th century, WCS has partnered with national and regional governments, local communities and other scientific organisations to protect Asia’s incredible diversity of wildlife and wild places — to bolster environmental policy, train new generations of environmental stewards, support sustainable livelihoods, and connect protected areas. Some notable WCS projects include: working with the government of Cambodia to establish the Seima Protection Forest, created to protect wildlife and conserve carbon; and an ongoing effort to save tigers across Asia (WCS is committed to increasing tiger populations by 50 percent across 10 landscapes by 2016).
In the areas of conservation and research, WRS parks in Singapore have undertaken multiple projects, which focus on species such as the oriental pied hornbill, pangolin and orang utan, through collaborations with various organisations and institutions. Recent conservation efforts include hosting a regional Asian pangolin conservation workshop. All WRS parks are designated wildlife rescue centres by the governing authority.
Singapore, June 11, 2008 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore will be hosting a Slow Loris Identification Training Workshop on June 13, 2008 at the Singapore Zoo. Through a combination of presentations and interactive learning, the day long training workshop aims to raise awareness of the slow loris’ endangered status. A total of 27 enforcement officials and Wildlife Reserves Singapore representatives are participating in the training workshop.
Mr Kumar Pillai, Assistant Director of Zoology, Night Safari said: “The workshop will present a golden opportunity for participants to learn more about slow lorises and wildlife conservation. Learning from an expert in the field will help us better educate the public about slow lorises in the future.”
Conducted by acclaimed conservationist Dr Anna Nekaris, of Oxford Brookes University, UK, the programme will address numerous topics related to the slow loris. Reasons behind its endangered status, slow loris taxonomy and morphology, and the identification of various slow loris species as well as its look-alikes are just some of the many topics that will be addressed. Additionally, a glimpse into the workings of the illegal wildlife trade, specifically with regards to common slow loris smuggling methods will be touched on.
Participating officials include those from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), National Parks Board (NParks), NUS Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research as well as representatives from the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.
The training workshop aims to ultimately contribute to a reduction in illegal slow loris trade and the inappropriate release of confiscated slow lorises.
Currently, Night Safari has 18 slow lorises, which can be seen along the Leopard Trail.