Science Centre Singapore questioned about living conditions of exhibited animals by person who says he’s an animal lover

Housed in the Science Centre for educational purposes, these were confiscated animals from AVA.

Zhangxin Zheng | December 22, 2018 @ 05:29 pm

Exhibits that display small animals for educational purposes in the Science Centre Singapore (SCS) have come under scrutiny recently.

In a Facebook post on Nov. 22, a man, Wang YaoXian, raised concerns about the animals’ welfare after seeing some photos of these exhibits online.


Wang first saw a photo online of a gerbil in an exhibit at SCS, which showed the rodent being exposed to harsh lighting.

Dry food and seeds were filled to the brim of a container and there were four bottles of water.

This also drew his suspicion on whether feeding is done regularly.

As gerbils are very social by nature, the lack of toys also led Wang to be concerned about the well-being of this solitary gerbil.

Photo from Wang YaoXian Facebook post

Here’s the full post:

Other animal welfare activists also chimed in, raising concerns about other animals in the SCS, such as the hedgehog, hamster and turtle.

Photo collage from Wang YaoXian Facebook post’s comment section

In general, those in support of Wang questioned the necessity of having animal exhibits in the SCS and sought to improve the living conditions for these animals at the SCS even if basic needs are met.

Science Centre Singapore responds

In response to the the comments posted online, the SCS clarified in the comments section that it does have a team to oversee the welfare of these animals housed in the centre.

The team replaces the food and water daily and monitors the animals’ health closely.

These animals were rescued animals from the Agri‑Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and AVA inspects these animals regularly too.

You can see the full reply in the screenshot below:

In response to Mothership.sg queries, the SCS spokesperson said:

Science Centre Singapore has strived to provide interactive and educational experiences to our guests of all ages. Live exhibits play an important role in demonstrating proper care and empathy for animals especially in an urban city such as Singapore. The exhibits provide an excellent opportunity for guests to learn the basics of biology, physiology, ecology and also important life skills such as care and responsibility.

Most of the animals housed at the Centre have been rescued by AVA and have access to housing, hygiene, food and medical attention on a regular basis in line with AVA standards. We have a team of trained caregivers looking after the animals. Their enclosures have been designed to mimic their natural habitats with signages placed advising visitors to maintain safe distance in order to ensure the well-being of the animal.  The enclosure has been designed to reduce noise and disturbance from guests. Animals are also taken out of their habitats weekly.

In the spirit of collaboration and learning, Science Centre Singapore has been actively engaging with the members of the public and various interest groups on our live exhibits. We thank them for their interest and support, and look forward to their suggestions that can help improve the way we make science accessible and interesting for everyone.

According to Wang, the SCS also met up with him and another commenter Nicole Ling on Dec. 12.

The SCS was receptive to their feedback and showed them some improvements made to the exhibits which included adding more shelters for the animals.

The SCS was also keen to work with the communities to further improve the conditions for these small animals housed under SCS and to allow visitors to learn more about good practices too.


Top photo from Wang YaoXian’s Facebook post.

About Zhangxin Zheng

Zhangxin’s favourite pastime is singing Mulan’s soundtrack in the mangrove forests. She hopes to perfect the art of napping in a hammock in the mangroves without being drowned by rising sea levels.

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