WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE PRESENTS WORLD’S RAREST BABIES TO MARK WORLD ANIMAL DAY 2014

Critically endangered Sunda pangolin, cotton-top tamarin and southern river terrapin
among animal births this year; giant river otters produce two babies.

Radin, Night Safari’s third and newest Sunda pangolin baby, rests in the protective clutch of his mother Nita. Found throughout primary and secondary forests of Southeast Asia, Sunda pangolins, also known as Malayan pangolins, are critically endangered as populations in the wild are experiencing rapid decline. Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore
Radin, Night Safari’s third and newest Sunda pangolin baby, rests in the protective clutch of his mother Nita. Found throughout primary and secondary forests of Southeast Asia, Sunda pangolins, also known as Malayan pangolins, are critically endangered as populations in the wild are experiencing rapid decline.
Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Singapore, 2 October 2014 – To mark World Animal Day this year, Wildlife Reserves Singapore announced the arrival of some of the world’s rarest babies, among them the critically endangered Sunda pangolin that is native to Singapore.

Between January and August 2014, over 400 animal babies were born or hatched in Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo. Nearly one in four babies belongs to animals listed as ‘threatened’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species* and these include the Bali mynah, Javan langur, proboscis monkey and giant anteater.

The birth of a critically endangered Sunda pangolin in Night Safari is one of the most iconic births for WRS as the species is native to Singapore and is the logo for the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund. Night Safari is the world’s first zoological institution to house the elusive, solitary, nocturnal creature which in recent years has been driven closer to extinction by illegal animal trafficking, habitat loss and being hunted for their meat and scales at an unsustainable level. This is the third successful birth of a Sunda pangolin in WRS since 2011.

Another exciting development comes from the giant river otters at River Safari which displays this rare species for the first time in Asia. While their first pup in 2013 did not survive, the giant otters are now proud parents of two new pups. Parents Carlos and Carmen have become more experienced in raising their young and have started teaching the pups how to swim.

Giant river otter Carmen brings her pups for a swimming lesson at River Safari – the first zoological institution in Asia to display this endangered species. Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore
Giant river otter Carmen brings her pups for a swimming lesson at River Safari – the first zoological institution in Asia to display this endangered species.
Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Over at Jurong Bird Park, a Goliath palm cockatoo is successfully bred for the first time. Goliath palm cockatoos have one of the lowest hand-rearing success rates among the parrot species due to their specialised diet. The park also successfully bred eight critically endangered Bali mynahs. Conservation efforts for the species intensified in 2010 – the year which marked the start of a partnership with Indonesia’s Begawan Foundation. Bred specifically to increase the off-site numbers of Bali mynahs in the wild, all progenies will eventually be sent back to Bali.

Singapore Zoo is ecstatic to welcome the births of two critically endangered species to its collection: the cotton-top tamarin and southern river terrapin. Singapore Zoo also saw the birth of an endangered proboscis monkey this May and the park continues to house the largest collection of proboscis monkeys in the world, outside of Indonesia.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “The world is undergoing an unprecedented loss of wildlife as a direct result of human related activities. Each of these births represents a precious glimmer of hope in our effort to help save the planet’s biodiversity. Many of them are part of coordinated conservation breeding programmes to safeguard against extinction in the wild. All of them are invaluable ambassadors for their species
to connect our visitors to the need for their protection.”

*International Union for Conservation of Nature

ASIA’S FIRST GIANT RIVER OTTER BABY AMONG MORE THAN 400 BIRTHS AT WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Wildlife Reserves Singapore marks World Animal Day with tribute to babies born at Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo.

Singapore, 3 October 2013Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) marks World Animal Day with a presentation of furry, feathery and slithery babies born in Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo. The four parks saw more than 400 animal babies born between January and August this year, charming visitors with their adorable antics.

Among the most exciting births at WRS is that of Asia’s first giant river otter baby at River Safari. Born on 10 August, the unnamed male pup now weighs 1.6kg and measures 60cm. While it may be small now, giant otters can grow to an incredible length of 1.8m and weigh up to 34kg. River Safari is the first zoological institution in Asia to feature the endangered giant river otter, the largest of the world’s 13 otter species. Found only in South American river systems, giant otters are ferocious predators that hunt piranhas, anacondas and even caimans, earning them the title “river wolves”. Often hunted extensively for their fur and threatened by habitat loss, these river giants are now amongst the rarest otters in the world.

Since its birth on 10 August, Asia’s first giant river otter baby and his mother have been left alone in their den to bond. In a few weeks’ time, the pup will enter River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit where his parents will teach him how to swim. The parents, Carlos and Carmen, are from Germany’s Hamburg and Duisburg Zoo respectively, and arrived in Singapore in August 2012 as part of an animal exchange and breeding programme.
Since its birth on 10 August, Asia’s first giant river otter baby and his mother have been left alone in their den to bond. In a few weeks’ time, the pup will enter River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit where his parents will teach him how to swim. The parents, Carlos and Carmen, are from Germany’s Hamburg and Duisburg Zoo respectively, and arrived in Singapore in August 2012 as part of an animal exchange and breeding programme.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “We have maintained an excellent record of success in our captive breeding programme, and visitors to our parks are often pleasantly surprised to find adorable animal babies. The landmark birth of Asia’s first giant river otter baby represents the culmination of efforts and dedication of our zoology team in adopting and maintaining the highest standards of husbandry. With increasing threats such as habitat destruction and poaching, captive breeding programmes play a pivotal role in conserving threatened species for our future generations.”

