Filipino photographer gets wild in Singapore; represents the Philippines at regional wildlife photography competition, Through the Lens

Silver Vito Nino Andrada_Philippines_

Filipino photographer Silver Vito Niño Andrada has been named the Philippines’ winner of a wildlife photography competition hosted by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, in partnership with Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation, capturing the connection between humans, nature and wildlife. In a regional finals held in Singapore on July 28 to 30, Andrada competed against other national competition winners from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia for the chance to be crowned regional Through the Lens winner.

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WRS NS – Fennec fox – 2

Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo have reported over 600 animal births and hatchings in 2016, and among them are highly threatened Southeast Asian animals. These include the Sunda pangolin, painted terrapin, proboscis monkey, Bali mynah and black-winged starling, all of which are on the brink of extinction.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy CEO and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “We have a mission to protect and conserve biodiversity in Singapore and the region, and are happy to report that our animal care team did well in breeding some of the rarest Southeast Asian animals in 2016. This is but one of the many ways we work on to help save these animals from extinction. We also actively support conservation and research efforts in the animals’ native habitats.”

Southeast Asian animal babies

Nine painted terrapins, one of Southeast Asia’s most endangered freshwater turtle species, hatched in April in Singapore Zoo. The park also welcomed another proboscis monkey baby in April, an endangered primate native to the island of Borneo. Since 1999, Singapore Zoo has seen 30 proboscis monkey births and Singapore lays claim to the highest number of proboscis monkey births outside of their native Indonesia.

Southeast Asian animal births in Night Safari include Neha, the juvenile Asian elephant born on 12 May who charmed her way to fame with her playful antics. The park also welcomed a fifth successful birth of the critically endangered Sunda pangolin since 2011, on 7 October. This makes Night Safari one of the most successful wildlife parks in the world in caring for and breeding the world’s most

trafficked mammal. Two Malayan tapirs born in October and December brought up the park’s impressive track record to 30 successful births to date.

Threatened Southeast Asian species continue to thrive at Jurong Bird Park, with the hatchings of three black-winged starlings and four Bali mynahs, both species critically endangered due to their popularity in the illegal songbird trade. The park works closely with organisations like Begawan Foundation and Cikananga Conservation Breeding Centre in Indonesia who are striving to safeguard a population of these rare birds, and hope to eventually reintroduce them to their native habitats.

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Ambassador babies

Amidst recent reports that cheetahs are increasingly threatened with extinction with only 7,100 left in the wild, Singapore Zoo welcomed cheetah cub Deka. Born on 3 October, Deka was abandoned by her inexperienced first-time mother. Vets and keepers made the decision to save the cub by hand-raising her. Starting out weak and malnourished, Deka spent her first four days in the animal hospital. Vets and keepers worked tirelessly to provide round-the-clock care for the next two months until she was strong enough to be independent. Today, she is an active and healthy juvenile that enjoys sprinting about her play area.

Night Safari’s first pair of fennec foxes successfully bore three kits in November. Kit trio Nia, Nailah and Zaire were also hand-raised after exhibiting minor injuries from mishandling by their mother. Parents Zuri and Izem, the first fennec foxes in the collection across the four wildlife parks, were brought in as confiscations by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore. Singapore law prohibits the keeping of exotic animals such as fennec foxes. The illegal pet trade threatens the survival of wild species and amateur pet owners are often ill-equipped to manage the animals’ welfare. The fox family is set to make its debut in Night Safari’s Creatures of the Night show as animal ambassadors, to educate guests against keeping exotic pets illegally.

Dr Cheng said, “Each animal baby born and hatched in our parks is an ambassador in their own right. Individually, they represent their wild counterparts, but collectively they embody the need to conserve not just each individual species but the environment as a whole.”

Over at River Safari, the manatee herd welcomed Joella, a calf born in April. The park’s giant otter family continues to grow with four new additions in March, bringing the total to eight. The park also saw the births of an emperor tamarin, a small primate species, and a trio of ocellate river stingrays, both native to the Amazon Basin.

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Poster Image

Discover more of the country’s rich agricultural products at the fourth stretch of the now highly successful trade fair series, PHILIPPINE HARVEST, organized by the Department of Agriculture, in participation with SSI Group, Inc. and Central Square. Philippine Harvest will happen on the 17th until 19th of February at Central Square, Bonifacio High Street, BGC, Taguig.

