Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ni hao, Kai Kai and Jia Jia

Kai Kai and Jia Jia, two giant pandas who will call Singapore home for the next 10 years, have arrived to Singapore. The pandas flew to Singapore on an overnight  Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 cargo freighter. The VIPs (Very Important Pandas) had arrived to Singapore at 8.20am this morning.[1]  A welcome ceremony was held at the JetQuay Terminal at Changi Airport, and Kai Kai and Jia Jia were brought to their new home at River Safari in a temperature-controlled vehicle. You can follow these pandas from their web site Actually there is a live web cast stream showing their arrival to their new home in River Safari on  now.

Kai Kai and Jia Jia will remain in quarantine until their public debut in December at the River Safari. This will make Singapore Zoo one of the 16 zoos outside China where people can see giant pandas.[2]

Kaikai (凯凯), the male giant panda, is a 3 years old while Jia Jia (嘉嘉) is 2 years old. Chinese usually give meaningful names to giant pandas on loan to reflect the relationship with the destination country. According to “Kai Kai”, means ‘victorious’ in Chinese 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."
Source : Who’s Kaikai, and who’s Jiajia?

Kai Kai and Jia Jia were initially planned to arrive in Singapore in March 2012 but their arrival was delayed because their enclosure was not ready to house them until now and went through more changes. A team from China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) visited Singapore in February and requested for changes to be made to the $8.5 million panda enclosure. The changes included readjusting the position of light fixtures and adding grilles to air-conditioner ducts.[3] Singapore is the ninth country to receive the bears from China since the loan scheme began in 1994, and the fourth Asia-Pacific nation to be given the honour after Thailand, Japan and Australia.[4]

Pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia Arrive In Singapore, Sept 6, 2012

The River Safari is Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s latest addition featuring Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park.  It occupies 12 hectares and is being developed at a cost of S$160 million.  You can expect freshwater flora and fauna with over 150 plant species, 300 animal species and over 5,000 animal specimens.[5] Kai Kai and Jia Jia will be here on a 10-year loan from China and probably be the most popular attraction of upcoming River Safari. There are fewer than 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild and only about 300 giant pandas in zoos and breeding centres.[6] More than 99% of a giant panda's diet is made up of bamboo and they can eat over 20kg of bamboo every day. That's the equivalent of eating 100 bowls of rice a day!

According to The Straits Times, when Chinese giant pandas An An and Xin Xing were on display for 100 days in 1990 at the Singapore Zoo, they attracted more than 400,000 visitors.[4]

[1] - Pandas to receive five-star treatment in Singapore
[2] - Where to see a panda in real life
[3] - Giant pandas Kai Kai & Jia Jia arrive in Singapore
[4] - Singapore gives VIP welcome to Chinese pandas
[5] - PANDAMONIUM: Giant Pandas Kai Kai & Jia Jia Arrive 6 September
[6] - Pandapedia 

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