It's official! After a few unsuccessful attempts, Singapore has it's first panda cub born on 14 August 2021 at River Safari!
Singapore welcomed her first giant panda cub at River Safari on 14 August 2021. The cub’s gender is yet to be determined and will be announced later. Meanwhile, mom and baby are in an off-exhibit den to give them time to nurse and bond.
In April this year, 13-year-old Kai Kai and 12-year-old Jia Jia displayed signs of being in heat, officially entering their seventh breeding season. Working closely with the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Panda (CCRCGP), WRS’ animal care team initiated the breeding plan for 2021, emphasising natural mating with assisted reproductive technology as back up if required.
There was optimism that the pandas would naturally breed this year, after the pair had shown improvements in their mating techniques the year before.
To make the most of the once-a-year breeding season, CCRCGP experts advised our vets to perform artificial insemination before the end of the receptive period. The procedure was carried out by the in-house veterinary team at WRS' Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre, using frozen semen collected from Kai Kai before the mating season.
Giant Pandas Continue To Be Vulnerable
Giant pandas’ conservation threat status recently improved from Endangered to Vulnerable on the IUCN* Red List of Threatened Species. This is testament to a well-managed conservation programme instituted by the Chinese wildlife authority which encompasses habitat protection, research and maintenance of sustainable population in human care.
Despite the improvement in the conservation status, giant pandas remain a threatened species and it is crucial to continue protecting this wildlife icon.
* International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Follow The Cub's Progress
From 26 Aug onwards, members of the public can observe Jia Jia (and possibly catch a rare glimpse of her cub in the mother’s protective embrace) via a panda cam being screened at the Giant Panda Forest. Panda Sneak Peek is an hour-long video that will broadcast on WRS’s YouTube channel each day, so members of the public can tune in to observe the cub’s progress and the precious moments between Jia Jia and her cub.
Visiting The River Safari
While both Mummy and Baby are currently off-exhibit, you may wish to visit later when the pair are available. You can stay tune to River Safari for more details. and baby are in an off-exhibit den to give them time to nurse and bond.
River Safari is located at 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore 729826. You can get River Safari tickets from Klook too!
Photo Credits: Wildlife Reserve Singapore