A trip down memory lane with 2-year-old Giant Panda Le Le

In commemoration of his second birthday, an apparel line and panda-themed activities have been launched.

Han Xinyi

Still doesn’t understand how the kopi c, o, kosong system works.

Published: 14 August 2023, 4:31 PM

It seemed like only yesterday that Singapore welcomed its first Giant Panda cub Le Le, after years of trial and error by the Mandai Wildlife Group and China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Panda. Now, he has turned two and celebrated his second birthday on Monday (Aug 14).

The panda cub commemorated the occasion with a large bamboo cake, a buffet of treats like banana leaves and ice blocks, as well as an array of straw, hay and wood shavings to play with. He was also gifted with bamboo shoots by the panda care team to nom on.

One of Singapore’s most popular animal residents in River Wonders, Le Le now weighs 65kg and is playful yet increasingly independent. 

This is a huge contrast to his initial weight of 200g at birth.


Curious visitors could only see the newborn cub and his mother in person three months after his birth, though they could try catching a glimpse of them on a panda cam. PHOTO CREDITS: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP


Le Le began showing panda markings 10 days after birth (left), and opened his eyes for the first time a month later (right). PHOTO CREDITS: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP


Before his 100th day celebrations – which are customary in Chinese culture to symbolise the end of a mother’s vulnerable period with a newborn – members of the public were allowed to vote for what the cub’s name should be. Le Le’s name was eventually revealed on Dec 29, 2021.

It was also around this time that he was finally brought out to greet River Wonders visitors from his nursery. Many flocked over to say hello to the then little one, which in turn generated long queues outside the Giant Panda Forest exhibit.


The name Le Le (叻叻) amassed more than 31,000 out of 64,000 votes, and originated from the ancient Chinese name for Singapore. PHOTO CREDITS: MANDIA WILDLIFE GROUP


Le Le stayed in his nursery for almost seven months before joining his mother in her exhibit on Mar 10, 2022. His first public debut in the habitat – which was baby proofed for the panda cub’s safety – was commemorated with the unveiling of his information board.

According to Mandai, he had an inquisitive nature and was especially active in the morning.


At seven months old, Le Le weighed 15.86kg. PHOTO CREDITS: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP


Now two-years-old, the panda is growing increasingly independent and is soon to move into a new private den away from his mother. 

This is part of a giant panda’s natural process after cubs are about 18 to 24 months of age., Jia Jia will start exhibiting behavioural changes and reject her cub, thus the need for the mother-son pair to be separated.

Full separation will occur in the coming months, with it being closely watched by the panda care team. After Le Le moves into his new den, he will timeshare the public exhibit at Giant Panda Forest from 10am to 2pm. 

In celebration of the Giant Panda’s second birthday, Mandai collaborated with clothing brand bossini to launch a panda-themed apparel line. There are a total of six t-shirt designs with motifs of an animated Le Le, his family and friends.

The Le Le apparel collection is available for purchase online and in River Wonders’ retail stores, as well as selected bossini outlets.


The six designs are priced at $34 for an adult shirt, $30 for a kids’ shirt, and $40 for a short-sleeve dress. PHOTO CREDITS: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP


River Wonders is also hosting a range of panda-themed activities from now till Sep 10. These include a trail, panda keeper activity booth, workshops and mascot meet-and-greets.

The Giant Pandas are part of Mandai partnership with China’s global network in the conservation of Giant Pandas. Kai Kai and Jia Jia are to remain in Singapore until 2027, while Le Le will move back to China during his second year.

Information on Le Le’s departure will be announced in due time, said Mandai Wildlife Group.

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