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Jazzy Celebration as Manatee Canola Turns Three

July 31, 2017 Attraction No Comments Email Email

The soulful sounds of jazz filled the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit at River Safari early this morning, as invited guests were whisked away into a surreal experience, serenaded by rising local jazz saxophonist, Daniel Chia.

Amidst the soulful tunes of Cali Style and Life’s A Beach, over 60 invited guests caught a glimpse of the beautiful bond between River Safari’s herd of manatees and their human carers, as the manatees and aquarists dived in for a morning swim together.

Born in Singapore, River Safari’s animal icon Canola enjoyed her birthday celebration kampung style, involving her extended family, made up of her human carers, manatee tank mates and invited friends. As a birthday treat, aquarists presented a two-metre tall cabbage cake to Canola, which was met with much curiosity and delight by the entire manatee herd.

Canola was born in River Safari on 6 August 2014 around noon, and is the offspring of Eva, the largest manatee within the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit. For unknown abandoned at birth and aquarists had to dive in to provide round-the-clock care for her, who required bottle-feeding every two to three hours during the first three months.

Despite a rough start to life, Canola has blossomed into a playful and affectionate manatee, often approaching aquarists to say hello when they go about their daily duties, or to ask for belly rubs. She has also developed a patient disposition, usually waiting for her turn to be fed high fibre biscuits – her favourite treat.

Canola weighed over 30kg at birth and today, she is 10 times heavier weighing in at around 300kg. Her best tank mates are Joella and Abel, and the trio can be often spotted having a friendly jostle for the aquarists’ affection.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore said, “We are happy that River Safari’s animal icon Canola has overcome her early challenges in life, and is growing up healthy and happy with the manatee herd. As we celebrate her third birthday, our hope is that Canola will continue to thrive and inspire the community at large to act responsibly to keep rivers liveable for people and wildlife.”

Manatees are listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. There are currently five males and eight females in River Safari’s manatee herd.
*International Union for Conservation of Nature

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