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Photo credit: WILDLIFE RESERVE SINGAPORE

Singapore’s first giant panda cub is a healthy baby boy

The gender of Singapore's first giant panda cub has been revealed, and it's a healthy boy!

Noreen Shazreen

Probably the coolest cat lady you’ll ever meet.


Published: 10 September 2021, 11:50 AM

After almost a month since the birth of Singapore’s first giant panda cub, Wildlife Reserve Singapore (WRS) revealed on Friday (Sep 10) the gender of the newborn – it’s a boy!

Singapore welcomed its first giant panda cub on Aug 14 to panda parents Kai Kai and Jia Jia, making it the first panda cub to be born in the country. 

The cub’s gender was revealed by his father, Kai Kai, as part of his 14th birthday celebrations. With 14 blue and pink candles adorning his exhibit in the Giant Panda Forest, Kai Kai tugged on an enrichment gift that burst into a shower of blue confetti, signifying the gender of the baby cub.

The enrichment gift also includes carrots, which he enjoys munching on. Kai Kai’s birthday falls on Sep 14, around a month after the birth of his cub.

Through a series of visual assessments performed by WRS’s panda care team, headed by Animal Care Officer, Ms Trisha Tay Ting Ni, the gender of the cub was determined.

A series of photos and videos shared by the WRS panda care team also allowed experts from China’s Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas (CCRCGP) to confirm the cub’s gender.

Currently, the cub is still under close supervision with his mother, Jia Jia, and has yet to undergo a veterinary examination.

Therefore, no medical intervention has been necessary so far as the cub continues to grow steadily under his mother’s care. 

 

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The close relationship between Jia Jia and her carers has allowed the team to observe the cub at close range and confirm the presence of external male genitalia. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVE SINGAPORE

 

“Jia Jia continues to grow in her role as a new mother and has exceeded all expectations in caring for her cub. As such, the panda care team has decided to allow this period of maternal care to continue for as long as possible for the duo to strengthen their bond,” shared Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Life Sciences Officer at WRS. 

After Jia Jia has become more accustomed to her new mothering routine and rest more, her carers will gradually resume conditioning sessions using positive reinforcement to prepare her for cub retrieval. 

The conditioning sessions include getting Jia Jia to have her back facing the den bars, allowing her keepers to feel around her abdomen where the cub is usually placed.

Only then will the care team be able to conduct a thorough health check on the cub. 

The second exercise involves fetching a ‘toy’ and releasing it at the den bars. Through these conditioning exercises, Jia Jia will learn cues and responses, and increase her comfort level for her cub to be retrieved by her care team.

Over the past month, the cub has also developed prominent black markings around his eyes, ears and body. Initially a pink furless newborn, the cub is transforming into a miniature version of his parents.

 

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Jia Jia showering her panda cub with love when it was born. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVE SINGAPORE

 

As part of this milestone, members of the public will be able to take part in the naming of the panda cub

The names should be catchy and easy to remember, reflecting characters with favourable traits. In addition, it must also reflect Singapore’s heritage and culture and reflect the friendship between Singapore and China.

The selection process will be overseen by a judging panel headed by Mandai Park Holdings’ Deputy Chairman, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin. 

Shortlisted names will be released for the public vote. The panda cub will take the name with the highest number of votes.

The panda cub will be named before it turns 100 days old on Nov 21.

For those with an idea or have good naming abilities, you can find out more about the panda naming contest here. The contest ends on Sep 19 at 11.59pm. 


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