Jurong Bird Park’s latest exhibit has been built for a special group of birds under its care. Situated next to the Hawk Arena, the new aviary houses the park’s pioneer generation of birds that have retired from the Kings of the Skies show.
Animals under human care tend to live longer compared to their wild relatives. Across Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS)’s four wildlife parks, all animals that have reached 75 per cent of their expected life-span are placed under a senior animal care plan. Under this plan, senior animals get specialised care through customised diets, individually tailored exercise regimes and more regular visits from the vets.
New Exhibit for Senior Birds
Jurong Bird Park has built a special exhibit for the former stars of the iconic Kings of the Skies show. The mixed-species aviary is home to eight birds of prey across six species including eagles, owls and vultures.
The spacious area has perches made from ropes and branches placed in strategic points and at varying heights to suit the individual needs and different movement capabilities of its older residents.
In planning the exhibit, the animal presentations team also looked into ensuring the birds had compatible personalities to encourage positive interactions and coexist amicably. Inter-species interactions between the inhabitants create a more dynamic space with higher activity levels, which makes for enrichment to stimulate the aging birds mentally and physically.
Birds In The Exhibit
The oldest resident is Rod Stewart the Egyptian vulture. He is estimated to have hatched in the early 1960s making him close to 60 years old, way beyond the 21-year lifespan for the species in the wild.
Carlos and Jose the American black vulture siblings were hatched in 1998. The 22-year-olds are well into their retirement years and both siblings receive daily medication hidden in their food to manage the arthritis in their feet and to keep them active.
Sydney the Blyth’s hawk eagle hatched in 1989. The 31-year-old has severe cataracts in both eyes that are inoperable due to a previous neurological disease. While this renders him functionally blind, he has learnt to maneuver around his surroundings comfortably and is usually spotted moving around the ground level and lower perches of the aviary.
Other senior birds in the aviary include International the turkey vulture and Caltex the brahminy kite. Rounding up the list of residents are younger birds Max the Eurasian eagle-owl and Wally the brahminy kite who are currently undergoing rehabilitation treatment and under close observations from the animal care team.
Photo and Video Credits: Wildlife Reserves Singapore
So the next time you are down at the Jurong Bird Park, do not forget to check out this new "retirement home"!