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At the 4TH PHILIPPINE HARVEST, artisanal products will be showcased by Filipino agripreneurs participating in the 2017 Madrid Fusion Manila – Our Sustainable Gastronomic Planet (MFM 2017) scheduled on April 2017. MFM 2017 is an international gastronomic event in the Philippines that brings together the most prestigious and innovative chefs from all over the world to share their knowledge and expertise on traditional and latest trends on food. It is the only Asian edition of Madrid Fusion which is celebrated annually in Madrid, Spain since 2003 and aims to promote, coordinate, and enhance culture, tourism, and commerce between the Philippines and Spain.

The 4th PHILIPPINE HARVEST will likewise offer the public the chance to see and buy agricultural products rarely found in the Metro, among these are flower vegetables, organic meat and vegetables, dried fish, and fresh local fruits.

Committed to be the number one salesman of local produce, Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol reiterates his support to agricultural entrepreneurs across the country through the promotion of organic, artisanal, natural, and indigenous food products. The trade fair is expected to open new windows of opportunities to local farmers in showcasing agricultural products, and linking them to the private sector for possible partnerships and collaborations. Local agripreneurs will have a chance to share with consumers and potential investors the “stories” behind their products.

The three-day agri food fair will be located at the lower ground and upper ground floors of Central Square in Bonifacio High Street Central and will be open to public during mall hours.

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Salt Swim Keeps Things Salty With Anniversary Mangrove Planting Activity


Salt Swim, an online bikini business, extends its philanthropic arm even further by raising awareness about the significance of mangrove planting and the damaging effects of trash on our ocean and marine life. Tricia Young, the owner of the business, aspires to tend to all things water and shows that women and young professionals can look good and do good by applying social entrepreneurship to today’s society.

tricia-young“I was able to contact Calatagan’s municipal mayor, Mayor Peter Oliver Palacio and the municipal agriculturist, Ma. Evelyn Custodio. They mentioned that there was a nearby beach that needed to be cleaned as well because of trash from Manila Bay that got swept all the way to their area from recent typhoons which made me want to do the coastal clean-up there even more,” she said.

Around 1,500 mangrove trees were planted by SAMMABABA, a community of fishermen, local students, Philippine Air Force (731ST combat Squadron Staff Sargent Renato Tayano and Captain Joel Rico), PNP Calatagan, Barangay officials, PAROLA, DepEd, MEMRO and Salt Swim’s volunteers They were joined by Governor of Batangas, Govenor Dodo Mandanes, Calatagan mayor, Mayor Peter Oliver M. Palacio, and Vice Mayor Andrea Anne V. del Rosario.

An Effort to Make a Difference

coastal-clean-upThe health of our ecosystem is a passion that Young wishes to impart to other like-minded people. Unfortunately, it is always the marine biodiversity that is often left ignored. Human interaction and the endless need for a faster, more innovative community has pushed the limits of mangrove forest growth. These forests help avoid any damage caused by severe storms and waves.

This has a ripple effect; one that we don’t intentionally foresee. Mangroves help stabilize coastlines and prevent erosions from waves and storms. They also serve as homes to various fish and mollusk species.

The Young & The Restless

mangrove-plantingHow professionals interact with each other and how they can make a difference has changed. There are so many avenues to explore and reaching out to a dream. With regards to Salt Swim, Young says “I want Salt Swim to act as a portal in spreading awareness about the importance of taking care of our oceans and marine life…social media is a great way to do this.”

Young represents the new face of social entrepreneurship – wherein young professionals pursue their passions wholeheartedly and starting businesses to address worthwhile causes and concerns.

Salt Swim. Stay Salty! Swimwear designed by an ocean lover for fellow ocean lovers. Like us @saltswim Instagram and FacebookContact #: 0922-878-5181

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senior-avian-keeper-peter-teo-with-sally-an-oriental-pied-hornbillAs a nod to its unique place in Singapore’s biodiversity, Jurong Bird Park has introduced Sunny the Hornbill as the park’s animal icon.

