Roping in youth to save animals
The Singapore Zoo is celebrating its 40th birthday today, and it wants to go beyond kids and reach out to youth to spread the conservation message, said Wildlife Reserves Singapore's (WRS') May Lok.
My Paper caught up with the education director for her insights.
How has the zoo changed in 40 years?
When we first started, we were struggling financially and had slightly over 100 staff.
Now, we have almost 900 people working in our four attractions: the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and the River Safari.
What is one thing about the zoo that hasn't changed, which you hope will stay the same?
We are all concerned about the animals and have a shared vision, which is to do good for them.
The zoo is a very special place. Anyone who works here would agree, especially the keepers.
What do you hope to achieve with WRS' education programmes?
We want to inspire people to...want to save the environment and the animals.
We do this by organising fun events for children. Once they are having fun, it becomes easier to engage them. Education can be carried out only when they are engaged.
We started with children as our target group, as they are easy to talk to and they love animals.
Now that we have more resources, we have started reaching out to other demographics, such as the youth. In order to get them involved, we have to empower them (and) give them a sense of ownership.