Giant pandas Kai Kai, Jia Jia to stay on for another 5 years at River Wonders

River Wonders' giant pandas Kai Kai (left) and Jia Jia. (PHOTOS: Mandai Wildlife Group)
River Wonders' giant pandas Kai Kai (left) and Jia Jia. (PHOTOS: Mandai Wildlife Group)

SINGAPORE — Giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia, who have lived in Singapore's River Wonders attraction for the past 10 years, will be staying on for five more.

The extension agreement was signed on Friday (2 September) between Mandai Wildlife Group and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA).

Kai Kai and Jia Jia, who turn 15 and 14 years respectively this month, have been popular with River Wonders visitors since the day they came to Singapore a decade ago. The arrival of their cub Le Le on 14 August last year has brought even more popularity for the panda family.

To date, over 7.6 million visitors have seen Kai Kai, Jia Jia and Le Le frolicking in their River Wonders home, which has dipping pools and bamboo gardens that simulate their natural habitat.

Mike Barclay, Mandai Wildlife Group's group chief executive officer, said, "We have journeyed with Kai Kai and Jia Jia for a decade, from when they first arrived to making their debut in the Giant Panda Forest exhibit, and ensuring they are in good condition for each annual breeding season. We look forward to playing a part in their further growth and milestones.”

The signing of the extension agreement was witnessed by Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Trade and Industry; Sun Haiyan, Chinese ambassador to Singapore; and Li Chunliang, vice-administrator of China's National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

Contributions in giant panda care

Having seen Kai Kai and Jia Jia through seven breeding cycles, Mandai Wildlife Group has contributed knowledge in giant panda care with key developments such as stabilising the annual breeding cycles of the bears, given that they are the first pair living so near the equator.

Its panda care team will continue to work closely with their Chinese counterparts to ensure the pandas have the best food, daily attention and routines, and veterinary medicine.

The next phase of this collaboration will see Kai Kai and Jia Jia being given more opportunities to practise natural mating, with guidance from the Chinese experts. They will also conduct further research to enhance understanding of pandas under human care.

Singapore is the 10th country to collaborate with China on giant panda conservation and research since 1994. The extension of this collaboration reaffirms close diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.

Giant pandas’ conservation threat status has improved from Endangered to Vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a testament to China’s effective conservation programme and their international collaborative efforts with countries such as Singapore.

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