My zookeeper attachment at the Singapore Zoo – It was more work than I expected but it was a lot of fun. Zookeeping is not a glamorous job at all and entails a lot of hard work so my hats off to the zookeepers. They really know a lot about the animals they take care of – and they are very well taken care of. Each animal has a name and even though they all look the same to me, the zookeepers know who’s who.

Pics after the jump.


Cleaning the warthogs’ den.

I wasn’t actually expecting to do manual labor. I thought it was going to be just talking about the animals and stuff. Turns out we were really going to help out the zookeepers. My first task was to clean the warthogs’ den. It was actually already clean, but I think the zookeeper was wary of poseur volunteers talking about their big love for animals but don’t want to lift a finger and get dirty. I must say I passed with flying colors. I did some scrubbing and .. cam whoring…. call me a geek but I had fun. At the time the picture was taken, I was thinking how this experience was more funny than fun coz there I was cleaning dens. I felt like Cinderella. But at the end of the day, I really had a blast.

This guy is just 2 years old. I might be excited about getting close to the animals but I’m also a little bit scared. Those eyes are crazy! You don’t know if they’re going to charge any moment. See how they rest on their knees.

Feeding the hogs. You’re supposed to feed the male first before you feed the female otherwise the male will fight with the female. How chauvinist! We were tossing fruits to them, and I kept unintentionally hitting them on the butt. :P

Zookeeper Kumar (with the cool tatts) preparing the food for the brood. The animals are given food that is fit for human consumption. The food was fresh – the kangkong looks fresher than the one I buy near our place.

The pic on the left are of kangaroos. The one on the right is a wallaby. This was the first time (I think) that I’ve seen a wallaby. Before this I couldn’t tell the difference from a kangaroo. Turns out, it’s pretty easy to tell them apart.

I’ve read somewhere that most people can identify more corporate logos than local species of plants and animals in their area. I think that’s sad.

During the kangaroo feeding, one parent was sincerely thanking us for the experience. Though I feel I don’t deserve it coz I was just there for a day, it was still an “awww” moment.

Now this is what I came for!!! I was a cat in another life.

A White Tiger is a tiger with a genetic condition that nearly eliminates pigment in the normally orange fur although they still have dark stripes. This occurs when a tiger inherits two copies of the recessive gene for the paler coloration: pink nose, grey-mottled skin, ice-blue eyes, and white to cream-coloured fur with black, grey, or chocolate-coloured stripes. – wikipedia

Tigers are being hunted to extinction in Asia for their “medicinal properties” even though it has no scientific basis.


Zookeeper Kevin feeding the Pygmy Hippos.

Visitors can watch from the glass wall outside. We got to go behind the scenes. The greatest threat to the remaining pygmy hippopotamus population in the wild is loss of habitat. The forests in which pygmy hippos live have been subject to logging, settling and conversion to agriculture, with little efforts made to make logging sustainable. As forests shrink, the populations become more fragmented, leading to less genetic diversity in the potential mating pool. There are less than 3,000 in the wild.

This is not what I’ll be doing regularly for volunteer work. It was just a chance for us to get to peek behind the scenes at the zoo. But more than that, it gave us an appreciation for the efforts of the people running the zoo. It really takes a lot of dedication and hard work.

These animals are really awesome. The tigers are just magnificent! It would be a pity if our kids won’t be able to see them. The least anyone can do is to not buy exotic pets or by products specially if you don’t know where they came from.

If the buying stops, the killing can too.