Animals

Adding to an already well-rounded experience, the Singapore Zoo will make use of immersive technology to provide visitors with a fresh experience. It will include Rainforest Lumina’s innovative use of light, multimedia and interactive elements, as well as an engaging narrative to heighten the night walk experience.

Singapore’s award-winning wildlife attraction celebrates its 45th year since it first opened in 1973 with a new, illuminated multimedia night walk on the wild side that promises a sensory feast for visitors.

Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, unveiled Rainforest Lumina – the first such seasonal event to be staged in Southeast Asia – in a special preview event.

From 1 July 2018, a one-kilometer stretch within the zoo’s tropical rainforest will awaken the senses as visitors walk through 11 different zones and meet the Creature Crew, a group of unlikely heroes who will take visitors on a whimsical adventure along the paths of their enchanted world.

Created by award-winning multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory and set up with careful consideration to minimise disturbance to the park’s animal collection and native wildlife, Rainforest Lumina will take visitors on an immersive journey as they encounter interactive and mesmerising installations and uncover a side of the zoo that has never been seen before.

See the rainforest in a whole new light

With the overarching theme “We are one”, Rainforest Lumina seeks to drive home the message that humans, animals and nature are inter-connected, with each having a vital role to play to sustain life on earth. The transformation of the Singapore Zoo into a magical landscape of lights and sound, coupled with the interaction with the Creature Crew, will take guests on the spellbinding journey that will spark inspiration at every turn and nurture empathy for nature and wildlife.

Tomorrow’s Pioneers

Opening as one of the world’s first “open-concept” zoos, the Singapore Zoo started with a modest collection of about 300 animals. Today, the Singapore Zoo welcomes 1.9 million visitors each year and is home to over 2,400 animals representing more than 300 species, of which 34 percent are threatened in the wild. The Zoo has also been successful in breeding critically endangered species and has established itself as one of the best zoos in the world, gaining worldwide recognition.

Adding to an already well-rounded experience, the Singapore Zoo will make use of immersive technology to provide visitors with a fresh experience. It will include Rainforest Lumina’s innovative use of light, multimedia and interactive elements, as well as an engaging narrative to heighten the night walk experience.

Mr Mike Barclay, Group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings, said, “We have been redefining experiences and storytelling since the Singapore Zoo opened its doors to our first visitors in 1973. We observed that walking through the zoo’s rainforest setting at night awakens all your senses and we wanted to find an innovative way to allow all our guests to also enjoy this exciting experience. Rainforest Lumina is an interactive and illuminated night walk that leads visitors on a multimedia-enhanced journey designed to celebrate the wonders of the natural world.”

“It has been a great collaboration between Moment Factory and Wildlife Reserves Singapore as we developed a new, unique multimedia experience for Singapore Zoo guests”, said Mr Jonathan St-Onge, General Manager, Lumina Series, Moment Factory. “Rainforest Lumina is the latest addition to our Lumina series and is inspired by Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s mission and the zoo’s unique landscape. Rainforest Lumina uses interactive elements, projection mapping, lights and a soundscape to create an immersive attraction that will allow guests to rediscover the zoo at night and to reconnect with nature in a magical way.”

Ms Carrie Kwik, Executive Director, Attractions, Entertainment and Tourism Concept Development for the Singapore Tourism Board said, “We are excited to support the Rainforest Lumina as part of the Singapore Zoo’s 45th anniversary. The Zoo, which has won several regional and international accolades, is an iconic attraction in the region for both visitors and Singaporeans. Its constant software enhancements play an important role in refreshing our diverse offerings and enhancing Singapore’s appeal as an attractive tourist destination with new and varied experiences to look forward to with each visit. We hope the Rainforest Lumina experience will attract even more visitors to the Zoo during this special season.”

Mr Barclay adds, “Beyond being a multimedia attraction, the deeper message of Rainforest Lumina is a call for everyone to come together to protect and preserve the wildlife we share our planet with.”

Singapore Zoo is set in a rainforest environment, its world-famous “Open Concept” offers the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the wonders of nature. Home to more than 2,400 specimens over 300 species, 34 per cent of which are threatened, the Zoo has attained a strong reputation internationally for its conservation initiatives and breeding programmes. To better meet the healthcare needs of its animals and working towards its aspiration to become a leading global centre of excellence for veterinary healthcare and research, a purpose-built Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre was set up in March 2006.

