We’ve heard the term “endangered” being bandied about for years but what does it really mean? Animal species classified as “endangered” face high risk of extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization. It produces the Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List), which reflects the current conservation status of the different animal species.
In Asia alone, more than 20 species are listed as critically endangered, and the number around the world stands at more than 50. This is due to the deforestation and destruction of their natural habitats, pollution of the rivers and illegal hunting. All of these factors combined, threaten numerous animal species’ chances of survival. When we think about how our children and grandchildren will never be introduced to the great variety of animals that are or are soon-to-be extinct, we cannot help but ponder over our role in preventing this.
The newly opened River Safari not only highlights the importance of protecting the rainforest areas, but serves as a reminder to us that many of the rivers around the world are being threatened by industrial pollution, hunting and destruction. The brief introduction at the beginning of the River Safari answers important questions and raises awareness about conservation that can be easily understood by kids too.
Many of the animals that live in the River Safari are currently listed as critically endangered. The Indian gharial is the oldest of all alligator species and it is the only survivor of the Gavialiade family. Currently, there are less than 200 species of gharial alligators left in existence globally, making it critically endangered. You can spot the gharial at the Rivers of the World section of the River Safari.
It is estimated that one thousand six hundred Giant pandas are left in the wild today and around three hundred live in captivity. Two of them, Jia Jia and Kai Kai, can be spotted at the River Safari’s Giant Panda Forest near the Yangtze River exhibition. Most people don’t know that China’s famous black and white bear has a little red cousin – the Red Panda! The animal is slightly larger than a domestic cat with a bear-like body and thick russet fur. The species is currently listed as vulnerable, with less than 10,000 individuals left in the world.
Moving onwards through the River Safari, we are introduced to the magical “mermaids” – the Manatees. They inhabit the largest freshwater aquarium in the world. The adorable sea creatures are also listed as vulnerable to extinction.
When you bring your kids to the River Safari, don’t just be a spectator… Why not take this chance to educate your kids about the endangered animal species? It is good that we raise awareness about the plight of endangered animals within our kids for they hold the future in their hands. It is crucial to convey the importance of protecting these endangered species and to encourage them to not support illegal poaching.
Now that you know what Singapore’s River Safari has to offer, and how the welfare of the animals there are very well taken care of, you and your children can take the next step – which is to find out how you can make a difference.
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