After two years since its official opening ceremony, River Safari has finally unveiled its very own animal icon: 2-year-old Canola the manatee.
Divers unveiling the animal icon
Canola is the first manatee hand-raised by aquarists in River Safari. Keepers and aquarists have maintained a very close bond with her through ongoing operant conditioning sessions to ensure her health and well-being.
River Safari hopes that by making Canola its icon, guests and members of the public can be inspired to join in their conservation efforts to save threatened freshwater wildlife.
Canola undergoing an operant conditioning exercise
Canola has an amazing life story. When she was born, she was abandoned by her mum which means that she’d be without her mother’s milk and that her life was in danger. Keepers and aquarists has to come to her rescue to ensure her survival. They rendered round-the-clock care for the newborn and bottle-fed her every two to three hours during the first three months of her life.
In order to increase her fat intake and substitute her mother’s highly nutritious milk, Canola was given a special milk formula infused with canola oil, which inspired her name.
Three months later, Canola was reintroduced to the manatee herd and can now be seen swimming along with the herd in the world’s largest freshwater aquarium—River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest.
Aquarists will also demonstrate how they hand-raise baby manatees, and work with Canola on operant conditioning exercises where the manatee is trained to roll over for medical procedures such as injections and ultrasound scans.
Mr Keith So, Deputy Head Aquarist of River Safari
Deputy Head Aquarist of River Safari, Mr Keith So, said, “Canola has a special place in our hearts. Despite having a rough start to her life, she has developed a very gentle, kind and patient nature. It was a unanimous decision to select her as our animal icon.”
Click on the next page to see the exciting programmes River Safari has to offer for the upcoming June Holidays!
As a hand-raised manatee, Canola is accustomed to close contact with humans.
During the June holidays, River Safari will be hosting two programmes including a special behind the scenes tour that will enable guests to get an up-close encounter with Canola.
BEHIND-THE-SCENES WITH CANOLA
Dates: 11, 19, 25 June 2016
Time: 9.30am – 11am
Maximum capacity: 20pax
Fee: $18 per pax
Admission charges: $30 per adult, $20 per child (3 to 12 years old), $15 per senior citizen (above 60 years old)
Note: This tour is open to sign ups only and subject to availability.
To sign up for the tour, visit here. Signups open on 31 May 2016.
MANATEE MADNESS JUNE HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES
Dates: 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 June 2016
Time: between 10am and 7pm
Venue: River Safari
Fee: Activities are free but admission charges apply
For more information on Manatee Madness, visit here.
Parents, are you excited for the new animal icon? Share your thoughts with us!