Starting with just five Hornbill species when the park opened in 1971, Jurong Bird Park today is home to the largest collection of Southeast Asian Hornbills in the world. Of the 18 Hornbill species in the park, 11 are native to Southeast Asia.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy CEO and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore said, “We have chosen the Hornbill as Jurong Bird Park’s animal icon as we think this striking bird will be a relatable ambassador for all threatened bird species that need our help and protection. We have great success in Singapore where we have helped to reintroduce the oriental pied hornbill.  There are other species such as the Helmeted Hornbill that are being hunted relentlessly and urgently need our help.”


Jurong Bird Park has long been actively involved in hornbill conservation efforts. Locally, Oriental Pied Hornbills were not seen for 140 years prior to 1994. In 2005, Jurong Bird Park entered a collaboration dedicated to the breeding and conserving of these birds and today, Singapore is home to a thriving population of Oriental Pied Hornbills. In 2013, three Oriental Pied Hornbill eggs rescued from Pulau Ubin were successfully incubated and hatched at the park’s Breeding & Research Centre. This marked the world’s first successful incubation and hatching of an Oriental Pied Hornbill.

The park’s Hornbill conservation efforts go beyond local shores. Last year, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (parent company of Jurong Bird Park) hosted the first Helmeted Hornbill Workshop, and was instrumental in the uplisting of the species’ IUCN* status to ‘Critically Endangered’. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Helmeted Hornbill population has drastically declined from habitats in Sumatra where it was once found in abundance.


In his role as the park icon, Sunny will be a beacon of hope for all threatened hornbill species by raising greater awareness on the hornbill ivory trade. Guests can learn more about the threats Hornbills face through Sunny’s daily appearances at the High Flyers show and getting up close with some of the park’s Hornbills and their keepers at the daily Hornbill Chit-Chat sessions.

From 19 Nov to 11 Dec, guests can participate in many Hornbill-focused activities. They can feed Hornbills under supervision and learn all about them at the daily Hornbill Chit-Chat sessions, take photos with Sunny the Hornbill mascot, indulge in some fun-filled craft activities and pen some love notes at the Hornbill Love Mail.




Dates: 19 Nov – 11 Dec (Sat & Sun only)

Time: 8.30am to 6.00pm (various timings)

Venue: Jurong Bird Park (activities at various locations around the park)

Fee: Activities are free but normal admission rates of $29.00 (adult) and $19.00 (child 3 to 12 years) apply

For more information on the Wonders of Sunny the Hornbill, please visit

Activity Details
Meet Sunny & Friends!

It’s photo time with our Sunny the Hornbill mascot and his friends! Flock down for a fun opportunity together with your family!

Venue: Penguin Coast   

Time: 12.30pm and 2.30pm

It’s Craft Time

Join the fun-filled craft activities and put your creativity to work. Make your very own Hornbill origami bookmark, mask or keychain to bring home!   

Venue: Penguin Coast  

Time: 10.00am- 4.00pm

Hornbill Chit-Chat

Come face to face with our Hornbills at their feeding sessions and learn fun facts about these amazing birds from their keepers. Don’t forget to bring home a photo memory of our birds too!

Venue: Hornbills & Toucans exhibit

Time: 11.45am (daily) weather permitting

High Flyers Show

Marvel at the natural talents of our star birds, including Sunny the Hornbill, at this daily free-flying performance.

Get your cameras ready as Sunny makes a daring low flyby or discover the behaviours of our monogamous Hornbills in the wild!

Venue: Pools Amphitheatre

Time: 11am, 3pm

Hornbill Love Mail

Just as male Hornbills show their love by feeding nesting female Hornbills holed up in their tree trunk, you can pen a message to your loved ones on our postcard and drop it in our tree. We will mail* it out for you, compliments of Jurong Bird Park!

*Local addresses only.

Venue: Penguin Coast

Time: 10.00am- 4.00pm

Story Contest

Share an instance where a loved one showed dedication to you or your family, and stand a chance to win an exclusive VIP Birds’ Eye Tour!

More details available on

*IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature



  • All photos are to be attributed to Wildlife Reserves Singapore


Opened in 1971, Jurong Bird Park is Asia’s largest bird park, offering a 20.2-hectare hillside haven for close to 5,000 birds across 400 species, of which 15% are threatened. The bird park is famed for its large and immersive walk-in aviaries such as Lory Loft, Jungle Jewels and the recently revamped Waterfall Aviary. Other unique exhibits include Penguin Coast and Pelican Cove. Jurong Bird Park sees approximately 800,000 visitors annually.