Annually, approximately 1.9 million visitors enjoy experiential learning journeys at the 26-hectare award-winning Zoo—part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore and a designated rescued wildlife centre by the governing authority. Rainforest Lumina is a seasonal attraction which runs nightly from 7.30pm – 10.30pm.

Moment Factory is a multimedia studio with a full range of production expertise under one roof. Their team combines specializations in video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects to create remarkable experiences. With its headquarters based in Montreal, the studio also has offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, New York City and Paris. Since its inception in 2001, Moment Factory has created more than 400 unique shows and destinations. Productions span the globe and include such clients as Los Angeles Airport, Microsoft, NFL, Sony, Toyota, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Madonna, Royal Caribbean and locally, Changi Airport.

If you need a good reason to venture outdoors this winter, consider ‘whale watching’ along the coastlines of South Australia.

Some of the best opportunities for whale watching in South Australia are at Head of Bight on the Nullarbor (far west coast of South Australia) and in Encounter Bay on the Fleurieu Peninsula where Southern Right Whales gather to mate, give birth and nurse their calves in our winter time.


The South Australia Whale Centre have developed guidelines to ensure appropriate care is taken to protect these endangered giants as the popularity of this pastime continues to grow. Here’s their advise on Whale Watching the RIGHT way….

What makes whale watching in South Australia unique?


Southern Right Whales give birth in as little as 5 metres of water therefore come very close to shore and if undisturbed can stay in residence for 3-4 months nursing their calves until they are big and strong enough to make the long migration back to sub-Antarctic feeding grounds. This makes land-based sustainable whale watching available to everyone just 1-hour drive from Adelaide!

Migration and Conservation


Southern Right Whales feed in Antarctic waters in our summer before travelling an incredible 3-5,000kms to shallow, warmer waters off Australia, South Africa, South America and New Zealand southern coasts.

Whales visit Encounter Bay between May and November each year to give birth, nurse their young, mate and socialise. Females and their calves reside in nursery areas for up to 3-4 months.
Females are shown to have site fidelity and often return to calving and nursery grounds they have used in the past. When calves are born they average 4-5 metres in length and weigh about 1 tonne.
 Female adult Southern Right Whales can grow up to 80Tonnes and up 18metres long.

Southern Right Whales are classified as an “endangered” species under the Australian Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act. Australia is the winter home to around 2,500 of the 15,000 or so Southern Right Whales remaining worldwide; still a small fraction of the estimated 60,000 – 100,000 that existed worldwide prior to whaling. Protection of the whales and their habitat in Encounter Bay is critical for conservation of this species.



Other Whale Species


Whale watcher also frequently see Humpback Whales at various locations across the Fleurieu Peninsula during the winter months from May to October. They are also migrating north from sub-Antarctic feeding grounds, but their destination is the warmer more tropical waters of NSW, QLD and WA further north.

Resident populations of both Bottlenose and Common Dolphins also reside at various locations along the coast including Victor Harbor and can be frequently spotted from Granite Island and The Bluff in Victor Harbor.



Sustainable Whale Watching Guidelines


The South Australian Whale Centre promote sustainable Whale Watching Guidelines to protect public safety and ensure that whales keep returning to our waters into the future. Whales are very sensitive to noise pollution and can leave an area if disturbed by loud and/or fast moving boats, other vessels and aircraft such as boats, jet skis, planes and drones.
There is a Jet Ski Restriction Zone in Operation around Victor Harbor from 1st May to 30th September.


The Encounter Bay Restricted Area adds further protection for Whales in Encounter Bay by restricting boats from approaching whales closer than 300m.

Planes and remotely piloted aircraft (drones) must be at least 300m from any whale or other marine mammal at all times.


For the latest whale sighting information across South Australia visit the South Australian Whale Centre Sighting Log or call the Centre on (08) 8551 0750.

Wildscreen is the world’s leading international festival celebrating and advancing storytelling about the natural world.

For over 30 years our prestigious biennial Festival has been convening and celebrating the world’s best natural world storytellers.

