GIANT PANDAS ARRIVING SINGAPORE SEPTEMBER 6

From left: Giant pandas Kai Kai (male) and Jia Jia (female). PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Singapore, 15 August 2012 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) today announced that the two giant pandas from China will be arriving in Singapore on 6 September 2012.

The giant pandas from Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base will be flown to Singapore on board a Singapore Airlines Cargo Boeing 747 freighter and are expected to touch down at Changi Airport at 8.20 am. The two pandas, named Kai Kai (凯凯) and Jia Jia (嘉嘉), will be housed at the Yangtze River zone of the upcoming River Safari, along with other endangered wildlife from China such as the giant salamander and the red panda. The pandas will add new buzz and excitement to the tourism and leisure landscape, for Singaporeans and visitors.

“After many months of careful planning and preparation, we are happy to welcome the giant pandas to Singapore and to their new home at River Safari. The arrival of Kai Kai and Jia Jia marks the start of an exciting panda research and development opportunity and we look forward to working closely with the Chinese experts to enhance overall understanding on giant panda conservation,” said Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman of WRS.

To ensure that the giant pandas are comfortable during their five-hour flight, the aircraft’s temperature will be set to the bears’ natural habitat conditions and ‘in-flight meals’ will also be provided in the form of bamboo, fruit and water. The pandas will be transported in special crates that offer ventilation and adequate space to move about in relative comfort. A team of keepers and vets from WRS and Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base will be accompanying the giant pandas throughout their journey.

After landing, the giant pandas will receive a celebratory welcome at the airport and will then be moved into a temperature-controlled truck for their journey to River Safari. There, the pandas will be moved into their den block to begin a month-long quarantine. After completing the quarantine process, they will be released into their exhibit to explore and familiarise themselves with their new surroundings before going on public display. Visitors can look forward to visiting the giant panda exhibit in December.

Kai Kai and Jia Jia will be in Singapore for 10 years as part of a joint collaboration between China Wildlife Conservation Association and WRS to raise public awareness on wildlife conservation and develop a breeding programme for these endangered animals. There are fewer than 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild. The pair of giant pandas also emphasises the close diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.

CapitaLand, the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the Giant Panda collaborative programme, has pledged a conservation donation to support the 10-year collaborative programme to promote giant panda conservation; and Singapore Airlines is the Official Airline Sponsor of these gentle animals.

Singapore will be the ninth country to receive giant pandas from China since 1994.

Note: Further details will be given closer to the giant pandas’ arrival date.

WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE GROWS SPECIAL BAMBOO SPECIES IN THE PARKS

BAMBOO CULTIVATED TO MEET SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDS OF GIANT PANDAS FROM CHINA

Singapore, 26 Aug 2010Night Safari and Singapore Zoo are home to many different types of flora and fauna, and these award-winning wildlife parks recently added a variety of new bamboo species to their collection – all cultivated in anticipation of the arrival of a male and female giant panda from China next year.

On loan to parent company Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) from the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA), these endangered creatures will be one of the main highlights of WRS’ upcoming attraction, River Safari, Asia’s first river-themed wildlife park, which will open its doors in 2012. The 10-year collaboration is aimed at promoting the conservation of giant pandas through research and a captive breeding programme. CapitaLand has pledged a conservation donation to support this initiative.

Giant pandas have carnaisal teeth which classifies them as carnivores. However, these animals feed mainly on leaves, stems and shoots of bamboo species. As their diet is low in nutrition, they need to eat about 20 kg of food every day to meet their energy needs.

To cater to their special diet and the extensive amount of bamboo they will consume, every available space around and within the Night Safari and Singapore Zoo, as well as the neighbouring yet-to-be-completed River Safari have been converted to special plots of land for bamboo cultivation.

In the past six months, the horticulture department at WRS have been planting and nurturing four different species of bamboo, three of which are native to the homeland of the giant pandas. These include the Bambusa ventricosa (Buddha’s belly), Phyllostachys sulphurea (Ougon-Kou Chiku Bamboo), Bambusa glaucescens (Hedge bamboo) as well as Thyrsostachys Siamensis (Siamese bamboo) from Myanmar and Thailand.

