SINGAPORE - A new exhibit has been created to house some special feathered residents at Jurong Bird Park, said Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) on Thursday (Oct 15).
Situated next to the Hawk Arena, the new aviary accommodates the park's pioneer generation of birds that have retired from the Kings of the Skies show.
While they might have left the limelight, the eight birds of prey from six different species will continue to delight and enjoy their retirement under the watchful care of their keepers.
Birds from different species mixing in the aviary is actually good for them, as it stimulates them both physically and mentally, said WRS.
The oldest resident is Rod Stewart, an Egyptian vulture that might be close to 60 years old. Birds of his species have a 21-year lifespan in the wild. He now wears a white bib across his chest to prevent him from picking at an old wound.
"By opening the aviary to the public, we hope guests can appreciate these elderly animals and learn how modern zoos care for them," said Dr Cheng Wen Haur, WRS deputy chief executive and chief life sciences officer.
Just like people, many of these older birds have common age-related ailments, experiencing muscle atrophy and vision loss, and having to take medicines.
Carlos and Jose, two American black vulture siblings, receive daily medicine in their food for their arthritis and to keep them active. Otherwise, the 22-year-old brothers are in good physical condition, preferring to perch high up on the aviary.
All animals that have reached 75 per cent of their expected lifespan are placed under a senior animal care plan across WRS' four wildlife parks.
Without having to fend off predators or diseases, and having access to food and quality healthcare, animals under human care tend to live longer than their counterparts in the wild.
Under WRS' plan, senior animals benefit from customised diet and exercise, as well as more frequent visits from the vets. They also receive a full health check every six months and are assessed by their keepers and by vets for any health or mobility issues.
The senior animal care plan seeks to slow down the onset of age-related diseases and ensure the animals continue to enjoy quality life in their twilight years, added Dr Cheng.