Malayan tapir Putri, born on 3 June, enjoys her forest floor playtime at Night Safari. The Malayan tapir is one of the most endangered animals in Southeast Asia. Populations are declining due to poaching and habitat loss from deforestation for agricultural purposes.
Malayan tapir Putri, born on 3 June, enjoys her forest floor playtime at Night Safari. The Malayan tapir is one of the most endangered animals in Southeast Asia. Populations are declining due to poaching and habitat loss from deforestation for agricultural purposes.

Aside from the birth of the giant otter, over 100 species were born or hatched in the four WRS parks, of which 37 are classified as threatened in the *IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. These include the orang utan, manatee, hyacinth macaw and Malayan tapir. Through the years, WRS parks have exchanged many of these animals with other reputable zoos for breeding purposes.

*International Union for Conservation of Nature

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE HOSTS FIRST SOUTHEAST ASIAN ANIMAL ENRICHMENT AND TRAINING WORKSHOP

Growie and Roni the giraffes make use of their long dextrous tongues to get at the carrot sticks packed in tube feeders made from PVC pipes.

Singapore, 4 October 2010 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore is holding the first Southeast Asian workshop to teach zoo and wildlife rescue staff in the region the best practices in animal enrichment and training, which actively promotes the expression of healthy and normal behaviours of wild animals in captivity. This is part of WRS’ commitment to raising wildlife captive care standards in the region, especially as we observe World Animal Day on 4 October, and remember 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity.

Animals in their natural environment carry out a range of activities for their survival in the wild. For example, they need to secure food and shelter, as well as avoid predators, and they pick up the necessary skills from the moment they are born. Those living in captivity at wildlife parks and zoos possess the same instincts and need to express their natural behaviours. However, without the challenges posed by nature, these instincts can express themselves in undesirable and even deleterious behaviours like continuous pacing and over-grooming.

“Even the best captive environment can never truly replicate an animal’s natural surroundings. Animal behavioural management, which involves environmental enrichment, positive reinforcement training techniques and problem-solving processes, has proven effective in keeping captive animals in good physical and psychological health,” said Ms Fanny Lai, WRS’ Group CEO. “We hope this first animal enrichment and training workshop hosted by WRS provides a platform for those passionate about wildlife and wildlife conservation to exchange ideas and share experiences in a bid to improve the management of captive animals and enhance animal welfare.”

The four-day workshop which begins today is held in partnership with animal behaviour consulting firm Active Environments and non-profit corporation The Shape of Enrichment. It is specifically designed for animal care givers and is open to zookeepers, aquarists, managers, supervisors, curators and veterinarians from the Southeast Asian and Australasian region. It will include theoretical and practical training on topics such as enrichment and training planning processes, safety considerations, animal demonstrations, as well as hands-on exercises such as fabrication of animal enrichment devices.

WRS, which operates award-winning wildlife parks including Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo, and the upcoming River Safari, places great emphasis on animal enrichment activities. On average, over 90 species of animals in Singapore Zoo receive three sessions of enrichment each week to hone their motor and sensory skills, while increasing their optimal state of well being. These may include exercises such as changing the way their food is presented, or creating a device to stimulate their minds.

For example, spinning feeder balls are used to challenge the Asian short-clawed otters’ dexterity as they try to get to the tasty treats with their nimble fingers. Giraffes, on the other hand, are challenged to retrieve carrots through holes in suspended, large mineral water bottles or PVC pipes. Predatory instincts of reptiles such as the Komodo dragon is drawn out by tossing them a cardboard box filled with dead rats. The ripping of the box to retrieve the rats mimics how they would rip the skin of their prey. The Malayan sun bears are encouraged to explore the environment and use their natural instincts when coconut husks smeared with honey are dangled from the branches in their enclosures. Such exercises encourage exploratory and investigative behaviours.

Ms Gail Laule, one of the founders of Active Environments, said: “Environmental enrichment and positive reinforcement training are essential components of caring for wild animals in captive environments. All zoos should provide the relevant training for its staff, and we are glad that WRS is taking the lead to host such an event in Singapore.”

“We are excited to be part of this inaugural Southeast Asian animal enrichment and training workshop. This event will contribute towards improvements in animal welfare through education and international exchange of enrichment theory and application,” added Ms Valerie Hare, co-founder and workshop coordinator from The Shape of Enrichment.

WRS is expecting an attendance of about 30 participants representing 20 wildlife institutions, including zoos, rescue centres and wildlife parks. Among the participants are representatives from Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Malaysia, and the Hong Kong Zoo and Ocean Adventure in Philippines. To ensure that institutions with a real need to implement animal enrichment and training practices in their facilities are able to attend this workshop, WRS has provided sponsorship to participants from Free the Bears in Cambodia, Lao Zoo in Laos, and Saigon Zoo in Vietnam.

Bima the Komodo dragon tries to rip apart a cardboard box to get to a treat. Keepers have to ensure the box is safe removing all the staples first.
Indera the Malayan sun bear is enthralled by a sugarcane-stuffed coconut, drizzled with honey.