“Although giant pandas can eat up to 25 types of bamboos, they are picky eaters and will only eat the species that grow in their home range. We were told that our two new charges have preferences for Siamese bamboo and hedge bamboo, as these have wide leaves and are juicier. We are planting these varieties, so that our giant pandas can enjoy locally grown bamboo, which suit their taste buds,” said Mr Melvin Tan, Assistant Director at the WRS horticulture department.

During a visit to the giant panda base in Chengdu, China, earlier this year, the WRS team even brought along the bamboos they had planted to these two giant pandas for a taste test.

To ensure an ample supply of bamboo for the giant pandas, up to 5,400 clumps need to be planted on about 8,000 sq m of land. To date, the team has successfully grown about 1,300 clumps of the four species of bamboo on their grounds.

“Besides taking care of their special dietary needs, we are also sending our curators and keepers to China for training, which will include guidance on the finer points of giant panda mating and breeding. We hope to offer the best conditions for the successful pairing of these pandas, and we hope to welcome babies during their stay here to contribute towards the conservation of this magnificent animal,” said Ms Fanny Lai, WRS’ Group CEO.

Native to central-western and south-western China, giant pandas have been driven from their natural habitats due to logging and deforestation. Bamboo – their staple diet – has also become short in supply, partly because of their peculiarity of blooming and dying at the same time. This forces the giant pandas to move to another area in search of food. Some 1,600 of them are estimated to be left in the wild, with about 200 being bred in captivity in China. Outside of China, there are 38 held in captivity, including five in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

CapitaLand and WRS are currently holding a contest to name the two giant pandas that are bound for Singapore. From now till 31 August 2010, members of the public can submit their entries at http://www.pandas.com.sg.

Bambusa glaucescens bamboo species planted behind the zoo’s nursery
Thrsostachys siamensis planted on the driveway leading to treatment plant’s main gate door

WRS INVITES SINGAPOREANS TO NAME THE GIANT PANDAS

Singapore, 15 June 2010Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) and CapitaLand have launched a nation-wide competition today to name the pair of Giant Pandas which will arrive in Singapore in 2011.

The pair of male and female pandas will be on loan to WRS from the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) as part of a 10-year joint collaboration to promote the conservation of Giant Pandas and kick-start a breeding research programme. WRS is the parent company of Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming River Safari, which will be home to the pandas. CapitaLand, one of Asia’s largest real estate companies, is the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the Giant Panda collaborative programme.

From now till 31 August 2010, members of the public can submit their entries for the two new furry black and white residents at www.pandas.com.sg. The names must be symbolic in meaning, reflect the close relationship between Singapore and China, and be easy to pronounce. Suggested names given for both male and female Giant Pandas must be in Chinese, with the option of an English, Malay or Tamil translation. Each entry comes with a participation fee of SGD $2, which will be donated in full to the Giant Panda Conservation Fund for the pandas’ upkeep.

The winning pair of names, to be announced in October 2010, will be picked by a panel of judges comprising representatives from the Singapore Tourism Board, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Singapore, WRS and CapitaLand. The winner will receive a complimentary three-night stay at any Ascott serviced residence worldwide, an exclusive preview of the Giant Panda exhibit when it opens in 2012 and other attractive prizes.

The River Safari, Asia’s first river-themed park and WRS’ fourth and latest nature attraction, will be home to the two Giant Pandas. Giant Pandas are the rarest members of the bear family and are considered one of the world’s most endangered animals. About 1,600 Giant Pandas are estimated to be left in the wild, and to ensure the existence of these endearing creatures, some 200 Giant Pandas have been placed in captive breeding programmes in wildlife parks across the world.

“The arrival of the Giant Pandas is a milestone for WRS and Singapore. We call upon the local community to welcome these gentle creatures by taking part in a nation-wide search for their names, to demonstrate our commitment to wildlife conservation and to celebrate the close ties between Singapore and China,” said Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Mr Liew Mun Leong, President and CEO of CapitaLand Group, said, “The Giant Panda collaborative programme will raise cultural exchange and understanding between Singapore and China and further strengthen the strong relationship between the two countries. It is against this backdrop that CapitaLand, as an active social investor in Singapore and China, is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the programme. This naming contest for the two Giant Pandas will raise conservation awareness of the Singapore public as we get ready to welcome these Chinese national treasures to Singapore next year.”

For more information, please refer to www.pandas.com.sg.

Can you think of a name for our Giant pandas?