“Pandamonium” hits town as Singapore welcomed the giant pandas from China this morning
Talk about royal treatment for Singapore's newest celebrity couple.
Kai Kai and Jia Jia finally arrived in Singapore, together with a team of five keepers and vets from both China and Singapore, on a chartered Singapore Airlines flight this morning at 8.20am after about five hours of flight.
To ensure their well-being, extra care was taken to minimise stress for our furry guests as they travelled in custom-made crates which offer ample ventilation and space to move about.
Fruits, water and about 90kg of bamboo were carried on board for the pandas' meals. Also, cabin temperature was kept between 18 to 22 degrees celsius, consistent to their native habitat in Sichuan, China.
At the welcoming ceremony held at the JetQuay Terminal at Changi Airport this morning, guests which included government officials, corporate sponsors and hordes of journalists and media photographers gathered together to witness the much-anticipated arrival.
"This is an exciting time for tourism in Singapore. I'm sure many visitors and Singaporeans look forward to seeing Kai Kai and Jia Jia when the panda exhibit opens by end of the year," Guest-of-Honour Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade said, "and we look forward even more to hearing the pitter and patter of baby panda feet soon."
"It's not easy, you know, Singapore has population challenges," Mr Teo added, drawing waves of laughter from the audience, "Hopefully we will gain some successes somewhere else."
Originally named "Wu Jie" - Kai Kai, the male giant panda was born Sep 14, 2007, is outgoing, friendly and "loves posing for the camera" while "Hu Bao" - Jia Jia, the female giant panda was born Sep 3, 2008, is affectionate and has a playful personality. Their names were chosen by Wildlife Reserves Singapore after a six-month long nationwide search in 2010.
Chairman of WRS, Ms Claire Chiang said. "I've been assured by their caretakers that everything is in order and the giant pandas are happy [since their arrival]."
"Kai Kai was already very active when he arrived. He is what I'd say, a Casanova who loves to pose for the camera whereas Jia Jia is a little shy and slower in response but adapting very quickly."
The giant pandas will be housed at the S$8.6 million Giant Panda Forest in River Safari - the largest panda exhibit built in Southeast Asia. The custom-built home is modeled after their natural habitat in Chendu, China.
The collaboration between WRS and China Wildlife Conservation Association aims to raise awareness for the conservation of critically endangered animals.
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