SINGAPORE - The River Safari's animal icon, Canola the manatee, was surprised with a 2m-tall cake made out of cabbage, carrots and sweet potato leaves on Wednesday (July 26) morning.
The manatee celebrated its third birthday with more than 60 invited guests in the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit at the river-themed attraction. The guests were also treated to live music by local jazz saxophonist Daniel Chia.
During the celebration, Canola enjoyed a morning swim with the aquarist team from the River Safari.
Born in the River Safari on Aug 6 three years ago, Canola was abandoned by its mother and had to be cared for by aquarists. They bottle-fed the female animal every two to three hours during the first three months of its life.
It is now a healthy and playful manatee weighing 300kg, 10 times heavier than it was at birth.
Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, chief life sciences officer and deputy chief executive officer of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: "As we celebrate her third birthday, our hope is that Canola will continue to thrive and inspire the community at large to act responsibly to keep rivers liveable for people and wildlife."
In May last year, Canola was unveiled as the River Safari's first animal icon. In this role, it is a wildlife ambassador for all threatened wildlife, inspiring the public to protect the world's remaining freshwater habitats.
Manatees are listed as vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.