New Ah Meng to be introduced at Safari Zoo Run

Ah Meng, who died in 2008, was a tourism icon who rubbed shoulders with movie stars and royalty.
Ah Meng, who died in 2008, was a tourism icon who rubbed shoulders with movie stars and royalty.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Ah Meng, the Zoo's beloved Sumatran orang utan, will soon have a successor, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) said on Friday (Jan 8).

But the identity of new poster girl for the Singapore Zoo is under wraps for now.

She will be unveiled at the Safari Zoo Run to be held on Feb 27 and 28.

The "new queen of the wild", chosen from one of six surviving children and grandchildren, will "continue Ah Meng's legacy", said WRS in its press release.

The original Ah Meng died on Feb 8, 2008 when she was 48, or almost 95 in human years. She was a tourism icon and star attraction who rubbed shoulders with movie stars and royalty.

She became world famous after the "Breakfast with Ah Meng" programme began in 1982, and was featured in almost 30 travel films and more than 270 write-ups worldwide.

The Safari Zoo Run was conceived in 2009 in memory of Ah Meng.

The new 'Ah Meng' will thus have a lot to live up to, but her successor is said to share some traits with Ah Meng.

She has "a penchant for durians, a big heart for her family, and endearing eyes", WRS said.

"More nuggets about her personality will be shared when the date for Safari Zoo Run draws near."

When Ah Meng died in 2008, she was survived by four offspring - Hsing Hsing, Medan, Sayang and Satria. A daughter, Hong Bao, had died in 2004.

Her granddaughter Chomel was once said to be a possible successor. She was said to be the late matriarch's favourite.

Chomel herself has become a mother, giving birth to Bino in 2011. She also fostered a cousin, Ishta, the daughter of her aunt Sayang.