Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kai Kai and Jia Jia

SINGAPORE - Singapore welcomed two new residents, giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia from Chengdu, China this morning. Hope Kai Kai and Jia Jia can adapt to the Singapore environment. These few days many Singaporeans talk about Kai Kai and Jia Jia. Surely Kai Kai and Jia Jia will make people happy. I hope those poor people can have the free tickets to visit Kai Kai and Jia Jia.

The pandas are in Singapore on a 10-year loan from the Chinese government to mark two decades of strong ties between China and Singapore.

Kai Kai and Jia Jia boarded a Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 cargo freighter at 3.45am this morning, arriving at Singapore Changi Airport about four and a half hours later along with a team of five keepers and vets from both China and Singapore who were also on board to ensure the pandas' well-being.

"Singapore Airlines is pleased to have transported Kai Kai and Jia Jia to Singapore," said the chief executive of Singapore Airlines Goh Choon Phong.

"We warmly welcome them to their new home at the River Safari and are privileged to be playing our part in this significant conservation initiative."

It was the pandas' first time away from home, and extra care was taken to minimise stress for the animals.

The departure and arrival times were scheduled to reduce climate-related discomfort for the pandas.

The cabin temperature was kept between 18 to 22 degrees celsius, consistent to their native habitat in Sichuan, China.

Fruits, water and about 90kg of bamboo were also carried on board for the pandas' meals.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore also brought along bamboo from Guangzhou, in case the pandas need time to adjust to the taste of locally-grown bamboo.

The pandas travelled in custom-made crates which offer ample ventilation and space to move about.

A welcome ceremony was held at the JetQuay Terminal at Changi Airport, and the pair were brought to their new home at River Safari in a temperature-controlled vehicle.

At Mandai, groups of eager panda-spotters lined up to welcome the pair.

For those who can't get enough of the pandas, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched the 2012 Giant Panda Commemorative Coins, with the Silver Proof coin fashioned for the first time in a unique oval shape.

The coins issued to mark the arrival of Kai Kai and Jia Jia also help highlight the threat of extinction faced by giant pandas today and the importance of wildlife conservation said the MAS.

The coins come in three different versions bearing the pandas' names engraved in Chinese characters and feature Kai Kai and Jia Jia in their natural habitat. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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