Nearly 400 animals born in 2020, including first Malayan tiger cubs in over 20 years: WRS

The Malayan tiger cubs are currently cared for by their mother Intan in an off-exhibit area at Night Safari. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo mother Nupela and her first-born joey, Malolo. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Two red-fronted macaws were hatched at Jurong Bird Park. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Nearly 400 animals, including some critically endangered and threatened species, were born in local wildlife parks last year, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) said on Thursday (Feb 25).

Among the brood from 107 species - of which 29 are threatened in the wild - were two critically endangered Malayan tiger cubs, the first successful births in Singapore since 1998.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, deputy chief executive and chief life sciences officer at WRS, said: "With an estimated 150 Malayan tigers left in the wild (in the world), the birth of this duo is a significant addition to the population of this sub-species."

Born on Dec 27, 2020, the cubs have yet to be named and are currently cared for by their mother Intan in an off-exhibit area at Night Safari, where the animal care team monitors their progress via closed-circuit cameras.

Other births that have helped sustain the dwindling populations of rare species include two red-fronted macaws and seven black-legged poison frogs.

Both species are endangered owing to habitat destruction and illegal trade.

The black-legged poison frogs are kept as illegal pets despite being extremely poisonous and requiring high humidity levels to ensure their survival as they are native to tropical rainforests.

Breeding efforts to match animals with genetic compatibility have also paid off.

At the Singapore Zoo, critically endangered red ruffed lemurs Minnie and Bosco welcomed their first babies, a pair of twins, on Feb 22, 2020.

The rust-coloured brother and sister can be spotted swinging around their home with their parents.

Goodfellow's tree kangaroos Makaia and Nupela also birthed a male joey, named Malolo, on Feb 4, 2020. They were matched under the Global Species Management Plan in 2016 to enhance the genetic viability of species under human care.

At the River Safari, aquarists experienced thrice the joy with a hat trick of births from the park's most iconic species, the West Indian manatee.

Two of them were born to first-time mothers Canola and her best friend Joella.

WRS said it has "an impressive track record with this vulnerable species, having bred 24 so far".

Dr Cheng added: "A key goal of breeding wildlife in our parks is to achieve sustainable populations of species under human care... Depending on species and circumstances, these zoo-born progenies may also serve as assurance colonies that could one day be used to strengthen wild populations."

In 2019, there were over 660 animal babies born across 121 species, of which 25 were threatened species.

The Night Safari's first male Malayan tapir calf in close to a decade is named Bintang. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
River Safari's aquarists experienced thrice the joy with a hat trick of successful births of the park's most iconic species, the West Indian manatee. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

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