WRS sees more than 700 births across 131 species at its parks, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

WRS sees more than 700 births across 131 species at its parks

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More than 700 animals from across 131 species were born at the four parks under Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) last year.

Among the newborns were 35 species listed as threatened under the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The standout success was the landmark breeding of the endangered Santa Cruz ground dove under human care at Jurong Bird Park, with 12 chicks born since late December, WRS said.

Other notable newborns included a chimpanzee, a Celebes crested macaque, a pair of sloth bears and Malayan horned frogs.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, WRS' deputy chief executive officer and chief life sciences officer, said: "Our team of zookeepers and veterinarians have done us proud again with some outstanding achievements in conservation breeding.

"The world-first breeding of a Santa Cruz ground dove in human care is a significant step in establishing an assurance population of this species away from their natural home."

An assurance population refers to a colony of a species bred under human care and ensures the species does not go completely extinct even if it was to die out in the wild.

About 300 of the doves, which are native to the Solomon Islands, are estimated to exist in the wild.

The first chick in the Bird Park hatched on Dec 31. Jurong Bird Park also successfully bred three critically endangered straw-headed bulbuls last year, having hatched one in 2017.

The songbird is threatened by poaching, and Singapore is the last stronghold of the species with a local wild population of just over 200.

In a first for the Singapore Zoo, five tadpoles of the Malayan horned frog successfully reached froglet stage - the stage before it becomes an adult frog. Two have survived and grown into juveniles.

The zoo also recorded its first birth of a Celebes crested macaque, Agung, in seven years.

The critically endangered species is threatened by habitat loss and hunting for bush meat.

At the Night Safari, zookeepers successfully brought up a pair of sloth bear cub twins, after hand-raising them in order to maximise their chances of survival. Born last September to an inexperienced mother, Shreya and Zara needed constant care in their first few weeks. They are now preparing for their eventual public debut.