Singapore Zoo


The Singapore Zoo formerly known as the Singapore Zoological Gardens and commonly known locally as the Mandai Zoo, occupies 28 hectares (0.28 km²) of land on the margins of Upper Seletar Reservoir within Singapore's heavily forested central catchment area. The zoo was built at a cost of S$9m granted by the government of Singapore and opened on 23 June 1973. It is operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, who also manage the neighbouring Night Safari and the Jurong BirdPark. There are about 315 species of animal in the zoo, of which some 16% are considered threatened species. The zoo attracts about 1.6 million visitors a year.

From the beginning, Singapore Zoo followed the modern trend of displaying animals in naturalistic, 'open' exhibits, i.e. with hidden barriers, behind moats and shrubbery etc. It also houses the largest captive colony of orangutans in the world. In 1977, primatologist Dr Francine Neago lived inside a cage with eighteen orangutans for six months to study their behavior and communication.

Today, the zoo is a model of the 'open zoo' concept. The animals are kept in spacious, landscaped enclosures, separated from the visitors by either dry or wet moats. The moats are concealed with vegetation or dropped below the line of vision. In the case of dangerous animals which can climb very well, moat barriers are not used. Instead, these animals are housed in landscaped glass-fronted enclosures.

The zoo has not expanded beyond the original 28 hectares. However, 40 hectares of secondary forest were later developed into the Night Safari. The remaining undeveloped land has been kept as wooded land. This and the waters of Upper Seletar Reservoir contribute to the Zoo, giving it a sense of natural, unrestricted space.

Among various attractions that the zoo offers,one highlight is the "Breakfast with an Orangutan" programme that allows visitors to meet and interact closely with the orangutans in the zoo, amongst which includes the famous primate matriarch Ah Meng, (died on February 8, 2008) who was an icon of the Singapore tourism industry. Animal shows, as well as token feedings coupled with live commentaries by keepers, are also the daily staple in the Singapore zoo.

Image and Content Source