WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE URGES PUBLIC TO TAKE A STAND AGAINST ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE

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Real-life inspired images and anecdotes of animals expose bleak nature of illegal wildlife trade;
Wildlife Reserves Singapore calls for public to take action

YouBuyTheyDie - Cockatoo

SINGAPORE, 10 March 2016 – Cockatoos stuffed in bottles to be smuggled as pets, and pangolin babies taken from their mothers’ wombs to meet the insatiable demand for exotic medicine and food delicacies—these are disturbing but true accounts of animals being transported for the illegal wildlife trade. By highlighting the fate of these animals in the second instalment of the You Buy, They Die campaign, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) hopes to rally the public to take a stand against the illegal wildlife trade.

From 10 March to 6 April 2016, commuters taking buses and trains will come across harsh but realistic images of animals being transported for the illegal wildlife trade: cockatoos stuffed in plastic bottles where two out of five do not survive, and pangolins crushed against limbs and choking under mangled bodies. These visuals can be seen on train windows and bus stops around the island, as well as educational interpretive at Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo.

Dr Sonja Luz, Director, Conservation and Research, WRS, said: “The illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion dollar business with devastating consequences for wild animal populations and ecosystems. Many species suffer greatly in the process. With this campaign, we hope to empower the public to take action and help us change their fate. Our ultimate goal is to stop the demand and that will only happen if everyone understands the problem, spreads the word and takes action by making informed decisions when offered wildlife or wildlife products.”

YouBuyTheyDie - Pangolin

To encourage engagement, the advertisements contain QR codes for commuters to scan with their mobile phones, immerse in a 360˚ experience that showcases the brutal smuggling process, and put an end to the cycle of death by declaring their pledges at ChangeTheirFate.sg. Those who pledge can immediately see the brighter future they have made for wildlife, with visuals of animals seen in their natural habitats and maintaining balance in the ecosystem.

Rising affluence, increasing purchasing power and globalisation all spell trouble for wildlife as the growing demand for exotic meat, body parts, traditional medicine, pets and luxury items, directly causes drastic declines in wildlife numbers.

Possible Singapore is the creative agency behind the campaign. The latest initiative is WRS’ second instalment of the You Buy, They Die anti-wildlife crime campaign launched in 2015 to educate the public on how their buying decisions can support the conservation of endangered wildlife. Members of the public who have information on illegal wildlife activities are advised to make a report immediately to the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). In addition, they can also download the free Wildlife Witness App, created in partnership with the Taronga Conservation Society Australia and wildlife monitoring network TRAFFIC.

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

SAFARI ZOO RUN 2016 TO MARK DEBUT OF NEW AH MENG AT SINGAPORE ZOO

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New icon is closely related to Singapore Zoo’s well-known orangutan; Eighth instalment of popular run will span weekend of 27 and 28 February 2016

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Safari Zoo Run 2016 participants will be able to catch a glimpse of the new Ah Meng when they take part in this year’s instalment of the wildly popular run on 27 and 28 February. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 8 January 2016 – A new queen of the wild will look upon the human race at Safari Zoo Run 2016 in Singapore Zoo and reign as the much-awaited animal icon.

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Ah Meng, Singapore Zoo’s beloved Sumatran orangutan who passed away in February 2008, left behind six descendants, one of whom has been identified as the new Singapore Zoo icon. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

The passing of Ah Meng, Singapore Zoo’s famous matriarch and one of Singapore’s most adored personalities, in 2008 left a void in the hearts of many animal lovers and regular zoo visitors. All orangutans in Singapore are commonly referred to as “Ah Meng”. In her memory, the Safari Zoo Run was conceived in 2009.

Ahead of the Safari Zoo Run 2016, Singapore Zoo has identified the orangutan that reign and continue Ah Meng’s legacy.

The upcoming icon is said to share some similarities with her famous predecessor, like a penchant for durians, a big heart for her family, and endearing eyes.  More nuggets about her personality will be shared when the date for Safari Zoo Run draws near.

