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     FrontPage Edition: Wed 25 October 2006

Singapore Zoo adds braille interpretives for visually handicapped



Singapore Zoo, in its move to be an all-inclusive organisation, has introduced Braille interpretives to 10 of the Zoo¡¯s popular exhibits, such as the white tiger and proboscis monkey.
The Zoo has worked closely with the Disabled People¡¯s Association and Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) to revamp the park to make it accessible for everyone, including the physically and visually handicapped.
Today (17 Oct 2006), 40 members from the SAVH were the first to experience these new installations, under the guidance of 20 SPH Wildlife Buddies, or student conservation guides.
The specially guided tour included a touch-and-feel session which introduced participants to animal artifacts. This was followed by a visit to the exhibits with Braille interpretives and replicas of certain animals that would heighten the experience for the visually-impaired.
These special exhibits are the latest addition to the Zoo¡¯s list of disabled-friendly facilities. In May this year, the Zoo worked with the Disabled People¡¯s Association of Singapore (DPA) to conduct a major audit of the park.
The following month, after incorporating all the changes and suggestions, the DPA listed the Zoo in its website as a disabled-friendly organisation (see
Ms Fanny Lai, Executive Director of Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, said: "Singapore Zoo aims to be an all-inclusive organisation catering to all sectors of society. With the tour, we hope to make the Zoo experience more meaningful and impactful for the visually-handicapped. This initiative is also part of our evolution to be a more disabled-friendly facility."
To cater to the visually-impaired, the Zoo produced interpretive signboards featuring Braille and engraved drawings of the animals at the exhibit.
At the proboscis monkey exhibit, six life-sized models of the monkeys allow visually-impaired visitors to imagine how the animals look through touch. It has also produced a guidebook for the visually-impaired which contains a Braille version of the Zoo map and introductions to some of the animals in Braille.
Copies are available for loan at the Zoo¡¯s Visitors Services Booth. These will complement the visually-impaired visitor¡¯s other sensory experiences of the Zoo via sound, touch, smell and taste.
The Braille interpretive signboards and life-sized animal models are found at the Asian small-clawed otter, white rhinoceros, proboscis monkey, Elephants of Asia, hamadryas baboons, kangaroo, pygmy hippopotamus, white tiger, babirusa and Malayan tapir exhibits.
About 90 per cent of the park is accessible by wheelchair. There are ramps and allocated wheelchair areas for disabled visitors to view various exhibits and animal shows.
At the Animal Friends Show, Shaw Foundation Amphitheatre, Elephants of Asia exhibit as well as the Sea lion and Polar Bear viewing galleries, wheelchair slots are marked out to cater to disabled visitors. The wheelchair seating capacity ranges from six to 15 persons.
Wheelchair services are available at the entrance. Visitors may choose to rent a motorised wheelchair at $25 or borrow the non-motorised wheelchair for free. Disabled visitors affiliated to the National Council of Social Services¡¯ registered Voluntary Welfare Organisations enjoy free admission to the Zoo.
The list of disabled-friendly facilities is found on the Zoo¡¯s website (
ISSUED By : Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Source: Press Release 17 Oct 2006

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