Over 7,500 participants thronged the leafy pathways of Night Safari and Singapore Zoo in the ninth instalment of Safari Zoo Run on 18 February 2017, in support of wildlife conservation, and in the hopes of garnering more funding support for their animal icon teams.
Runners representing Team Ah Meng came out tops, garnering additional funding support of $40,000 for Sumatran orangutan projects. Wildlife Reserves Singapore will also commit an additional $20,000 each to regional projects supporting helmeted hornbills, Southeast Asian freshwater turtles and Sumatran elephants — all critically endangered wildlife, which were represented by Team Sunny, Team Canola and Team Chawang.
In 2016, Ah Meng was unveiled as Singapore Zoo’s animal icon. The other park icons — Jurong Bird Park’s Sunny the hornbill, Night Safari’s Chawang the elephant and River Safari’s Canola the manatee — were revealed in subsequent months.
Together, these four animal icons helped spread the conservation message at the Safari Zoo Run. This year, participants played a more active role and helped in deciding the division of funds for conservation when they chose a team to join. Each team, represented by the four park icons, champions a species of critically endangered animal.
Running on a new points system, participants were given opportunities to collect points for their team. The team with the highest points would then lead to a larger allocation of funds for the conservation of the championed endangered species.
Team Ah Meng was one of the more popular choices, with about 30 per cent of runners choosing to support Singapore Zoo’s animal icon. The team also scored points on the most number of Instagram posts uploaded during the race.
Mr Mike Barclay, Group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings, the holding company of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, joined the action and ran alongside runners in the 10km competitive category. A more manageable 5.5km or 2.5km runs was suitable for family with the option of a competitive 2.5km Kids Dash for children.
In addition, runners enjoyed appearances by animal mascots, educational show and tell sessions, and animal photography sessions after their races.