Safari Zoo Run, Singapore’s wildest race, returns with competitive and family-oriented runs during the weekend of 27 and 28 February 2016. Avid runners can look forward to 10km and 5.5km races while families looking to bond over a healthy walk amidst nature can enjoy a more leisurely pace with the 5.5km or 2.5km family dashes.

The races will transport runners past animal exhibits through scenic paths lined by greenery in Night Safari and Singapore Zoo. A host of carnival festivities awaits family participants after their race, with cheeky animal mascots, educational show and tell sessions, and animal photography opportunities.

The run aims to encourage family bonding and raise awareness on wildlife conservation, with a part of the proceeds going towards aiding the conservation efforts of Singapore Zoo and Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Each participant will receive exclusive Safari Zoo Run apparel and other attractive goodies including Singapore Zoo and River Safari admission, discount vouchers to Jurong Bird Park and Night Safari, and exclusive F&B and retail offers. In addition, all runners will walk away with an exclusive animal-motif finisher medal.

Registration closes on 31 January 2016. For more information, log on to http://www.safarizoo.run.

Details at a glance
Dates and times:
Safari Zoo 10km Challenge / 5.5km Family Run
27 February 2015 (Saturday)
Races    :  7.30am – 12.00pm

Safari Zoo 5km Challenge / 2.5km Kids Dash / 2.5km Family Dash
28 February 2015 (Sunday)
Races    : 7.30am – 12.00pm

Venue:    Night Safari and Singapore Zoo
80 Mandai Lake Road
Singapore 729826

TALLEST SG50 BABY SPOTTED IN SINGAPORE ZOO

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First giraffe calf in 28 years officially debuts at Wild Africa zone

Singapore Zoo’s first giraffe calf in 28 years looks curiously around his exhibit. The male calf, born on 31 August this year, is the first for mom Roni, and dad Growie, which arrived in Singapore Zoo in 2005, from Israel and the Netherlands respectively.  PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore Zoo’s first giraffe calf in 28 years looks curiously around his exhibit. The male calf, born on 31 August this year, is the first for mom Roni, and dad Growie, which arrived in Singapore Zoo in 2005, from Israel and the Netherlands respectively.
PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 12 November 2015 — Singapore Zoo proudly welcomed its first giraffe calf in 28 years on 31 August this year. At a statuesque 1.9 metres, he is the tallest SG50 baby, and is a symbol of Singapore soaring to new heights in the years following its Jubilee celebration.

The calf is the first offspring of both mom Roni and dad Growie, which arrived in Singapore Zoo in 2005, from Israel and the Netherlands respectively. The unnamed calf has since grown 40cm, and now stands at 2.3 metres.

During the calf’s first month, zookeepers kept them separated from the rest of the giraffe herd to allow mother and baby to bond, and to ensure the calf was nursing properly. Keepers also needed time to baby-proof the exhibit as a safety precaution before allowing the calf to explore its new surroundings. Existing barriers had to be modified to ensure the baby can explore the exhibit safely.

Gradually, mother and baby were reintroduced to the other two giraffes in the herd—Growie, the father, and Lucy, an unrelated female, which arrived in Singapore together with Roni. The conditioning process took close to three weeks, as keepers wanted to ensure the calf was accepted by the herd. All four are now comfortably sharing the exhibit and can regularly be seen grooming each other to strengthen their bonds.

Aside from the mother’s milk, the calf can now be seen nibbling on leaves and chopped vegetables such as carrots. He now spends his days exploring and running around in the exhibit at the Zoo’s Wild Africa zone. While he’s starting to get used to passing trams and visitors, he will still race back to the safety of mom’s towering presence when faced with something unfamiliar.