Committed towards conservation, the bird park is the first in the world to breed the Malayan black hornbill (1995) and the twelve-wired bird of paradise (2001) in captivity for which it received the Breeders’ Award from the American Pheasant and Waterfowl Society. In 2006 and 2007, the Bird Park became the recipient of the Conservation & Research Award for the Oriental Pied Hornbill Conservation Project by IV International Symposium on Breeding Birds in Captivity (ISBBC). It has a Breeding & Research Centre tasked to ensure the welfare, breeding and promulgation of birdlife and the park is also a designated rescued avian centre by the governing authority. Jurong Bird Park is part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore and is the only park in the Asia Pacific to have an Avian Hospital.

Jurong Bird Park is located at 2 Jurong Hill Singapore 628925. More information can be found at



Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is dedicated to the management of world-leading zoological institutions—Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo—that aim to inspire people to value and conserve biodiversity by providing meaningful and memorable wildlife experiences.

A self-funded organisation, WRS focuses on protecting biodiversity in Singapore and Southeast Asia through collaborations with like-minded partners, organisations and institutions. Each year, the four attractions welcome 4.6 million visitors.

Mandai Park Holdings (MPH), the driving force behind the rejuvenation of Mandai into an integrated wildlife and nature heritage space, is the holding company of WRS and oversees its business and strategic development.

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Going Green with Ayala Malls Organic Gardens


Wherever it takes root, Ayala Malls always blooms where it’s planted. In addition to continually raising the bar in terms of innovative mall concepts, Ayala Malls is well becoming known for its great, open spaces and breathtaking landscapes. This season, Ayala Malls brings a fresh touch to its grounds with its unique organic gardens, its newest green initiative.

Following its highly successful Blooms campaign last summer, wherein Ayala Malls enlivened its garden spaces with beautiful orchids, native ferns and vibrant evergreens, Ayala Malls continues on to the next phase of its green campaign by planting its own organic herb and vegetable gardens.

A simple, yet beautiful addition to the Ayala Malls landscape, these gardens were built from recycled materials, and boast a variety of green produce including bokchoi, lettuce, sweet pepper, tomato, red lettuce, arugula, romaine, mustard, patola, chili pepper, upo , okra, pechay, kangkong, Baguio beans, sitaw, cucumber; and herbs such as basil, rosemary, mint, tarragon, and oregano. These will not only help to beautify the Ayala Malls open grounds, but will serve a higher purpose of educating the public about being more conscientious consumers.

“Ayala Malls has been actively and continuously improving its immediate environment by growing and enriching its gardens and parks, while encouraging its communities to adopt an environmentally focused mindset,” shares Myrna Fernandez, Vice President and Head of Leasing and Operations of the Ayala Malls Group.

“Our primary objective is to educate the community and inspire them to start their own organic gardens at home. We are changing the concept of ‘farming,’ which is no longer limited to suburban areas or farmland. People can grow their own herbs and vegetables by converting their unused spaces into one productive and edible garden.”

Through this unique initiative, Ayala Malls strengthens its commitment to preserve the natural flora of a place, and help build a greener, cleaner, and more responsible community. Upon harvest, some of the crops grown at the malls will be sold to employees; the proceeds of which will then be used for the upkeep and maintenance of the mini farms.

“Shopping malls are no longer simply retail and dining destinations, but communal resources and platforms for environmental education. We aim to enhance our surroundings in a way that offers both social and health benefits beyond the traditional role of malls,” explains Fernandez. As part of its campaign, Ayala Malls will be organizing field trips in partnership with various schools, as well as host cooking demos, talks, and feeding programs that will support NGOs.

To date, Market! Market!, Alabang Town Center, Fairview Terraces, and TriNoma have built their vegetables gardens on their rooftop. In Greenbelt, these organic gardens are already blooming gloriously, delighting all passersby. In addition to improving the aesthetics of the space, these gardens absorb heat and reduce energy consumption needed to cool down mall complexes.

