Say Hello to Kai Kai and Jia Jia

Wildlife Reserves Singapore announces Giant Pandas’ names chosen from nationwide search

Issue: Apr 2011

(left) Three-year-old male giant panda is named “Kai Kai” (凯凯)and (right) two-year-old female giant panda is named Jia Jia (嘉嘉). Their names were chosen from about 1,000 entries submitted by the public for the Giant Pandas Naming Contest

A lush bamboo forest has been planted to feed them. Their home is being built. And now, they have just been given their names!

Meet “Kai Kai” (凯凯) and “Jia Jia” (嘉嘉) - a three-year-old male giant panda and his two-year-old companion, who will be making their way here to live in Singapore for 10 years starting 2012.

“We can refer to our giant pandas by name, and that is an exciting development for us, especially since these names were submitted by Singaporeans. These are meaningful and beautiful names, chosen to reflect the symbolic ties we have with China, and the future these pandas will have in Singapore. People here have shown tremendous support for our giant panda conservation programme and we hope the community will continue to demonstrate their commitment to wildlife conservation,” said Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Their much-anticipated presence is part of a joint collaboration between Wildlife Reserves Singapore and China Wildlife Conservation Association to raise awareness for the conservation of these gentle creatures, and the development of a breeding programme for these critically endangered animals. The pandas also represent the close diplomatic relations between Singapore and China. Singapore is the seventh country to receive giant pandas from China since 1994.

What’s in a Name?

After a six-month long quest, a distinguished judging panel consisting of representatives from different agencies and organisations chose the two names that bear special significance of the close relationship between Singapore and China.

“Kai Kai”, the name for the male giant panda, was chosen as it means ‘victorious’ in Chinese (as in 凯旋, 凯歌) and is a testament to the 20 triumphant years of Sino-Singapore relations.

‘Jia’ (嘉) which means excellent, on the other hand, is a reflection of the excellent ties between Singapore and China. On another level, the Chinese character ‘Jia’ was used in the old Chinese reference for Singapore (星嘉坡) and the phonetic pronunciation of ‘Jia’ is equivalent to the Mandarin pronunciation of the Chinese character ‘加’ which is not only an integral part of Singapore’s current Chinese name (新加坡), but also means ‘to add’ – representing the wish to expand the giant panda family in Singapore through a successful breeding programme at WRS.

The naming contest, which attracted nearly 1,000 entries submitted by the public in 2010, was organised by Wildlife Reserves Singapore. CapitaLand has pledged a conservation donation to support this 10-year collaborative programme of the giant pandas.

CapitaLand Group YouTube Channel
The seven judges representing different agencies and organisations to select the winning names for the Giant Pandas Naming Contest. (From L-R: Professor Wang Gungwu, Chairman, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore; Mr Liew Mun Leong, President and CEO, CapitaLand Group; Ms Jennie Chua, Chief Corporate Officer, CapitaLand Limited; Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore; Ms Aw Kah Peng, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board; Mr Chen Jiang, Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of Singapore; Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Mr Lim Chin Beng, Chairman of CapitaLand Hope Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CapitaLand, said: “These symbolic names reflect the strong bilateral relationship between Singapore and China over the last 20 years, and will further strengthen the close friendship and economic ties between the two countries going forward. The giant panda collaborative programme will raise cultural exchange and understanding between Singapore and China, and also promote wildlife conservation education among the young. It is against this backdrop that CapitaLand, as a responsible corporate citizen in Singapore and China, is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the programme.”

“The bond between Singapore and China is one that is built on mutual trust and respect, and the two giant pandas are an expression of that close friendship. They also mark the commitment to conserve and safeguard the existence of these endangered animals.” added Mr Chen Jiang, Cultural Counselor, Embassy of the People's Republic of China.

Rewards Galore

38-year-old Angeline Fong was the winner of the Giant Pandas Naming Contest, whose entry was selected by the judges to be the names for the pandas. For her inspiration, Angeline will receive a complimentary three-night stay at an Ascott serviced residence worldwide of her choice, an exclusive preview of the giant panda exhibit when it opens in 2012, and other attractive prizes.

The Anticipated Arrival

Giant pandas are among the rarest bear species in the world with less than 1,600 left in the wild. They are classified as endangered under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. The population of giant pandas in the wild continues to dwindle due to the loss and destruction of their natural habitat.

Kai Kai and Jia Jia will be housed at Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s upcoming attraction, the River Safari, Asia’s first river-themed park when they arrive next year. Visitors at the River Safari will be able to observe the giant pandas up close in an environment similar to that of their natural habitat. The specially designed habitat will be naturally landscaped with a lush bamboo forest, shallow streams, trees and boulders for the two black and white furry envoys to explore and play.

And that would be something Kai Kai and Jia Jia, the newly named giant pandas, can definitely look forward to!

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