Ms Amelia Leong, 22, undergraduate
The closure of the Jurong Bird Park comes as a bittersweet moment for me. Among the several aviaries at the park, the Waterfall Aviary is my favourite location.
The gleam when the late morning sun hits the waterfall is beautiful, and the menagerie of birds flying overhead adds to the spectacle.
This unique experience will certainly be missed, although I look forward to indulging in new experiences with the birds at their new home at Mandai.
I have been visiting Jurong Bird Park since I was a toddler.
We visit the park a few times yearly. My parents’ favourite birds are the lories, and they enjoy feeding them, especially at Lory Loft.
When I was younger, I always wanted to take the Panorail, but I’m glad my parents made us walk instead to experience the park and immerse ourselves in it.
Ms Natasha Rashid, 30, marketer at Mandai Wildlife Group. She previously worked at Jurong Bird Park for three years.
I started out as an intern in 2012 and was part of the team of trainers and presenters for the animal presentation now known as High Flyers held at the Pools Amphitheatre.
It was during this period that I came to appreciate the amount of time and effort put in by the staff who work closely with the birds to make the presentation possible, so they can impart to the guests a love for wildlife and the desire to protect these amazing avian creatures.
Mr Pang Jia Hao, 31, keeper. He has worked at Jurong Bird Park for seven years.
When you enter the park, Flamingo Pool is one of the first exhibits that you see. The flamingos are one of the most charismatic species among our diversity of birds.
This spot holds significance for me, as I have a distinct early childhood memory of visiting Jurong Bird Park with my parents and seeing the pink flamingos.
It was also the first exhibit I took care of when I began my career at the park, making it my favourite spot.
With their bright pink feathers and tall stature, the Caribbean flamingos at the pool made a picturesque backdrop for photographers.
Mr Justin Huang, 35, keeper. He has worked at Jurong Bird Park for four years.
My favourite spot in the park is African Treetops as it is one of the four walk-in aviaries where you can immerse yourself in the company of some of the most stunning bird species in the world.
There is also a suspension bridge which offers a perfect overview of the entire aviary.
As soon as you start walking through the aviary, you are surrounded by the glossy, vibrant colours of the starlings and turacos.
Visitors get to interact closely with these birds and learn more about them during the feeding sessions.
These sessions are the most memorable for us keepers too, as we can share our knowledge and little-known anecdotes of the birds with the visitors.
Mr Chandra Mohan, 43, manager of Animal Behaviour and Programmes. He has worked at Jurong Bird Park for 14 years.
My favourite space is the Hawk Arena, where I spent most of my time.
Jurong Bird Park has always held a special place in my life, as I have been visiting it since I was young.
The areas where the presentations take place – like Hawk Arena and Pools Amphitheatre – left a lasting impression on me when I was younger, as I could experience the birds up close and be inspired by the presenters.
Hawk Arena, in particular, is my favourite location as I have had the opportunity to be a presenter myself for the presentation – Kings of the Skies – held there. It is where some of our most majestic birds of prey can be seen.
A little-known fact is that my uncle, Mr Raja Segran (below), was one of the pioneer staff involved in setting up the animal presentation team now known as Animal Behaviour and Programmes.
Watching him and the other admirable presenters when I was growing up, I never imagined I would work with some of them one day.
Mr Eugene Sim, 34, account manager
My family’s favourite spots at the park are the Lory Loft and the Waterfall Aviary.
The lories are among the most colourful birds at the park, and they are not shy about interacting with visitors.
Whenever we visit the bird park we make a booking for the feeding session as it gives us an opportunity to see the birds up close.
The first time I took my daughter, Emma, to the park was when she was a year old. I found it remarkable that she was very inquisitive and not scared when the birds were flying close to her at Lory Loft.
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Letting her experience such an activity opens up the world of nature and animals to her.
It allows her to see and hear what she cannot in books and shows.
We enjoy the keeper talks and feeding sessions, where we get to hear from the keepers and interact with the animals.
INDOOR PENGUIN COAST EXHIBIT
Ms Rachel Lee, 29, keeper. She has worked at Jurong Bird Park for four years.
I usually recommend that visitors start their adventure in the park by visiting the indoor penguin exhibit.
It is the best place to observe the penguins and watch how they move and interact with one another.
Stay long enough, and you will even start noticing the differences in the individual penguins’ characters through their cute actions and movements.
The climate-controlled exhibit also offers the perfect resting spot away from the heat.
BIRD DISCOVERY CENTRE
Ms Maggie Ang, 42, deputy vice-president of park operations. She has worked at Jurong Bird Park for 15 years.
The Bird Discovery Centre holds a special place in my heart. This was the very first exhibit revamp I worked on when I was in the education team in 2009.
The centre, which is like a museum, required many display items such as taxidermised specimens, man-made eggs and chicks that are larger than life, as well as interesting nesting materials.
I learnt a great deal about birds in the process of setting it up. Every display is a gem, and my favourites are the egg and nest displays.
There are even a few of my personal items in the displays. I contributed a pair of broken sandals that are used to illustrate how bowerbirds collect colourful objects to build their nests.
HORNBILLS & TOUCANS EXHIBIT
Mr Sadali Mohamed Tali, 50, senior keeper. He has worked at Jurong Bird Park for 22 years.
Having worked in the hornbill section in my early years, I have a special relationship with the park’s hornbills.
The dearest to my heart would be the oriental pied hornbill, a species native to Singapore.
In 2008, together with the National Parks Board, we successfully introduced a pair named Sada and Lily, together with their offspring, into the wild. Sound familiar? Well, they were named after me!
The oriental pied hornbills were once locally extinct in Singapore. Today, they are thriving on the island, thanks to conservation efforts.
Being part of a project that contributed to the species’ continued survival in Singapore is one of the main highlights of my career.
Jurong Bird Park houses the largest variety of Asian hornbill species in the world.
PATHWAY BETWEEN HELICONIA WALK AND WETLANDS
Dr Gabrina Goh, 32, junior veterinarian. She has worked at Jurong Bird Park for five years.
Every morning, just the right amount of morning sun will peek through the plants and trees along this stretch of pathway.
On misty mornings, these rays of sun make the walk along here almost magical and like a scene out of a film. If you are lucky, there is also a resident wild oriental pied hornbill that you may be able to spot.
The new Bird Paradise in Mandai Wildlife Reserve is slated to open in the second quarter of 2023.
In 2025, the Jurong site will be returned to JTC Corporation and the authorities have said they would consult the public on plans for the area, which includes the neighbouring Jurong Hill.