Ayala Malls, indeed, fulfills its duty as a leader in the industry, encouraging its consumers and stakeholders to go green by breathing in a fresh concept to healthy, sustainable living.

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A repeat of the highly successful PHILIPPINE HARVEST AT CENTRAL SQUARE held last May took place on th 19th to 21st of August 2016. Once again, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in partnership with SSI Group, Inc. celebrated and promoted the richness of Philippine agriculture through a wide range of exhibitors who presented and sold their products at Central Square in Bonifacio High Street. This time, the food range has been expanded to include and highlight Philippine Spirits.

“This event will be an opportunity for us to meet some of our farmers, processors, and retailers of premium organic, natural, and indigenous products and spirits that reflect our culinary culture which is at par with international standards,” said DA Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Undersecretary for Administration and Finance, and Chair of the National Organic Agricultural Board (NOAB).

The three-day agri food fair is an avenue where the public can buy, bring home and appreciate organic, artisanal, natural and indigenous products that are native to our country. The fair was located at the lower and upper ground floors of Central Square in Bonifacio High Street Central and will be open to the public during mall hours.



Address:           5th Avenue cor. 30th St., Bonifacio High Street Central, BGC Taguig

Mall Hours:        11am-10pm, Sunday – Thursday

11am-11pm, Friday – Saturday

Trunkline:           9585660

Find us online:     Instagram @centralsquareph |

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Oliviers&Co. Introduces Its Finest Harvest Yet This 2016

2016 Grand Crus “Grand Crus” selections are the perfect expression of some of the most beautiful terroirs of the Mediterranean.
2016 Grand Crus
“Grand Crus” selections are the perfect expression of some of the most beautiful terroirs of the Mediterranean.

Oliviers&Co., the renowned France-based olive oil company that’s been elevating Filipino dishes in kitchens nationwide, introduces this year’s harvest that celebrates the culinary art.

Amassing to its already noble catalog of gourmet olive oils, condiments, and seasonings, the 2016 Olive Oil Collection carries more than 25 exceptional Grand Cru olive oils, 16 of which hits the shelves of Oliviers&Co. boutiques in the Philippines located in Central Square, Bonifacio High Street, and Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center. Freshly harvested from olive groves located throughout the Mediterranean, the ingredients are sourced by its rigor and uncompromising standards, distinct in flavor origins and profiles. Oliviers&Co. hasn’t produced a more exceptional collection that offers an artist’s pallet of aromas and flavors in over ten years, rendering this Grand Cru the crème de la crè

Olive Selection The type of soil and climate where olive trees are grown will affect a variety of the crop’s characteristics, including the size of each olive and the richness of the oil that it produces.
Olive Selection
The type of soil and climate where olive trees are grown will affect a variety of the crop’s characteristics, including the size of each olive and the richness of the oil that it produces.


The Rameaux D’Or, or The Gold Harvest, highlights the perfected crafts stemming from the hard work of passionate olive oil producers. These precious elixirs spring from premium quality ingredients selected from the renowned olive groves located in Tuscany. Notably, the Il Fornacino is a Gold Medal Winner at the New York International Olive Oil Competition for 2016. This form of liquid gold tastes of grassy artichoke, green apple, and a touch of cucumber harvested from 100% Frantoio olives exclusive to Montespertoli near Florence.

From the Guadalaquirir valley in Spain, the Castillo de Canena was born from Picual olives in the Jaén province, fed by the waters of a flowing river by the family property. A mere 1000 liters were produced of this limited edition olive oil that has an intense flavor with aromatic notes of fresh grass and mustard. This oil perfectly matches the flavors of a home-cooked chicken meal paired with potatoes, artichokes, and eggplants.

Extra Virgin is Genuine Gold True extra virgin olive oil is the genuine gold
Extra Virgin is Genuine Gold
True extra virgin olive oil is the genuine gold

Similar to the art of bottling fine wine, Oliviers&Co. practices this act of romantic expression into its Grand Cru collection. A Capela Dos Olivais hails from Madural, Verdeal, and Cobrancosa olives. Its floral taste works perfectly with desserts, such as a warm apple pie or strawberry sorbet. The Veralda from Croatia contains grassy notes of cypress and tomato leaf ideally paired with a pork tomato dish and green salads, while the Mayol is a floral-tasting oil made from the Palma de Majorque in Baleares Island, with notes of tea leaves and flowers suitable for a delicately flavored jasmine ric

The O&Co. Process O&CO. enforces strict controls whereby all products are tracked from harvesting to bottling. We know the olive trees and producers from where each bottle originates.
The O&Co. Process
O&CO. enforces strict controls whereby all products are tracked from harvesting to bottling. We know the olive trees and producers from where each bottle originates.


