From otters to orangutans, Singapore zoo unveils hundreds of newborns

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The Singapore zoo on Thursday introduced to the public 500 newborns it welcomed into the world in 2017, representing 145 species, more than a quarter of which are endangered.

Two-month old Abina, the 24th successful pygmy hippo to be born at the zoo, waddled near the water's edge around her mother's legs, to the delight of visiting schoolchildren.

"The pygmy hippo is one species our zoo has been able to breed consistently well over the years," said Cheng Wen-Haur, deputy chief executive and chief life sciences officer at Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

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Singapore Zoological Garden introduces hundreds of newborns
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Singapore Zoological Garden introduces hundreds of newborns
Khansa, the Singapore Zoo's 46th orangutan baby, clings to its mother Anita during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Albina, the Singapore Zoo's 24th successful pygmy hippo birth, follows its parent in their enclosure during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A family of Asian small-clawed otters look on inside their enclosure at the Singapore Zoological Garden on January 11, 2018. The Wildlife Reserves Singapore's Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo have reported some 540 animal births and hatchings in 2017, a quarter of them from threatened species, as wildlife parks continue conservation breeding efforts. / AFP PHOTO / Roslan RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A critically endangered electric blue gecko, which was hatched at the Singapore Zoo, is seen in its enclosure during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Khansa, the Singapore Zoo's 46th orangutan baby, clings to its mother Anita during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Albina, the Singapore Zoo's 24th successful pygmy hippo birth, feeds next to its parent in their enclosure during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. Picture taken through glass. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Khansa, the Singapore Zoo's 46th orangutan baby, clings to its mother Anita during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su
An Asian small-clawed otter, one of the 14 birthed at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, is pictured during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Albina, the Singapore Zoo's 24th successful pygmy hippo birth, feeds next to its parent in their enclosure during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. Picture taken through glass. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Khansa, the Singapore Zoo's 46th orangutan baby, clings to its mother Anita during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Asian small-clawed otters, part of the 14 birthed at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, gather during feeding time during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A baby orangutan named Khansa (L) clings on its mother Anita (R) in their enclosure at the Singapore Zoological Garden on January 11, 2018. The Wildlife Reserves Singapore's Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo have reported some 540 animal births and hatchings in 2017, a quarter of them from threatened species, as wildlife parks continue conservation breeding efforts. / AFP PHOTO / Roslan RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
An Asian small-clawed otter, one of the 14 birthed at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, feeds on a fish during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Khansa, the Singapore Zoo's 46th orangutan baby, clings to its mother Anita during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Albina, the Singapore Zoo's 24th successful pygmy hippo birth, feeds next to its parent in their enclosure during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A baby orangutan named Khansa (R) clings on its mother Anita in their enclosure at the Singapore Zoological Garden on January 11, 2018. The Wildlife Reserves Singapore's Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo have reported some 540 animal births and hatchings in 2017, a quarter of them from threatened species, as wildlife parks continue conservation breeding efforts. / AFP PHOTO / Roslan RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A baby pygmy hippopotamus looks on with its parents inside its enclosure at the Singapore Zoological Garden on January 11, 2018. The Wildlife Reserves Singapore's Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo have reported some 540 animal births and hatchings in 2017, a quarter of them from threatened species, as wildlife parks continue conservation breeding efforts. / AFP PHOTO / Roslan RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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There are about 2,000 of the animals left in the wild and in zoos, he added.

The park also unveiled two baby electric blue geckos that hatched a few days before Christmas.

The critically endangered species can only be found in an 8-square-km (3-sq-mile) area of Tanzania. Cheng said the ability to breed it was valuable, just in case it should disappear in the wild.

The zoo also presented Khansa, a critically endangered female orangutan born in April last year, as well as a bevy of recently-born Asian small-clawed otters, one with an amputated forelimb.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which includes a bird park as well as river and night safaris, was considered the fourth best zoo in the world, a survey by Tripadvisor showed last year.    

(Reporting by Christophe Van Der Perre; Writing by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Karishma Singh and Clarence Fernandez)

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