Singapore:River-themed wildlife park "River Safari" will be having its soft opening for public on April 3.The 12-hectare park,which is the first of this kind in Asia is situated at Mandai between the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, and it is said to feature some 150 plant species and 300 animal species.
Built at a staggering cost of S$160 million, visitors will be able to explore eight types of river habitats including the Mississippi, Nile, Amazon, Ganges and Yangtze rivers. During the soft opening phase, visitors can walk through River Safari's freshwater galleries and immersive exhibits. This includes the world's largest freshwater aquarium at the Amazon Flooded Forest and the Giant Panda Forest.The park's boat rides will not be available until later this year as these are undergoing technical adjustments.
The 12-hectare, S$160 million River Safari is the newest addition to Wildlife Reserves Singapore's portfolio of award-winning parks. The park will be home to over 150 plant species and 5,000 animal specimens, representing 300 animal species.
Among the unique aquatic and terrestrial animals featured in the park are endangered river giants such as the Giant Salamander, Giant Freshwater Stingray and Mekong Giant Catfish.The pandas are located at the Yangtze River exhibit that features the Yangtze alligator and the world's largest amphibian, the Chinese giant salamander. Visitors can also see the endangered giant river otter, which – measuring 1.8 metres from nose to tail tip – is the world's largest otter.
Assistant director of Zoology River Safari, Ang Cheng Chye said: "For example, the giant river otters, that's quite a hard species to acquire, because there are not many in the world in the first place, and they're very strict to make sure that you meet the right husbandry standards before they give it to us."With most of the animals that we have, we always try to breed them, especially the endangered ones, and then we do exchange programmes with other zoos and ultimately, we hope that some of these animals will get reintroduced into the wild, but that's still a long way off."
Director of exhibit design at Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Cham Tud Yinn said: "The challenge is to build habitats that are as realistic as possible, and yet have a very advanced tech system that can make sure the water is clear and you can see the animals clearly."
Adding to the Director, the chairman of Wildlife Reserves Singapor,e Claire Chiang, said: "We look forward to welcoming visitors to River Safari and bringing them up-close to the fascinating wildlife that live in river habitats, which are disappearing faster than forest and marine environments."As the first and only river-themed wildlife park in Asia, River Safari aims to highlight the importance of freshwater ecosystems and inspire positive actions for conserving them. In addition, we also seek to play a part in global captive breeding programmes for endangered freshwater species."
River Safari will opens daily from 9am to 6pm. Admission prices during the soft opening phase will be S$25 for adults, S$16 for a child between 3 and 12 years old, and $12.50 for senior citizens above 60 years old.