The female orang utan ‘Ah Meng’ at the Singapore Zoological Gardens

The Singapore Zoological Gardens was officially opened by former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Dr. Goh Keng Swee on 27 June 1973. It was the brainchild of the former chairman of the Public Utilities Board, Dr. Ong Swee Law. Dr. Ong was looking to free up large tracts of land near the Seletar catchment area for the creation of a public recreational space. He believed that setting up a zoo would not only fulfil this purpose but also provide opportunities for family bonding and encourage a greater appreciation for nature. The zoo has an ‘open concept’, where animals are kept in enclosures resembling their natural habitats rather than cages.