Roni the giraffe bonds with her new male calf, born on 31 August this year. The baby, the first in 28 years, is the tallest SG50 Jubilee baby and can now be seen with the rest of the giraffe herd in Singapore Zoo’s Wild Africa zone. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Roni the giraffe bonds with her new male calf, born on 31 August this year. The baby, the first in 28 years, is the tallest SG50 Jubilee baby and can now be seen with the rest of the giraffe herd in Singapore Zoo’s Wild Africa zone.
PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

“Animal babies are always a cause for celebration as they are a good indication that the animals under our care feel comfortable and secure enough to breed in the environment that we’ve created for them. We hope the calf will tug at visitors’ heartstrings and inspire them to find out more about giraffes, and other animals that thrive in the same environment as these majestic creatures,” said Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Although listed as least concern on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species, habitat destruction and fragmentation are threats to giraffe populations. To a lesser degree, they are hunted for their meat, coat and tails. The tail is prized for good luck bracelets, fly whisks and string for sewing beads, while the coat is used for shield coverings.

The baby giraffe is adopted by GROW growing-up milk from Abbott Laboratories (Singapore) Pte Ltd. There are plans to conduct a naming contest to find a suitable name for the little one in coming months.

Those visiting Singapore Zoo are encouraged to take photos of the new addition and upload them with the hashtag #sg50babygiraffe. Visitors can follow updates on the baby giraffe’s development at www.zoo.com.sg/sg50babygiraffe.

*IUCN: International Union for the Conservation of Nature

GET TO KNOW ANIMALS NATIVE TO SINGAPORE AT NIGHT SAFARI THIS SEPTEMBER

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Local visitors enjoy 50% discount on admission from Sundays to Thursdays as part of SG50 celebrations

Night Safari is home to two Sunda slow lorises, a nocturnal and arboreal primate native to Singapore with an extremely slow metabolic rate. Due to its attractive appearance, the slow loris is greatly threatened by the pet trade, even though its bite is known to be venomous. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Night Safari is home to two Sunda slow lorises, a nocturnal and arboreal primate native to Singapore with an extremely slow metabolic rate. Due to its attractive appearance, the slow loris is greatly threatened by the pet trade, even though its bite is known to be venomous. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

25 August 2015, SINGAPORE – As Singapore celebrates her 50th anniversary of independence, take a walk on the wild side at Night Safari and get to know animals native to the island, like the Sunda slow loris, Sunda pangolin, mousedeer, and the elusive wild colugo.

Better known as Sang Kancil in Malay folklore, lesser mousedeer are the world’s smallest hoofed mammal. Look out for them along Night Safari’s Fishing Cat Trail. Mousedeer reach sexual maturity at five to six months, and females have been known to give birth to a single offspring at any time of year. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Better known as Sang Kancil in Malay folklore, lesser mousedeer are the world’s smallest hoofed mammal. Look out for them along Night Safari’s Fishing Cat Trail. Mousedeer reach sexual maturity at five to six months, and females have been known to give birth to a single offspring at any time of year. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “In heavily urbanised Singapore, few people know about our island’s wilder side and the fascinating indigenous species that inhabit our wild places. As we celebrate 50 years of achievements since independence, it is also a good time to appreciate that much of our natural heritage is precious and worthy of our conservation. In Night Safari, one of Singapore’s inventions and gifts to the world, many of these creatures can be observed in comfort and safety. Some of these are part of our collection, some are wild denizens such as the colugos.”

Night Safari has earned the distinction of being the first in the world to exhibit and breed the critically-endangered Sunda pangolin. Three babies have been successfully bred in the park since the exhibit opened in 2009. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Night Safari has earned the distinction of being the first in the world to exhibit and breed the critically-endangered Sunda pangolin. Three babies have been successfully bred in the park since the exhibit opened in 2009. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Zoogeographically, Singapore is part of the Sunda biodiversity hotspot, which means it has a very high number of species and they are found nowhere else in the world. It is imperative to protect native flora and fauna to keep the balance of nature. The more an individual understands the natural world, the stronger the push to safeguard the habitat for future generations. Through the years, Night Safari has helped to protect native species through several initiatives including the Common Palm Civet Project, which started in 2009 to mitigate the escalating human-civet conflict. Night Safari also hosted the ‘Scaling up Pangolin Conservation’ conference in 2013 to map out solutions for the global decline of pangolins.

