Come catch 'Pokemon' at the zoo with The New Paper Courts Big Walk
The New Paper Courts Big Walk goes to the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari this year. KIMBERLY LIM (firstname.lastname@example.org) speaks to two keepers taking care of the orangutans and tree kangaroos
He cut the umbilical cord of a female orangutan when she gave birth to her second son in 2000.
And this is why he loves his job as a zookeeper, said Mr Kumaran Sesshe, who has been working with orangutans in the Singapore Zoo for the past 18 years.
Mr Kumaran, 42, told The New Paper: "Every day is a fun-filled one. It's exciting.
"It's not an 8am to 5pm job where I just send e-mails and stay in the office."
He added: "Animals behave differently. One day, I could come to work and there could be a pregnant female orangutan (giving birth)."
And even though Veera the "baby" orangutan was sent to Zoo Taiping for a long-term breeding loan in March, Mr Kumaran still keeps in contact with the curators to find out how he is.
Participants of The New Paper Courts Big Walk can look out for the orangutans in their new free-ranging area.
The area includes vines, hammocks and treetops for the orangutans to swing and hang around freely.
Sharing his love for them, Mr Kumaran said: "Orangutans are docile, intelligent, curious and loving.
"Orangutans are the kind that will run away when they are scared. But every day when I start work, they would come to greet me.
"They are also very touchy-feely and busybody."
FURRY FRIENDS: (Above) Mr Kumaran Sesshe is closest to Anita among the orangutans.
Another attraction for Big Walkers is Makaia and Nupela, two Goodfellow's tree kangaroos which arrived at the Singapore Zoo from Australia in June and July this year.
Makaia, aged two, and Nupela, three, are classified as endangered under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species due to unsustainable hunting and loss of habitat.
There are about 50 tree kangaroos in zoos all over the world, and the Singapore Zoo is the home to four of these furry animals.
Zookeeper Rachel Yeo, 27, said: "Because of their brown fur, stripes and size, Makaia and Nupela look like Raichu, which is the closest thing to a living Pokemon."
She described Makaia as affectionate, outgoing, greedy and clumsy while Nupela is reserved, gentle, agile and fussy.
Miss Yeo shared her experiences with the pair, such as when she tried to weigh Makaia for the first time.
"It was so funny because we (the zookeepers) were trying very hard to make him stay still on the scale but Makaia just kept moving about," she said.
It took more than a month before Nupela "opened up" and allowed Miss Yeo to check her pouch, she said with a smile.
But Miss Yeo does not play favourite to the two tree kangaroos.
She said: "Both of them have their own character, and are friendly and personable.
"They are such charismatic animals, so I can't really choose between them."
The New Paper Courts Big Walk @ Singapore Zoo
Saturday, Nov 26, 2pm
Singapore Zoo & Night Safari
Register online at www.tnpbigwalk.sg
$42 ($35 for early-bird sign-ups)
Discounted tickets to the River Safari at $8 each with every registration (Maximum of four tickets per participant)