Panda-ring to Special Needs
Singapore is ready to provide a safe and healthy haven for the panda pair
Issue: Sep 2012
Kai Kai and Jia Jia will be in Singapore by the end of the year to start their lives at the River Safari
September 6 is the date set for the pair of giant pandas, Kai Kai (凯凯) and Jia Jia (嘉嘉), on loan from China for the next 10 years, to arrive in Singapore. They will be making the Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s River Safari their new home. The ninth country to receive the pandas from China since 1994, Singapore was loaned the black and white envoys in 2010 to mark the 20th anniversary of Sino-Singapore relations and symbolise the close ties between the two countries.
During their stay, the giant pandas will be part of the conservation programme that is the collaborative effort between China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) and Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS). The programme aims to promote giant panda conservation and raise public awareness about the endangered species. The giant pandas will also be part of a breeding programme to contribute to the giant panda population born in captivity and in the wild.
As Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the Great Panda collaborative programme, CapitaLand has pledged to donate to the decade-long conservation efforts. The sponsorship will cover the building of the pandas’ habitat, care of the endangered animals, research into conservation as well as the breeding programme.
Moving the gentle giants from their homes at Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base to Singapore is a carefully planned and operated endeavor. Every effort is being made to ensure these furry friends have a safe and comfortable journey. WRS is also leaving nothing to chance to make sure that the bears transit well into their new homes with minimal disturbances.
They are currently on quarantine at Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base for a month. When they arrive, they will spend another month in quarantine before being released into their exhibit. Only when they have properly explored their new surroundings and become accustomed to it will they go public in December.
It took a year to construct this S$8.6 million exhibit for the giant pandas that is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia
Much effort has been taken to make Kai Kai and Jia Jia’s new home perfect and perfectly safe. The S$8.6-million exhibit at the Yangtze River zone of River Safari is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, exceeding even the specifications set by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums to (WAZA) and giving the pair plenty of space to roam. Taking a year to complete, it boasts varied topography and naturalistic environment complete with plants, trees logs, boulders waterfalls and shallow pools that echo their natural habitat. Climbing structures and other enrichment features have also been put in place for the pandas to explore and play. The temperature within is maintained with an energy-efficient water-chilled air-conditioned system at a comfortable 18 to 22 degrees Celsius and a humidity level of 50 to 60 per cent all year around. The duo even has their own outdoor yards where they can enjoy fresh air and the Singapore sun.
The exhibit not only houses the pandas involved in conservation, it is also designed to aid conservation. The walls have double cavities so that the cool temperature can be efficiently maintained. Double-glazing skylights allow light in while keeping the heat out. The light tubes in the food preparation and den areas draw and focus sunlight into the building while the boardwalk is made of re-constituted timber.
For neighbours, the giant pandas will have other endangered wildlife from China like the giant salamander and the red panda.
Giant pandas are picky eaters so four different species of bamboos have been grown to make sure they have enough to eat
WRS’ horticulture department was also involved in ensuring the pandas have a safe stay. To feed the picky eaters, four species of bamboo, three of which are native to their home, have been grown. By now, there are over 3,000 clumps of bamboos. An additional 200 clumps have also been planted at WRS’ Lim Chu Kang farm to make sure there is a constant supply of eats for the two.
As a health and safety precaution, every two months, samples of the bamboo will be sent to the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) for pest and nutrient analysis. This is to make sure that the food meets the dietary requirements of the pandas. To supplement their diet of 20 kilograms of fresh bamboo a day, their menu includes vegetables and specialized folivore biscuits.
Safeguarding the Panda’s Future
The exhibit is designed in such a way that visitors can have unobstructed views of the giant pandas
Since the giant pandas are here to help spread the word on conservation and educate the public, the exhibit is designed so visitors can walk through with an unobstructed view of the bears from an elevated boardwalk and pavilion. Volunteer guides are also available to provide more information. Visitors can even step into an on-site kitchen to see how their meals are prepared.
The exhibit immerses visitors in the culture of China through its design and music
To complete the experience, soundscape, and music let visitors immerse themselves in the natural environment of the giant pandas’ home in China.
With so much effort put in to make a safe and healthy home, these treasured guests will surely want for nothing when they come to Singapore.
Send your well wishes to Kai Kai and Jia Jia!
The date is set! September 6 is when the cute giant panda duo will set their paws on Singapore soil! Before they make their new home in Singapore, feel free to post your well wishes to them at the comments section below and make them feel welcome!