While it is too early to tell, Jia Jia’s keepers leave nothing to chance; Daily cub retrieval and urine collection conditioning conducted in preparation for a possible pregnancy
Singapore, 23 June 2017 – Jia Jia’s keepers have been hard at work since this year’s mating season ended for River Safari’s pair of giant pandas.
Kai Kai and Jia Jia were put together for natural mating on 30 March, following which artificial insemination was carried out to maximise the chances of breeding under human care. Professor Ng Soon Chye, an obstetrics and gynaecology specialist internationally renowned for his expertise in reproductive medicine, assisted River Safari’s veterinary team during the insemination process.
Since then, the team of keepers at River Safari’s Giant Panda Forest have been conducting daily cub retrieval and urine collection conditioning sessions for Jia Jia in preparation for the possible arrival of a baby panda. Urine collection conditioning allows keepers to collect fresh and uncontaminated urine samples from Jia Jia to monitor her hormonal levels. A gradual increase in progesterone levels indicates a possible pregnancy or pseudo pregnancy. Getting Jia Jia used to handing her cub to the keepers allow her carers to conduct health checks, and to provide supplementary or foster care for the cub if required.
Keepers also started Jia Jia on a daily dosage of folic acid, a pre-natal and pregnancy supplement. River Safari’s team of vets and keepers are holding their breaths on Jia Jia’s pregnancy status. Giant pandas have delayed implantation during pregnancy and as such, vets cannot confirm a pregnancy until the later part of the panda’s gestation period, which in Jia Jia’s case, falls between August to September.
Singapore, 8 June 2017 — We are deeply saddened by the passing of our senior white tiger Omar yesterday. An icon of Singapore Zoo in his own right, he enthralled guests with his majestic presence. Omar leaves an indelible memory in the minds of all who were awed by his regal stature. His image is immortalised in waves of photographs capturing him in his finest moments—whether leaping elegantly into the water or lounging stylishly on his rocky outcrop.
Omar had been managed on our senior animal care programme, where healthcare and welfare of our senior age animals are customised to promote longevity and quality of life.
Over the last three years, his team of keepers and veterinarians had been monitoring him closely for a melanoma (a type of skin cancer) and degeneration of his joints. They had been providing supportive care to him for the past few months to ensure his quality of life was maintained. Recent reassessment had seen worsening of his health and the difficult decision was made to euthanase him to prevent further deterioration of his quality of life.
Born under human care in Taman Safari, Indonesia, Omar had charmed guests since arriving in Singapore Zoo as a 19-month-old juvenile tiger on 6 April 2001. He would have turned 18 years old in September—an impressive age for a large cat. In the wild, tigers have an average lifespan of between 10 to 15 years while those under human care live 16 to 20 years on average.
We will miss Omar, and our thoughts and appreciation go especially to his caregivers, who for so many years took such great care of him.
Singapore Zoo is now home to two white tigers—Pasha and Keysa. The 4-year-old brother-sister duo arrived from Batu Secret Zoo in Indonesia on 15 January 2015.