“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are, in fact, plans to protect man!” – Stewart Udall
Be it a small country like Singapore, or a large country like India, biodiversity is one of the most important factors that make the country a wholesome one. Some countries have the luxury of landmass area to boast of this biodiversity – the Yellowstone National Park and the Yosemite of the United States, the Corbett and Kaziranga of India are fine examples of this, considering they are, respectively, the 4th and 7th largest countries in the world.
However, if there’s one country that has managed to incorporate this essential ‘feature’ of a healthy nation, it has to be Singapore. Within the 800 Sq. Km range, they have managed to incorporate a bird-park, a zoological garden, and an aquarium, in addition to geological parks and botanic garden. Come to think of it, Singapore is really a super-healthy ecosystem, compressed into a tiny city-state.
Here are the pillars of the super-diverse biodiversity that Singapore is:
You know Singapore has played awesome when one of the countries in the bottom 15 by area tops the list of bird-parks in the world by count of birds. Jurong is Singapore’s pride in their commitment to biodiversity. Not only that, the Jurong Bird park also gives an excuse of relaxation to the people of Singapore – a much-needed contrast when it comes to the buzzing lifestyle that Singapore trip has.
It lies on the slopes of the Jurong Hill, and
Some of the mind-blowing facts about Jurong would surely make you go wow:
- Jurong houses about 5000 birds. As discussed earlier, this is the largest number of birds in a bird-park. Just imagine the density of birds in that small area!
- Jurong is a home to about 400 species of birds, and is the second biggest in this aspect. The first one, Weltvogelpark Walsrode, is 10 acres larger than the Jurong.
PS: 29 of the 400 species of the birds in Jurong are threatened.
* All it took for Singapore was about 6 years to know that it needed a bird-park. While Singapore gained independence from Malaysia in 1965, Jurong opened to the public in 1971!
* There’s a bit of sad news here: Jurong will be moved to Mandai, a new park area by 2020! The memories of awesomeness, as much as the birds, will continue to live on!
Jurong is much more exotic than what a normal bird-sanctuary would present. There are dedicated parks for each kind of birds – one for nocturnals, one for flightless birds, one each for penguins and pelicans, and one for lories, where you can feed them with a special nectar.
There’s a very special aviary for the Southeast Asian birds that simulates a thunderstorm with drizzles every afternoon… and this is taking hospitality to a very different level! It’s Singapore telling the birds “Welcome to Jurong! Make yourselves home!”
Maybe the authorities of Singapore, way back in the 1970s thought “Why should birds have all the fun?” And they came up with the Singapore Zoological Gardens… or the Mandai Zoo, as it’s locally called, just a couple of years after Jurong opened up.
The Singapore Zoo plays host to about 315 species of animals, in which about 48 are considered to be threatened or endangered in close-to-natural habitat enclosures spread across a whopping 69 acres. The Zoo attracts no less than 1.7 million visitors year after year.
While we might dream about breakfast with either your loved one or someone who you’re a fan of, Singapore zoo hosted one of the most amazing breakfast-programs in this history of breakfasts and in the history of zoos – Breakfast with Orangutan. The visitors get to closely interact with the primates. One of the icons of the zoo and the stars of the show, Ah Meng, departed in February 2008.
The Singapore Zoo goes beyond the classical confines of the word ‘zoo’ – the ‘Elephants at Work and Play’ and ‘Rainforest Fights Back’ shows take the experience of the zoo a lot beyond what it’s meant to be. It’s no longer a trip to the zoo, but more of the trip down the trails of animal empathy!!
Singapore has taken their love for animals, literally to new depths. The SEA Aquarium is a living, breathing and rather, a swimming testimony of their awesomeness. Until 2014, the SEA Aquarium remained the largest of its kind on this planet, until taken over by the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in China.
The SEA Aquarium houses some of the largest aquatic creatures including but not limited to the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, scalloped hammerheads, the Japanese spider crab, and relatively not-so-common-in-captivity species such as the guitarfish and the chambered nautilus. It also has the largest collection of manta rays, including the only giant oceanic manta ray not in the wild.
The SEA Aquarium also brings aquatic life from all over the world, and to keep it convenient for the visitors, and to keep the fishes in their home-like space, the SEA Aquarium is segmented into different attractions. The ones from South China Sea, The Bay of Bengal, The East African and more than anything, the sharks are sources of attraction to the SEA World!
The SEA Aquarium is flanked by the attractions that make it even more wholesome – the centers of dining, shopping and the Cove Adventure Park. The adrenalin-pumping rides and the stomach-filling dining options make your trip to the Marine Life Park of Singapore complete.
Singapore – An Animal Lover’s Paradise
Let us not confine the definition of an Animal Lover to someone who loves to keep a billion pets at home. There’s always some kind of love in looking at animals (though in captivity), at the least, housed in spaces where they’re free to move around, and not confined to a space where they can barely walk.
When you have put birds in aviaries where they can freely fly, and when there are fishes in places where they can freely swim, you know Singapore is a great place, not only for human beings and technology to flourish, but also for humanitarianism and animal-life to thrive… in the most natural way!!