If a trek through a jungle does not appeal, then traipse down to Night Safari—the world’s first wildlife park created to allow observation of wildlife at night —for a wildly exciting journey to spot, learn and appreciate the denizens of Singapore’s local forests.

Another interesting indigenous species is the Malayan porcupine, which can be found along Night Safari’s Leopard Trail. In Singapore, it has been recently recorded on Pulau Tekong. This prickly rodent is known to rattle its quills when startled or excited. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Another interesting indigenous species is the Malayan porcupine, which can be found along Night Safari’s Leopard Trail. In Singapore, it has been recently recorded on Pulau Tekong. This prickly rodent is known to rattle its quills when startled or excited. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE.

Local residents enjoy 50% admission discounts from Sundays to Thursdays in September. For more information and terms and conditions, visit www.nightsafari.com.sg

INDIGENOUS ANIMALS FEATURED IN “BIODIVERSITY IS US” PROJECT

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WRS creates localised version of global biodiversity campaign; Sunda pangolin, oriental pied hornbill among animals featured

Wildlife Reserves Singapore head vet Dr Serena Oh gives her daughter Megan a piggy back ride, much like how mother pangolins cart their young around, in the local rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project with a series of photos that depicts how humans and animals are closely connected. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Wildlife Reserves Singapore head vet Dr Serena Oh gives her daughter Megan a piggy back ride, much like how mother pangolins cart their young around, in the local rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project with a series of photos that depicts how humans and animals are closely connected. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 27 June 2015 — Indigenous animals that live in the tropical rainforests, mangroves or coral ecosystems of Singapore take center stage in Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project, with a series of photos that depicts how humans and animals are closely connected.

Featuring Singapore’s fauna like the critically endangered Sunda pangolin, oriental-pied hornbill, tokay gecko, crab-eating macaques and knobbly sea stars, the project serves to share knowledge of the environment and the amazing array of life on our planet, and the simple actions that individuals can do to protect it.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation & Research Manager Jessica Lee displays how humans and oriental pied hornbills are closely connected in the local rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project, which serves to share knowledge of the environment and the amazing array of life on our planet, and the simple actions individuals can do to protect it. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation & Research Manager Jessica Lee displays how humans and oriental pied hornbills are closely connected in the local rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project, which serves to share knowledge of the environment and the amazing array of life on our planet, and the simple actions individuals can do to protect it. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Visitors to the Festival of Biodiversity on 27 and 28 June at Vivocity can visit the Wildlife Reserves Singapore booth to learn more about Biodiversity is Us, and have their pictures taken for their own Biodiversity is Us e-poster. The public can also download the free Biodiversity is Us app to learn about 400 animal species, take part in games and quizzes, build animal checklists and more.

Singapore Zoo’s Deputy Head reptile keeper Jose Pedro Cairos displays how humans and tokay geckos are closely connected in the local rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project, which serves to share knowledge of the environment and the amazing array of life on our planet, and the simple actions individuals can do to protect it. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore Zoo’s Deputy Head reptile keeper Jose Pedro Cairos displays how humans and tokay geckos are closely connected in the local rendition of the “Biodiversity is Us” project, which serves to share knowledge of the environment and the amazing array of life on our planet, and the simple actions individuals can do to protect it. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Biodiversity is Us is initiated by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and supports the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011–2020 by providing tools for raising awareness about biodiversity.