Through collaboration with our ever-growing community of filmmakers, photographers, broadcasters, technologists and conservation organisations we aim to transform the craft of natural world storytelling across platforms and across audiences, ensuring as many people as possible experience the natural world, feel part of it and want to help protect it.

FESTIVAL PASSES ON SALE NOW @ wildscreen.org

When a Great Philippine Eagle looks you in the eye, it’s breathtaking. When that crest flares up and those riveting blue eyes connect with yours, there is no question that this is a magnificent bird we must save from extinction.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has produced a stunning new film, Bird of Prey, which tells the dramatic story of the Great Philippine Eagle. Films about nature are evolving to present unique views in stunning detail, advances in equipment and techniques immerse viewers in the world of wildlife like never before. This beautifully rendered story removes the distance we often feel for nature and this empowers us to consider our role as guardians differently.

If you enjoyed this preview of Bird of Prey, please consider supporting the Lab’s multimedia initiatives and other critical work today!

A project by Trees for Life relocating red squirrels to their old forest homes in northwest Scotland has been boosted by evidence of breeding and natural expansion by the new populations.

The conservation charity is reintroducing squirrels to suitable native woodlands in the Highlands, from which the species has been lost. Because reds travel between trees and avoid crossing large open spaces, they can’t return to these isolated forest fragments on their own.

“Early indications are that this could be a real wildlife success story. The new squirrel populations are not only flourishing and breeding in their new homes, they are also starting to spread out into new areas – with squirrels being sighted as far as 15 kilometres away,” said Becky Priestley, Trees for Life’s Wildlife Officer.

The project’s initial relocations took place between the springs of 2016 and 2017, with the first 33 squirrels from Inverness-shire and Moray released at Shieldaig in Wester Ross. This was followed by 22 more released at the Coulin Estate next to Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve near Kinlochewe, and 30 at Plockton, which is owned by landowners including The National Trust for Scotland.

Trees for Life now has evidence of the relocated squirrels breeding two years in a row at Shieldaig, and also of breeding at Plockton.

Natural recolonisation of other areas appears to have begun from Shieldaig. During 2016, the squirrels spread throughout much of the habitat, with one sighting 13 kilometres away beyond Loch Torridon. There have been further sightings in the same area during 2017, and others two kilometres further away, at Inveralligin.

Although annual monitoring at Coulin and Plockton will not begin until next spring, Trees for Life has seen evidence of feeding across the Coulin woodlands, and has captured images of squirrels by using specialised cameras. There have been regular sightings at Plockton since the release earlier this year.

Some squirrels also appear to be travelling quite widely from Plockton and may be colonising other areas. One was seen recently near Nostie, about eight kilometres from the release site, and there has been evidence of feeding at the National Trust’s Balmacara office, more than five kilometres away.

This autumn further releases are taking place around Lochcarron, with squirrels going to the remote Reraig peninsular and to Attadale. As with the other relocations, local people have been keen to get involved.

Positive community involvement – including local people reporting sightings, monitoring the squirrels, and carrying out supplementary feeding – is at the heart of the project.

In the UK, red squirrels are now rare with only an estimated 138,000 individuals left. Their numbers have been decimated by the reduction of forests to isolated remnants, and by disease and competition from the introduced non-native grey squirrel.

Trees for Life’s Red Squirrel Reintroduction Project aims to expand significantly the numbers and range of the UK’s red squirrels, by establishing eight new populations of the species.

With animal welfare paramount, squirrels are transported in special nest boxes, lined with hay and containing food and apple for hydration. Only small numbers are removed from any site, to leave donor populations unaffected. Health checks ensure that diseased animals are not introduced to new populations.

The boxes are fixed to trees at the reintroduction sites, with grass-filled exit holes allowing the squirrels to leave when ready. Food is provided for several months as the squirrels get used to their new habitat.

Annual monitoring involves observations of feeding signs, drey surveys and sightings records.

Increasing red squirrel numbers benefits native forests, as red squirrels collect and bury thousands of tree seeds each autumn, which are often forgotten by the squirrels and can then take root.

To find out more about Trees for Life’s award-winning work to restore the Caledonian Forest and rewild the Highlands, visit treesforlife.org.uk.

Discover Neil McIntyre’s Red Squirrel in Bare Essentials Journal Issue 44.