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Singaporeans, get set to meet China's pandas

Female panda Jia Jia feeding on bamboo leaves in the Ya’an sanctuary in Sichuan province. (ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM)

Publication Date : 16-08-2012


The public will be able to see pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia at the River Safari in December.

The pair are scheduled to fly in to Singapore on September 6.

The Straits Times reported earlier that they are in quarantine at China's panda base.

"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," said Claire Chiang, chairman of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), parent company of the river- themed animal attraction.

While the S$160 million (US$128 million) River Safari will be officially unveiled in the first quarter of next year, the panda exhibit will open in December. This will give them ample time to settle in.

They will be quarantined here for one month, then given another month to get used to their new S$8.5 million home.

Visitors will also see other endangered wildlife from China, including the giant salamander and the red panda at the River Safari's Yangtze River zone, where the panda enclosure is sited.

WRS said the construction at the River Safari - made up of eight different zones - is on track.

"River Safari is progressing well as planned," said a WRS spokesman.

When asked why it would not be opening in November as reported, she said the 2013 opening is "in line with the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation".

While the two pandas are the star attraction, a major part of their scheduled 10-year stay here is the conservation of the endangered species.

Property developer CapitaLand is paying for the conservation and research efforts.

Its chief corporate officer Tan Seng Chai said: "We are happy to be part of the collaboration to raise awareness for the conservation of these gentle creatures and the development of a breeding programme for these critically endangered animals."

Singapore Airlines is the flight sponsor.

Panda lover Michelle Tan, an account director, 32, said: "Kai Kai and Jia Jia are finally going to be here. I can't wait to see them."


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