HAND-RAISED BABY MANATEE CANOLA WINS HEARTS AT RIVER SAFARI

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Aquarists provide round-the-clock care for abandoned calf Canola and re-introduce her to manatee family

Neglected by her mother after birth, manatee calf Canola (foreground) can now be found swimming with the rest of the manatee herd at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit after receiving round-the-clock care and successful reintroduction by her human caregivers. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Neglected by her mother after birth, manatee calf Canola (foreground) can now be found swimming with the rest of the manatee herd at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit after receiving round-the-clock care and successful reintroduction by her human caregivers. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 8 April 2015 – The 33kg abandoned calf in River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest had to be watched 24 hours for the first few days, fed every two to three hours during the first three months, and re-introduced gradually to its family – a Herculean task that the team of aquarists dived into to give the baby, named Canola, a fighting chance to live.

Born on 6 August last year, Canola is the offspring of the Flooded Forest’s largest manatee – 23-year-old Eva which measures 3.5m and weighs more than 1,100kg. For unknown reasons, Eva abandoned her latest calf despite having successfully raised eight offspring in the past. Eva is also a proud grandmother of two.

To ensure that animals in River Safari retain their parental behaviours, zoologists strive to have the parents raise their offspring. In the case of Canola, there was no other option but to have aquarists hand-raise the newborn.

Deputy Head Aquarist Keith So bottle-feeds manatee calf Canola with a special milk formula infused with canola oil when she was abandoned by her mother after birth at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Deputy Head Aquarist Keith So bottle-feeds manatee calf Canola with a special milk formula infused with canola oil when she was abandoned by her mother after birth at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Mr Wah Yap Hon, Curator, Zoology, River Safari, said: “Hand-raised animals tend to imprint on their human caregivers. The babies will attach themselves to, and learn certain behaviours from their human foster parents, and may not have a chance to bond with their family or other members of their species. In the case of Eva and Canola, we stepped in as a last resort to ensure the survival of this precious baby.”

Similar to caring for a human baby, hand-raising an animal baby requires planning and hard work. For Canola, it involved bottle-feeding every two to three hours from 8am to 10pm daily for the first three months. 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. To ensure Canola’s safety, the aquarists moved her to a shallow holding pool to minimise the risk of other manatees crowding her and making it challenging for her to rise to the water’s surface to breathe.

Neglected by her mother after birth, manatee calf Canola undergoes a weekly weigh-in at a holding pool in River Safari where aquarists also measure her body length to monitor her growth. Canola’s last recorded weight was a healthy 74kg. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Neglected by her mother after birth, manatee calf Canola undergoes a weekly weigh-in at a holding pool in River Safari where aquarists also measure her body length to monitor her growth. Canola’s last recorded weight was a healthy 74kg. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

“Under the doting care and great team effort of her human caregivers, Canola steadily gained weight and hit all the important developmental milestones of a healthy calf. By December, Canola started swimming with the rest of the herd in the main aquarium, forming close bonds with her species,” said Wah.

Deputy Head Aquarist Keith So conducts a physical check on manatee calf Canola at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest, the world’s largest freshwater aquarium. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Deputy Head Aquarist Keith So conducts a physical check on manatee calf Canola at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest, the world’s largest freshwater aquarium. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Since February, Canola’s caregivers have gradually cut down on her milk intake to four feedings a day to accommodate her increasing diet of vegetables. Manatees 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.

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, River Safari hopes to contribute to the population of threatened freshwater species such as the manatee. Canola’s birth is an important one as it contributes to the captive populations of manatees in zoological institutions.

Manatee calf Canola (left), which has been melting the hearts of River Safari’s aquarists since August last year, is set to charm visitors now that she is exploring the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit together with the manatee herd. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Manatee calf Canola (left), which has been melting the hearts of River Safari’s aquarists since August last year, is set to charm visitors now that she is exploring the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit together with the manatee herd. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

River Safari’s manatee herd of 12 comprises five males and seven females, making it one of the largest collections of manatees among zoological institutions. These slow-moving mammals can be found swimming gracefully amongst giant trees alongside other aquatic species, such as the arapaima and red-tailed catfish, in the world’s largest freshwater aquarium at the Amazon Flooded Forest.

* IUCN: International Union for the Conservation of Nature

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