SIA CARGO TO TRANSPORT PANDAS TO SINGAPORE
SINGAPORE, 22 September 2010 – Singapore Airlines has been named the Official Airline for the Giant Panda collaborative programme between Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) and the China Wildlife Conservation Association. WRS and Singapore Airlines have signed a sponsorship agreement under which the Airline will transport the pandas to Singapore and provide air tickets for training and exchange programmes.
Under the agreement, Singapore Airlines Cargo will operate a special freighter flight to transport the pair of pandas from Chengdu to Singapore in the second half of 2011. Air tickets will also be provided on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights, primarily for the training and familiarisation needs of the teams of zookeepers, veterinarians and researchers from both Singapore and China.
“As the Official Airline for the Giant Panda programme, Singapore Airlines is honoured to play our part in promoting the conservation of these endangered gentle giants, which will enhance awareness and understanding of wildlife conservation. This underscores our strong belief in participating in programmes that have a tangible and sustainable impact on the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants,” said Mr Bey Soo Khiang, Singapore Airlines’ Senior Executive Vice President Marketing and Corporate Services.
“We are also proud to contribute to the further development of the strong bilateral ties between Singapore and China.”
A team from WRS recently visited the Ya’an and Chengdu panda bases in China in preparation for the pandas’ arrival. On the training trip, the team that will be looking after the Giant Pandas learnt from their Chinese counterparts the husbandry and nutrition needs as well as veterinary care of pandas. They also observed the management of panda births and were trained in the care requirements of young pandas. These two facilities account for most of the panda births worldwide.
“The arrival of the Giant Pandas to Singapore is a momentous event. We are pleased that Singapore Airlines has come on board as the Official Airline to provide the support needed to bring them here from China. The sponsorship also serves to bring conservationists from China and Singapore together in a bid to improve wildlife conservation management and promote eco-tourism development. Ten wildlife experts from China will spend two weeks training at WRS once every two years while our zoologists and veterinarians will conduct in-situ conservation and research in China,” said Ms Fanny Lai, WRS’ Group CEO.
“WRS believes that this partnership with SIA will be of great benefit to the conservation of endangered wildlife in the region and we look forward to continuing our mission in wildlife education.”
Singapore Airlines’ sponsorship of the Giant Pandas programme is its second involvement in a major conservation project. In August, Singapore Airlines announced a US$3 million donation towards the protection and restoration of the 100,000-hectare Harapan Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia.
WRS is the parent company of Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo. The Giant Pandas will be on loan from China and will be housed at the River Safari, which is scheduled to open in the first half of 2012. It will be the world’s first and only river-themed wildlife park and the newest addition to WRS’ portfolio of award-winning parks.