Environment

S’pore Welcomes First Panda Cub; Kai Kai & Jia Jia Are Finally Parents

Jia Jia Gives Birth To Singapore’s First Panda Cub On 14 Aug

Kai Kai and Jia Jia, the pandas at River Safari, are some of Singapore Zoo’s most popular animals.

And now, a new addition to their family is about to steal the limelight.

On Saturday (14 Aug), Kai Kai and Jia Jia officially became parents as Singapore’s very first panda cub was born.

Image courtesy of Wildlife Reserves Singapore

It was joyous news after 6 long years of numerous fruitless – or in this case, cubless – attempts.

Panda cub born on 14 Aug at River Safari

On Sunday (15 Aug) morning, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) announced the birth of our nation’s first panda cub on 14 Aug at River Safari.

The cub’s gender has yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.

Jia Jia, the newly minted mum, is now in an off-exhibit den with her baby, taking the time to nurse and bond with the cub.

Baby conceived via artificial insemination

In April, 13-year-old Kai Kai and 12-year-old Jia Jia showed signs of being in heat and entered their 7th breeding season together.

 

WRS’s animal care team then worked closely with China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Panda (CCRCGP) to begin a breeding plan for 2021.

The team was optimistic that the pandas would naturally breed this year after improving their mating techniques over the years.

But as the window of opportunity for a successful mating dwindled, CCRCGP advised WRS vets to perform artificial insemination.

WRS’s in-house veterinary team then carried out the procedure using frozen semen collected from Kai Kai before mating season.

A significant milestone for Singapore

According to WRS’ statement, Jia Jia’s pregnancy was first confirmed on 10 Aug when vets found a foetus with a strong heartbeat during an ultrasound.

WRS’s Deputy CEO and Chief Life Sciences Officer Dr Cheng said the pregnancy and birth of a cub is a “significant milestone” for Singapore in caring for the threatened species.

He added that it was the result of good animal care, assisted reproductive science, and the sheer perseverance of staff.

Dr Cheng then said the work continues as they support the first-time mother in raising her newborn cub.

Giant pandas are still a threatened species

Recently, giant pandas’ conservation threat status improved from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’.

Caring for our resident pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia also contributes to the species’ conservation efforts.

Image courtesy of Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Although there are improvements, giant pandas remain a threatened species, and it is crucial to continue protecting them, WRS emphasised.

Congrats, Kai Kai & Jia Jia

The birth of Singapore’s first baby panda is exciting news and cause for celebration, especially during National Day festivities.

Ultimately, we’re glad Jia Jia had a smooth pregnancy and birth. We can’t wait to visit the panda family and see the little one for ourselves.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image courtesy of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Sabrina Seng

Sabrina is always facing some form of existential crisis but other than that, she's pretty chill.

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