Singapore Zoo is one of the nicer zoo’s for seeing animals in wide open enclosures. The zoo is active in education and conservation, with a strong message to protect the environment. It provides a safe place for animals that have been illegally imported, or rescued from dealers / people keeping them as pets.
Singapore Zoo is the only zoo in the world where you can have breakfast with Orang-utans, and it really is a special experience. The breakfast itself is a spread of hot and cold western treats (think English fry-up and continental pastries) and a selection of asian dishes (tropical fruit, dim sum and noodles). The food is good enough, but the main event is being able to watch the Orang-utans up close and feeling as if you’re having a personal invite into their family life.
The features of Singapore Zoo are that they design these experiences to allow you to see animals displaying their own natural behaviours that they would in the wild (i.e. no animals performing ‘circus tricks’).
For the Orang-utans, this is them swinging high above your heads on ropes, climbing down trees, and then sitting a short way from you, whilst they select their breakfast from a variety of fruit, diligently peeling and eat it.
The Orang-utan family who came to breakfast on the morning we visited included an infant Orang-utan. Having a toddler, I know how demanding infants can be – and sure enough, so was the baby Orang-utan! Baby must have had some sort of food envy half way through his own meal (a feeling I know all too well). In protest he dropped his own piece of fruit and headed straight for the fruit his Mamma was eating… and ended up taking the remainder of his Mamma’s fruit, straight out of her mouth and shovelling it into his! Honestly, if you’d have blinked you’d have missed it. He had me in fits of laughter as it reminded me of how often Etta has refused all offers of food, only for me to be enjoying a tasty meal of my own, and then have her decide she does, in fact, want what I’m eating. All of us mother’s happily give the shirt off our backs – or the food out our mouths – for our babies, and it was beautiful to see it happens to all species.
Throughout breakfast we had the opportunity to have a photo taken standing with the Orang-utans. It was a pricey addition, however knowing I was unlikely to do this again, and also hoping it might help Etta retain some of this magical experience, I handed over the cash.
Although the photo might not look like she’s having the best time ever(!) I can assure you she was! Etta adored getting so close to the Orang-utans and seemed to really enjoy them – mores than other animals. Maybe it was because we’d all sat together and shared a meal. Maybe it’s because there was a baby. Either way, Etta had an affinity with these beautiful creatures. Sadly, Orang-utans have declined by around 50% in the last 60 years, and are now only found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Etta’s birthday is coming up so I’ve decided that, instead of buying her toys, I’m going to adopt an Orang-utan for her birthday. I’ll do a bit more research first, but currently thinking of adopting through WWF. Have you adopted any animals? If so, which charity did you adopt through? Please comment below if you have any suggestions!