January 17, 2011
If you have time in Singapore a fun activity is a visit to the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. The Singapore Zoo is considered one of the best in the world and is gigantic with a broad array of animals. The zoo does a lot of conservation work and seemed very well run to me. Many of the animals are in open and natural looking enclosures. Ideally I believe wild animals should be able to live lives in the wild, but practically I see zoos as amazing opportunities for education and breeding, both of which are vital to the survival of many endangered animals.
If you are not making it over to Borneo you can visit some Bornean Orangutans, which are in a free roaming area and you can actually see them swing in the trees above your head. They are adorable to watch and I wandered around gazing up at them for over an hour getting more and more excited for my trip to Borneo.
I suggest visiting the zoo at a feeding time because the animals are very active and there is a good tour that goes through the zoo at the feeding times and stops at all the animals being fed. The white tigers in particular are amazing to watch being fed as they are thrown their meat and jump around in the water to catch it. As I mentioned before when I worked with tigers in Africa, tigers are the only cats that actually like water, and it is fun to watch them play.
I would suggest grabbing a map at the entrance to the zoo and just making a big loop of it, which will allow you to visit many interesting and exotic animals.
Right next to the Singapore Zoo is the Singapore Night Safari, which is a second zoo made up of mostly nocturnal animals. At the night safari you board a large tram and get taken on a guided tour to see nocturnal animals from all around the world. There are two stops on the tram where you can get off and walk on trails to see other animal enclosures not on the main path. I didn’t bring a tripod with me and they don’t allow flash photography for the safety of the animals, so I don’t have too many photos from the night safari, but it is fun and if you are an animal lover I would recommend it. After doing some real night safaris in Africa it felt a little hokey, but it is still a good time.