World Pangolin Day in focus at Night Safari

World Pangolin Day aims to raise awareness of the plight of the scaly mammals which are poached more than elephants and rhinos combined.
Channel NewsAsia 18 Feb 16;

SINGAPORE: Want to get up close with pangolins in Singapore? Members of the public will get their chance on Saturday (Feb 20) at the Night Safari as part of World Pangolin Day.

In a media release on Thursday, the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) said that two special sessions of Keeper Talks – at 7.45pm and 8.45pm – are part of efforts to save the world’s most heavily-trafficked mammal from extinction. Night Safari admission charges apply for those wishing to join the talks.

World Pangolin Day, which falls on Feb 20, aims to raise awareness of the plight of these scaly mammals, which are poached more than elephants and rhinos combined. It is believed that in the past 10 years more than 1 million of them have been traded illegally.

Along with the talks, the WRS is supporting a number of pangolin conservation and research programmes through its conservation fund. These include tracking pangolins in the wild with radio and GPS tags.

The Night Safari is also home to the world’s first conservation breeding programme for the Sunda pangolin. The species has been listed as critically endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

The Night Safari currently houses seven Sunda pangolins in its protection, two of which were born under human care.

“The plight facing pangolins is devastating and if we want to win the battle against the illegal wildlife trade, we must educate people and inspire compassion and respect for nature and animals,” said Dr Sonja Luz, director of Conservation & Research at WRS. “Our local research and conservation efforts contribute to a better understanding of the biology and urban ecology of pangolins. Through our captive breeding efforts, we are able to raise more awareness about the amazing creatures.”

To further reach out to children, the WRS has published a book titled 'Why did the pangolin cross the road?'. The illustrated anecdote, which is in both English and Chinese, is inspired by one of the seven pangolins at the Night Safari.

A Singapore pangolin working group has also been formed to gather feedback on outreach and research activities to maximise conservation efforts.

- CNA/ek

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