PICTURES

Giant river otter baby among 400 animal babies born at WRS parks this year

Malayan tapir Putri, born on June 3, 2013, 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
Malayan tapir Putri, born on June 3, 2013, 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. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Since its birth on Aug 10, 2013, 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 hi
Since its birth on Aug 10, 2013, 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. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
More than 400 animal babies were born in Wildlife Reserves Singapore's (WRS) four parks between January and August this year, including Asia's first giant river otter baby. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
More than 400 animal babies were born in Wildlife Reserves Singapore's (WRS) four parks between January and August this year, including Asia's first giant river otter baby. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

More than 400 animal babies were born in Wildlife Reserves Singapore's (WRS) four parks between January and August this year, including Asia's first giant river otter baby.

The yet unnamed male pup was born on Aug 10 at the River Safari, weighing 1.6kg and measuring 60cm. While it may be small now, giant otters can grow to a length of 1.8m and weigh up to 34kg. Found in South American rivers, giant otters are among the rarest otters in the world, often hunted extensively for their fur and threatened by the loss of their natural habitat.

Other animals born in Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo this year include threatened species such as the orang utan, manatee and Malayan tapir. Through the years, WRS parks have exchanged many of these animals with other reputable zoos for breeding purposes.

"With increasing threats such as habitat destruction and poaching, captive breeding programmes play a pivotal role in conserving threatened species for our future generations," said WRS's chief life sciences officer, Dr Cheng Wen-Haur.