As Oliviers&Co. continues to widen its reach in Manila, home kitchens can have that sophisticated touch of flavor, thanks to Oliviers&Co. There is no doubt that its olive oils have quickly become a pantry staple for Manila’s cuisiniers and food enthusiasts since its arrival in the country, perfuming, enriching and lending nuance to local dishes.

Discover the extraordinary flavors and fragrances of our 2016 Olive Oils now available in all Oliviers&Co. Boutiques.


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Pokémon Go: Go wild catching ‘em all at Singapore’s Wildlife Parks!

Night Safari – Pokemon Go Map

Night Safari - Pokemon Go Map

Pokemon Go is now officially a global craze with fans worldwide vying to be the country’s next Pokemon Master.

To that end  (WRS), the holding company of award-winning attractions Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo, welcomes aspiring trainer visitors with a “Wildlife Survival Guide” which arms them with a new special edition “Pokémon Go Map” designed for each park.

With a total of 78 Pokéstops and 8 Pokémon Gyms to be found across all four wildlife parks, visitors can embark on their quest to ‘”be the very best” here at the WRS. While taking in majestic views of the animals, most of them rare and royal, trainer visitors can also take the opportunity to seek out rare Pokémon creatures around the parks. There are reports of Snorlax found lounging at the entrance of Singapore Zoo, precious Eevees seen visiting the new baby elephant at Night Safari, a Spearow perched on a tree with the lories at Lory Loft of Jurong Bird Park, and rare glimpses of the awe-inspiring Gyarados swimming with the manatees at the Amazon Flooded Forest in River Safari.

What’s more, WRS is now offering “ParkHopper Specials” that offer admission to all four parks for the price of two.



Child (3 – 12 years old)

4-Park Admission:

·         Singapore Zoo

·         Night Safari

·         River Safari

·         Jurong Bird Park



 *Terms and conditions apply. For more information, please visit

Pokemon Trainers' - Wildlife Survival GuideAttached are the four “Pokémon Go Maps” that will help visitors find rare catches and win virtual items. There is no better time than now to head to the wildlife reserves for a wild adventure!

Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is dedicated to the management of world-class leisure attractions that foster conservation and research while educating visitors about animals and their habitats. To find out more, visit

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National Strategy to Conserve Elusive Native Raffles’ Banded Langur Launched

Raffles Banded Langur

Raffles Banded Langur

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s Raffles’ Banded Langur (Presbytis femoralis femoralis) is getting a boost this National Day month, with the launch of a national conservation strategy for the critically endangered species. Ambassador-at-Large Professor Tommy Koh, who will serve as patron of the project, launched the initiative during a ceremony at Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Immediate priorities include managing the habitat and population through habitat enhancement such as establishing green corridors and exploring options for providing connectivity across forest fragments, focused enrichment plantings based on our understanding of the dietary requirements of the langurs, gathering data to understand more about the movements and habitat  preferences of the langurs, and securing the necessary commitment and resources to ensure the long-term conservation of the Raffles’ Banded Langur in Singapore and Malaysia.

A workshop was held at the Singapore Zoo in early August in which over 30 stakeholders from 15 organisations, including representatives from Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), National Parks Board (NParks), International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Primate Specialist Group, Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia, conservation NGOs and universities came together to jointly develop a conservation strategy for the Raffles’ Banded Langur. The workshop was funded by WRS and facilitated by IUCN.

Securing a future for the Raffles’ Banded Langur will require targeted action in a number of areas. Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund will engage Ms. Andie Ang, who has studied the langurs since 2008, and is a member of IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group, to set up and chair a Raffles’ Banded Langur Working Group. The working group will glean outputs from the recent workshop to map out a Species Action Plan, which will be used to guide and implement the conservation work for this species in the coming years. The project is fully supported by Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund over the next two years.

