Jurong Bird Park in Singapore unveiled its rejuvenated aviary dubbed Wings of Asia on Thursday.
Previously known as the Southeast Asian Birds Aviary, the 2,600-square-meter exhibit underwent a three-month makeover which included the expansion of its smaller aviaries, theming work, refreshed educational displays, and an overhaul of its aviary mesh for better viewing.
With a collection of over 500 birds representing 135 species when complete, Wings of Asia is home to one of the world's most comprehensive collections of Asian birds, including 24 threatened species such as Jalak Bali (Bali mynah/Leucopsar rothschildi), Luzon bleeding-heart dove (Gallicolumba luzonica) and Jalak Putih (black-winged starling/Acridotheres melanopterus).
Eleven of the 24 threatened species are new additions, with five being displayed for the first time in the park. These include Ekek Geling Jawa (Javan green magpie/Cissa thalassina), rufous-fronted laughingthrush (Garrulax rufifrons) and racquet-tailed parrot (Prioniturus platenae) which are expected to arrive in the park soon.
Plans are underway to kick-start a breeding programme for these birds whose numbers are declining rapidly in the wild due to habitat loss and degradation as well as excessive trapping for the cage-bird trade. Through conservation breeding, the park hopes to maintain and safeguard a sustainable population of these birds and eventually introduce selected species back into the wild, in their native lands.
"The unveiling of Wings of Asia represents another feather in our conservation cap and we hope this crown jewel will inspire visitors to appreciate, understand and protect Asia's winged wonders," said Wildlife Reserves Singapore chairman Claire Chiang in a press release on Thursday.
Opened in 1971, Jurong Bird Park is Asia's largest bird park, offering a 20.2-hectare hillside haven for more than 5,000 birds across 400 species, of which 15 per cent are threatened. Its features include walk-in aviaries such as Lory Loft, Jungle Jewels, the recently revamped Waterfall Aviary, and unique exhibits such as Penguin Coast and Pelican Cove. It sees approximately 800,000 visitors annually.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore is the holding company of Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo.