Wildlife Times

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Wildlife Times
JULY/AUGUST 2012
Wildlife Times
C O N S E R VAT I O N & E D U C AT I O N
WRS quarterly magazine
wildlife
Wonders
SERVICE LEARNING
& VOLUNTEER
PROGRAMME
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Bleeding Hearts Stay Save In Jurong Bird Park
Named for the splash of red on its
white breast, the Luzon bleeding heart
pigeon is currently listed as Near
Threatened on the International Union
for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red
List of Threatened Species. Besides
habitat loss from logging, these
unique-looking birds are also hunted
for food and the illegal pet trade.
Below: On 17 April 2012, Philippines
Ambassador to Singapore, Minda
Calaguian-Cruz, witnessed the release
of the pigeons into JBP’s South-east
Asian Birds Aviary.
Endemic to Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, and the
neighbouring Polillo Islands, the Luzon bleeding heart pigeon is
commonly found in lowland forests. This ground pigeon spends
most of its time on the forest floor, foraging for seeds, fruits,
insects, worms and other small invertebrates.
Jurong Bird Park (JBP) has obtained 2 pairs of Luzon bleeding heart
pigeons as part of a conservation and breeding programme with
Philippine’s Avilon Zoo and the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources (DENR). The offspring will be released at Polillo
Islands to revive the declining wild population.
Enhancing The Mating Success Of Tapirs
The Malayan tapir lives in parts
of Asia including Malaysia,
Indonesia, Myanmar and
Thailand. It is endangered by
habitat destruction, poaching
and other forms of human
intrusion.
in heat are observed to display
an increase in vocalisation
and urine spraying. They are
also more active, show less
interest in food and engage in
playful interaction with males
in adjacent enclosures. The
recognition of such estrous
behaviour ensures a safe
introduction of potential
mating pairs and increases
mating success to benefit the
conservation efforts of this
endangered species.
Tapirs are solitary by nature
and only come together during
mating season. The gestation
period is about 13 months
and generally, a single calf is
born every two years. One
of the main challenges of
captive breeding is to identify
females in heat, to ensure
the successful introduction of
potential mating pairs. Mixing
males with females that are
not in estrous cycle could lead
to aggressive behaviours and
injuries.
Sam Shu Qin from Nanyang
Technological University
investigated key estrous signs
displayed by female Malayan
tapirs in Night Safari. Females
Turtles In Trouble
Dr Chris Shepherd, Deputy Regional Director of
TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, presented “Tortoises
and Freshwater Turtles – The Crisis Continues”
to staff of Wildlife Reserves Singapore on 19 July
2012. The talk addressed current threats to the
conservation of tortoises and turtles and the
scale of international trade.
plummeted from habitat destruction and
pollution. Many species are hunted for food
and traditional medicines in China and exported
to Europe, North America and Japan for the
exotic pet trade. The pet trade in South-east
Asia involves threatened species that are often
sourced illegally.
Tortoises and freshwater turtles are among
the world’s most endangered vertebrates. The
number of species stands today at about 300,
half of which are threatened with extinction.
Throughout the world, populations have
Captive breeding is vital to revive the shrinking
populations of critically endangered species, as
are community-based protection programmes
that empower local people to safeguard the
animal from poachers.
Critically Endangered
The Roti Island snake-necked turtle lives on the island of Roti
west of Timor in South-eastern Indonesia. Its population is
almost wiped out by the illegal pet trade.
Critically Endangered
The population of Madagascar’s ploughshare tortoises
is dwindling due to the illegal trafficking, wild fires and
deforestation. Fewer than 1,000 remain in the wild.
Speak Up For Wildlife
Knowledge is worthless if it is
not shared. At WRS, our team of
volunteers is committed to share
their love for nature by speaking
up for wildlife. WRS Docents
and Conservation Ambassadors
are based at various exhibits
in Singapore Zoo, Night Safari
and Jurong Bird Park. They also
help out at many conservation
awareness events. By sharing
their passion and knowledge,
they inspire and empower
visitors to make positive changes
in wildlife conservation.
Visit http://education.zoo.
com.sg/docent.html and
http://education.zoo.com.sg/
servicelearning.html to find
out how you can join WRS’
team of volunteers to spread
the wildlife conservation
message!
Left: The newly opened Breeding
and Research Centre at Jurong
Bird Park is a great place to learn
about the incredible journey of life for
some of our resident birds, thanks
to our enthusiastic Conservation
Ambassadors and docents.
Below: Docents and Conservation
Ambassadors sharing the plight of
big cats at Night Safari’s June holiday
event - Wild About Cats.
“Picture The Colour” Celebrates Bird Shows
Get trigger-happy at Jurong
Bird Park’s Picture The Colour
photography competition! This
year, we are celebrating JBP’s
Bird Shows which have been
entertaining and educating
guests for the past 30 years.
Snap photos of our presenters
with birds in action during
shows or feeding programmes
and send them in before 30
September. There are more
than $8,000 worth of prizes up
for grabs! Visit http://www.
birdpark.com.sg for more
information.
Native Critter Chatter
PHOTO: SHIRLEY NG
Otters are members of the Mustelidae family, relatives of the
weasel, badger and wolverine. One species, the smooth-coated
otter, can be found in coastal areas, lakes and reservoirs in South
Asia and South-east Asia. In Singapore, small family groups are
regularly sighted at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
Like all otters, smooth-coated otters have adapted to life in water.
Webbed feet and flattened tails help them swim and hunt for fish,
shellfish and crustaceans. In Bangladesh, captive bred smoothcoated otters are trained to fish for men. They are harnessed to
poles then released into rivers to chase fish into nets.

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