The Pandas Have Arrived!

It has been almost three years since it was announced that Singapore would be receiving a pair of giant pandas. Singapore is the ninth country to receive giant pandas from China since 1994. Netizens watched with bated breath as Kai Kai and Jia Jia’s long-awaited arrival was streamed over a live feed on the River Safari website.

Little Day Out marked the historic occasion by following the two pandas as they made their first public appearance in Singapore and journeyed to their new home at the Yangtze River zone of the upcoming River Safari. Here we bring you the paw by paw account that began from around 8.20 am on 6 September 2012:

The Singapore Airlines Cargo Boeing 747 freighter carrying the two pandas from Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base in China arrives at Changi Airport’s JetQuay Terminal.
Plane
The plane’s nose cone opens and we see get to see what custom-made panda-class seats with ample ventilation and space look like.
Open door
Kai Kai and Jia Jia prepare to disembark after the five-hour flight – in panda style!
Off Loaded
The shades are removed and we get a first glimpse of the Giant Pandas, and they get a first glimpse of Singapore, the officials at the welcome ceremony and all the cameras!
First Glimpse
Everyone is excited to see them! Soon, the two pandas will be loaded onto a truck and enroute to the Zoo!
VIP
Over at the Singapore Zoo, the eager crowds are in a state of pandamonium!
Crowds At Zoo
Finally, the pandas arrive at the Zoo (in the temperature-controlled truck), escorted by two decoys.
Panda Arrival
A rousing lion dance ensues to welcome the pandas! Pre-schoolers gathered amidst the crowds cheer and wave their panda paws!

Lion Dance

 The perfect pick-me-up as the two pandas are carefully lifted out of the truck one by one…
Off Loading
… and brought to the special den where they will spend the next month in quarantine.
Loading
Gently does it…the crate is placed right next to the door of the den and the door is lifted up for Jia Jia to walk out whenever she is ready.
unloading
… and there she goes, a-walking in the den! It doesn’t take Jia Jia very long to walk round in circles to get good sniffs of every corner.
Cage
Here comes the next one…
Cage
… and Kai Kai is safely in his new home.
Cage
The keepers serve the pandas their favourite food – bamboo – grown in Singapore.

Bamboo

Welcome to Singapore Kai Kai and Jia Jia! As you can see them only in December, we bring you close-up panda-perfect portraits of them, courtesy of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
Here’s Kai Kai! His name means victorious in Chinese. He is active, amiable and obedient and prefers some privacy during mealtimes. Kai Kai is also affectionately nicknamed ‘Onion Head’ because of the extra tuft of hair on his head. He will be turning five on 14 September.

Kai Kai

And here’s Jia Jia! Her name symbolises beauty in Chinese. She enjoys climbing trees and loves having her bamboo while up there, is affectionate and playful before cameras. Her favourite food is carrots. She just turned four on 3 September.

Jia Jia

We also get a glimpse of the pandas’ new 1,500 sqm giant panda complex they will call home at the Zoo, ahead of River Safari’s planned opening next year. It is a temperature-controlled exhibit filled with lush plants, boulders, water features and outdoor yards that would allow the pandas to rest, explore, climb, swim, and hopefully, mate. Well, they have 10 years here to figure it out.
Panda Enclosure
 There will also be interactive displays with plenty of fun facts and things to learn about pandas.

Panda Exhibit

Take care and we’ll see you soon at the River Safari, pandas and pandamaniacs!

Meanwhile, you can check out Little Day Out’s list of Animals and Farms in Singapore to visit!

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