The hands behind the Night Safari

The hands behind the Night Safari
Zoo keeper Shafiq Shamuri, 26, gives an elephant an oral cavity check before the the Night Safari opens its doors.

Behind the scenes at the daily wonder that is the Night Safari, an army of workers ensures that the animals give visitors the best show.

The general behind the operation is curator Desmond Ling, who is like a ninja when it comes to going around the park undercover in a buggy.

He gave the The New Paper a ride through the dark roads last month to shed light on how they keep the show going.

Mr Ling, who has been at the job for 11 years, oversees the zoology operations and works with the heads of different sections.

On night shifts, he drives around and makes sure the animals are looking good. If they are not, he calls the section heads to help change the animals' behaviour.

He also makes sure everything is spick and span for the visitors, who number about 1.1 million every year. The Night Safari opened in 1994 and now has more than 2,500 animals of over 130 species.

It is 9ha larger than the Singapore Zoo, which is 35ha.

We drove around the trail in the darkness, hiding in the shadows whenever the buzz of a tram lingered in front.

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The visitors saw the active and beautiful creatures arching and stretching like the living exhibitions that they are.

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