There is much excitement amongst animal lovers in Singapore, as they gear up to meet the two giant pandas who arrived at Singapore Zoo from China on September 6, 2012.
The two giant pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia, will call the River Safari at Singapore Zoo home for the next ten years, as part of a joint collaboration between China Wildlife Conservation Association and Wildlife Reserves Singapore, to develop a breeding program for these endangered animals. There are fewer than 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild, making them one of the world’s most threatened animals.
Kai Kai and Jia Jia recently arrived in Singapore from China — Photo courtesy of Wildlife Reserves Singapore
The Singapore Zoo is regarded as one of the best zoos in the world and is a model example of an ‘open zoo,’ housing 2,530 animals from 315 species in spacious landscaped enclosures, separated from visitors by concealed moats or glass-fronted enclosures.
The 1,500-square-meter Giant Panda Forest – the largest in Southeast Asia and roughly the size of an Olympic swimming pool – has been designed to simulate the bears’ natural habitat with lush plants, boulders and water features. Waterfalls with shallow pools, climbing structures and other enrichment features will allow the pandas to rest, explore, climb and even swim.
The climate-controlled exhibit will be kept between 18-22 degrees Celsius, with humidity set at 50-60 percent to ensure the pandas are always comfortable. Outdoor yards have also been created so that the pandas can enjoy fresh air and have the option to experience Singapore’s tropical climate. The two gentle giants will share their enclosure with other endangered species from China, such as golden pheasants and red pandas.
Singapore is the ninth country to receive giant pandas from China since 1994, a gesture that emphasizes close diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Visitors to Singapore Zoo can look forward to visiting Kai Kai and Jia Jia at the Yangtze River Zone when the River Safari opens in the first quarter of 2013. Special preview tickets are now available for the Giant Panda exhibit which will open on November 29th, ahead of the River Safari opening.