Animals on TV a channel to cheer up young patients at KKH

Nineteen-month-old Caiden De Silva and his mother, Isabelle Lim, 34, get up close with friendly animals such as Dash the ferret (held by ranger Kimberly Sim, far left); Girl Girl the sulphur crested cockatoo (held by Lee Jing Yi); and Toast the hedge
Nineteen-month-old Caiden De Silva and his mother, Isabelle Lim, 34, get up close with friendly animals such as Dash the ferret (held by ranger Kimberly Sim, far left); Girl Girl the sulphur crested cockatoo (held by Lee Jing Yi); and Toast the hedgehog (in animal care officer Ade Kurniawan's hands) at the launch of San Diego Zoo Kids Channel in KKH yesterday. ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Nineteen-month-old Caiden De Silva and his mother, Isabelle Lim, 34, get up close with friendly animals such as Dash the ferret (held by ranger Kimberly Sim, far left); Girl Girl the sulphur crested cockatoo (held by Lee Jing Yi); and Toast the hedge
Above: The channel is available in all paediatric wards at KKH.ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Neha, a young elephant at the Singapore Zoo at risk of getting a viral disease, has to be pricked by a needle regularly as part of its routine health check-up.

Its story is one that young patients at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) can relate to and even learn from.

By showing how Neha overcomes its fear through conditioning, KKH hopes the children undergoing similar ordeals can be inspired by the elephant's resilience.

It is such inspiring animal-care stories that the San Diego Zoo has been trying to bring to TV screens in hospitals worldwide.

It has teamed up with KKH and Wildlife Reserves Singapore to introduce San Diego Zoo Kids for the first time in Asia. This is a closed-circuit television channel offering family-friendly, entertaining and educational programming centred on creatures at the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari and Jurong Bird Park.

The channel is available in all paediatric wards at KKH.

"The stories we tell through this channel not only entertain children and their families during a stressful time, but provide a resource of calm and comfort for the young patients," said Mr Douglas Myers, the president and chief executive officer of San Diego Zoo Global.

The venture uses the San Diego team's expertise in creating child-friendly animal content to make local wildlife more relatable to children. The channel debuted at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego in 2013 and has since been installed in countries such as the US, Australia, Pakistan and Canada. The channel is funded by San Diego Zoo Global.

KKH announced the collaboration yesterday, inviting Singapore Zoo staff and also some animals - a ferret, cockatoo, bearded dragon and a hedgehog - to the hospital to meet the young patients.

Rachael Seow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2018, with the headline 'Animals on TV a channel to cheer up young patients at KKH'. Print Edition | Subscribe