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  our wild singapore: Singapore Zoo
mms upload for 15 Aug 04 (Sun)

15/08/04 08:37 Zoo Docent Duty #1:
Today am doing volunteer duty at the Singapore Zoo.
15/08/04 08:44 Zoo Docent Duty #2:
On the way in, dropped by the Tree Top exhibit which features animals of the tree tops. Animals in the zoo are used to people and are thus easier to observe. The zoo is often among the first places a Singapore child is introduced to nature. This is a pair of White-faced Saki monkeys; only the males have white faces.
15/08/04 08:52 Zoo Docent Duty #3:
I came across these odd sculptures and upon closer inspection realised they were the Changi Tree sculptures! These were sculpted out of the portions of the felled Changi tree and the zoo has given them a home.
15/08/04 08:53 Zoo Docent Duty #4:
The Changi tree was felled only 25 days after it was rediscovered. It was initially thought that this species was extinct in Singapore. The 9 logs were sculpted to represent the 9 portions of the 150 years that is it believed to have lived. This portion with the propeller was oddly intriguing.

15/08/04 08:56 Zoo Docent Duty #5:
More of the 9 sculptures. Two seedlings of the tree were rescued by NParks and one of these seedlings will be planted here. For more about the Changi Tree, see Siva's Changi Heritage website

15/08/04 09:55 Zoo Docent Duty #6:
At the zoo, I volunteer with the Fragile Forest team that specialise in introducing visitors to invertebrates (bugs, beetles and other creepies). Here Daniel is explaining how caterpillars metamorph into butterflies, using living caterpillars. We think they are cute, but many visitors would rather not touch them :-)
15/08/04 09:57 Zoo Docent Duty #7:
The other person on duty today is Yen Ling. And here are all our treasures...living stick insects well camouflaged among sticks, and moults of all kinds of creatures from scorpions, tarantulas to horseshoe crabs. All my favourite invertebrates.
15/08/04 10:01 Zoo Docent Duty #8:
And now for a tour of the Fragile Forest itself. The exhibit aims to introduce visitors to the wide variety of habitats found in nature. As well as the wild people that live in some of them. The Asmat of Irian Jaya are featured in this exhibiti.
15/08/04 10:05 Zoo Docent Duty #9:
The first portion is a rather dark room with lots of exhibit tanks. My favourite is the fresh water tank full of interesting water bugs, beetles and other small aquatic creatures. There are also exhibits of the amusing Magadascar cockroaches that can talk to each other, glow-in-the-dark scorpions and Rose, the lovely Rose Tarantula.
15/08/04 10:06 Zoo Docent Duty #10:
There are also two large marine tanks. I struggle with this concept because it pains me to see these lovely large marine creatures trapped in a tank.
15/08/04 10:07 Zoo Docent Duty #11:
But these do allow an easy and early introduction to the marvels of the sea. And it is less "bad" than keeping a marine tank at home for the pleasure of a few. At least these marine creatures are making a sacrifice so that many can become more aware of the ocean and its treasures.
15/08/04 10:09 Zoo Docent Duty #12:
Then we enter the main enclosure (it's proper term is the biodome :-) where all kinds of creatures roam freely in an enclosed area. This is the tree duck that is just as comfortable on a branch as on the water. And behind, the faithful and friendly zooworker who has been there almost since I first started volunteering at the zoo.
15/08/04 10:10 Zoo Docent Duty #13:
The biodome is designed to introduce visitors to the different "levels" in a forest. On the forest floor roams the mousedeer. As quite as a mouse, but not so shy here. I can get close enough to take a reasonable photo with camera phone!
15/08/04 10:11 Zoo Docent Duty #14:
Butterflies are abundant in the enclosure, though we are quick to point out that the Fragile Forest is NOT just about butterflies. Today, there are these gorgeous butterflies that I know nothing about. The white Tree Nymphs are numerous as usual (they are bred in the zoo). Tree Nymphs are rarer in the wild.
15/08/04 10:13 Zoo Docent Duty #15:
Among the tree dwellers are these Ring-tailed Lemurs that visitors often mistake for a racoon. The other large tree-dwelling mammals in the exhibit are Black-and-White Ruffed Lemurs, tree kangaroos and sloths. These are never found together in the wild as they come from entirely different continents!
15/08/04 10:15 Zoo Docent Duty #16:
But my all-time favourite tree-dwelling mammal is the bat! And there are several lively and friendly Fruit Bats in the enclosure. They obligingly literally hang out near the Canopy Platform around this time of the morning because it's nearly feeding time. The bats at the zoo are more active during the day because of this feeding schedule.
15/08/04 10:18 Zoo Docent Duty #17:
On the way out of the Fragile Forest complex of exhibits, we pass the mangrove exhibit. It gives an easy intro to this fascinating habitat, complete with Archerfishes that spit on command! At this juncture, I always try to introduce Singaporeans especially to their own wetlands and mangroves that they can visit. The zoo provides me the opportunity to bring nature and animal lovers closer to their own wild places.
15/08/04 10:20 Zoo Docent Duty #18:
Various quotations are found in the exhibit, but this one is my favourite:
Only after the last tree has been cut down;
Only after the last river has been poisoned;
Only after the last fish has been caught;
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten
15/08/04 10:47 Zoo Docent Duty #19:
Getting back to the Fragile Forest station, here is Ivy introducing kids to the stick insect.
15/08/04 11:45 Zoo Docent Duty #20:
It's time for lunch! Just like these bats! We pack up the station. On the way to lunch we spot lots and lots of St. Andrew's Cross spiders among the vegetation.
15/08/04 11:51 Zoo Docent Duty #21:
On the way home, we stop to read about the gibbons at the zoo. They are confiscated or rescued from the wild pet trade. There is more information about the destructive effect of this trade and why we should not support such trade.
15/08/04 11:52 Zoo Docent Duty #22:
There is a promotion for weddings at the zoo. This seems to be a rather controversial issue...
15/08/04 11:54 Zoo Docent Duty #23 (last):
The zoo attracts lots of photographers with all kinds of fabulous equipment. Hopefully, once they gain experience and confidence in shooting nature in a controlled setting like the zoo, they will move on to document our fast disappearing nature.

More about the Singapore Zoo including how to get there.
More about the Singapore Zoo Docent (volunteer) programme


these blog entries were first uploaded on MoBlog Singapore! Celebrate Singapore NDP 04
website©ria tan 2004