One of only three non-human primates to be found locally, the Raffles’ Banded Langur was first discovered by Sir Stamford Raffles 194 years ago. Up to the 1920s, they were still reported to be common in Singapore across Changi, Tampines, Bukit Timah, Pandan and Tuas. Deforestation for urban development led to the shrinking of their habitat such that the Raffles’ Banded Langurs were confined to only the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) and Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) in the 1980s. In 1987, the last member of a troop living in BTNR was reportedly mauled to death by a pack of dogs.

By 2010, it was estimated that there were 40-60 Raffles’ Banded Langurs left in Singapore. This subspecies can also be found in southern Peninsular Malaysia, where a number of isolated populations continue to be threatened by habitat loss and conversion. Small and isolated populations have a heightened risk of extinction from the effects of genetic deterioration, extreme weather, disease outbreak and other catastrophic events.

Dr. Sonja Luz, Director, Conservation and Research, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said:

“It is a fitting time to embark on a consolidated, comprehensive and integrated conservation strategy for the Raffles’ Banded Langur, to ensure the continued survival of this highly charismatic primate. This conservation project is of national importance for Singapore, and together with NParks, we are fully committed to be a part of the pioneering approach to manage the species over the long-term so Singapore does not have a primate going extinct on our watch.”

Dr. Adrian Loo, Director (Terrestrial), National Biodiversity Centre, National Parks Board, said:

“Reforestation, setting aside buffer parks such as the upcoming Tho.on Nature Park and enrichment planting over the years have improved the rainforest habitat of the endangered Raffles’ Banded Langur. This will further help increase the foraging area and connectivity for the species, which saw an increase since the early 1990s. Even so, a multi-pronged approach is required to ensure the full recovery of the species. Thus, NParks looks forward to working with our stakeholders to guide the development of long-term conservation and management strategies for this shy, elusive species. We hope to see these animals thrive in our forests one day.”

Primatologist Ms. Andie Ang, of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group said:

“The development of a regional Species Action Plan signifies a first collaboration between Singaporean and Malaysian authorities, universities, and NGOs in the research and conservation of the Raffles’ Banded Langurs. Besides ensuring that the habitat of the langurs is protected and restored, we hope that this joint effort can also help raise public awareness and appreciation of this primate and the natural heritage in both countries.”

— END —

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River Safari’s Kai And Junior To Travel To The Carribbean For World’s First Manatee Repopulation Programme

Hafiz with Junior
River Safari aquarist Hafiz Rahmat conducting canvas conditioning for Junior, a 6-year-old male manatee, to prepare him for the 30-odd-hour journey from Singapore to Guadeloupe. Junior and his tank mate Kai are the first two manatees chosen to participate in the world’s first manatee repopulation programme.
River Safari aquarist Hafiz Rahmat conducting canvas conditioning for Junior, a 6-year-old male manatee, to prepare him for the 30-odd-hour journey from Singapore to Guadeloupe. Junior and his tank mate Kai are the first two manatees chosen to participate in the world’s first manatee repopulation programme.

SINGAPORE – River Safari’s Kai and Junior are set to become the first two manatees in over a century to arrive in Guadeloupe. The pair are pioneer animals for the world’s first manatee re-population programme.

Spearheaded by the National Park of Guadeloupe, the historic conservation project aims to reintroduce the Antillean manatees in Guadeloupe through a breeding programme with a founding group of 15 manatees from various zoological institutions. An important cultural symbol locally, the West Indian manatee species has been extinct in the waters of Guadeloupe since the beginning of the 20th century as a result of excessive hunting activities.

Sébastien Rives from the National Park of Guadeloupe hand-feeding Kai and Junior with high fibre pellets inside River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest, the world’s largest freshwater aquarium. Sébastien was on a study trip to River Safari to understand Kai and Junior’s personalities better and learn about their likes and dislikes, which will aid their care and well-being when the pair arrives in Guadeloupe.
Sébastien Rives from the National Park of Guadeloupe hand-feeding Kai and Junior with high fibre pellets inside River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest, the world’s largest freshwater aquarium. Sébastien was on a study trip to River Safari to understand Kai and Junior’s personalities better and learn about their likes and dislikes, which will aid their care and well-being when the pair arrives in Guadeloupe.


Kai and Junior will be the first to arrive at the Grand Cul-de-sac Marin, a protected bay which measures 15,000 hectares and would shield the manatees from boating traffic by way of an enforced no-entry zone. The future offspring from this founding group will be reintroduced to the wild, eventually repopulating the Caribbean region.

Dr. Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “We have been very successful in breeding manatees in our care for the past 20 years. We are very happy that this success will now contribute to restocking part of the species’ historic range in the Caribbean where it has been extinct for the past century. Projects like this is one of many ways that we are contributing to the survival of species in the wild.”

Kai and Junior have been selected as they have reached sexual maturity, and are best pals inside the aquarium due to age similarity. Kai was born on 8 October 2009 and Junior was born on 2 February 2010. They are almost inseparable, and can often be spotted swimming and feeding together.

Kai and Junior’s flight to Guadeloupe will occur within the next few weeks, and is likely to take more than 30 hours with several pit stops. Although a date has not been set, aquarists have been busy conducting operant conditioning, and spending extra time with them before the final farewell. Canvas conditioning is required to ensure that both manatees are comfortable and familiar with the material on export day. Kai and Junior will take turns to be guided to rest on their canvases, and a hoist will then lift the canvas to place the manatees inside their open top traveling crates, custom-fitted to their lengths.

Seven-year-old male manatee, Kai, was chosen as he had reached sexual maturity and is best friends in the aquarium with Junior. Male manatees can reach sexual maturity from three to four years old onwards
Seven-year-old male manatee, Kai, was chosen as he had reached sexual maturity and is best friends in the aquarium with Junior. Male manatees can reach sexual maturity from three to four years old onwards

These crates are lined with thick sponge to ensure that Kai and Junior remain comfortable throughout the flight, and also to absorb water which has to be periodically sprayed on the manatees to keep their skin moist. In true VIP style, Kai and Junior will have their personal flight entourage, which includes veterinarians from the National Park of Guadeloupe, and two aquarists from River Safari.

“The ultimate conservation goal would be to reintroduce threatened animal species to the wild and yet it is a very rare opportunity for this to happen as there is a severe lack of suitable wild habitats, among other challenges. We are very happy that the manatees will have such an opportunity. We are confident that Kai and Junior will do well for the good of their species”, said Keith So, Deputy Head Aquarist at River Safari.

Manatees are currently 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.

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THE LUSH PRIZE 2016 New Young Researcher Awards for Asia and Americas triples the size of the fund available to Young Researchers for the first time

Bianca Marigliani, 2015 Lush Prize Young Researcher     winner

Bianca Marigliani, 2015 Lush Prize Young Researcher     winner

Since 2012, the Lush Prize has been rewarding scientists around the world who have been working towards the goal of replacing animals in chemical safety testing. One of the most successful elements of the Prize has been its Young Researcher Awards, which have focussed on scientists in the early stages of their careers.

With interest in non-animal research techniques growing fast in Asia and in North and South America, the Lush Prize is rolling out two new regional Young Researcher Awards in 2016.

  • The Lush Prize: Young Researchers Asia awards will award £10,000 each to up to five researchers wishing to fund the next stage of a career focused on an animal-test free future.
  • The Lush Prize: Young Researchers Americas awards will award £10,000 to five young scientists in North, South and Central America.

The awards will be presented at two special events in North America and South Korea in November.  The Rest of World Young Researcher awards will take place at the award ceremony in London, on 11th November – along with all the other normal categories.

Nominations can either be made by the individual themselves or by their academic colleagues using the main website forms at: Nominations for the 2016 Lush Prize close at midnight on July 24th.

 Lush Prize spokesperson Craig Redmond comments: “We are excited to have an increased focus on supporting young researchers, particularly in Asia and Americas, this year. These young scientists need funding and encouragement to continue their careers in advancing superior, non-animal research and we can provide the platform for that.”

Bianca Marigliani from Brazil was a 2015 Lush Prize Young Researcher winner for work on replacing animal products in alternatives research. She comments, “Winning the Lush Prize is going to help us take a step forward in the development of alternative in vitro methods that are safe and really cruelty-free, without using animals or any animal-derived materials.”

Nominations for the Prize can be made online at

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