Giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia celebrate birthdays

Giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia celebrate birthdays

An attempt at artificial insemination earlier this year was not successful, said Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Giant Pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia
Giant Panda Kai Kai going straight for his favourite apple slices while Jia Jia gingerly takes a curious whiff of her birthday cake. (Photo: Wildlife Reserves Singapore)

SINGAPORE: The River Safari's giant panda couple Kai Kai and Jia Jia celebrated hitting the double-digits on Friday (Sep 14) with bamboo cakes, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) said in a media release.

However, there's still no sign of a panda baby as an attempt at artificial insemination this year did not result in a pregnancy. 

Male panda Kai Kai turned 11 on Friday, while female bear Jia Jia turned 10 on Sep 3. Giant pandas in captivity have been known to live beyond their 20s.

The 1.2m-tall cakes, made out of bamboo and topped with apples and carrots, collectively weighed about 17kg.

“Kai Kai and Jia Jia love getting treats, and we love spoiling them!” said Halim Ali, assistant curator at the River Safari.

"I’ve cared for the duo since they arrived in Singapore six years ago. They are like family to the team of keepers," he added.

READ: No mating for Kai Kai and Jia Jia this year, as keepers turn to artificial insemination

READ: Third time unlucky: No baby yet for giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia

The two pandas, which are on loan to Singapore from the Chinese government for 10 years, arrived in Singapore in 2012.

They reached mating age in 2015 but three previous attempts at natural mating failed to produce baby pandas.

Both bears entered their fourth mating season in April earlier this year, and the veterinary team decided to only employ artificial insemination to secure the best semen quality from Kai Kai. 

As giant pandas have delayed implantation, a pregnancy cannot be determined until the later part of the panda's gestation period.

Earlier this week, it was determined that the artificial insemination attempt was unsuccessful, although Jia Jia displayed increased moodiness and longer naps - signs of a possible pregnancy or pseudo-pregnancy, WRS said.

Source: CNA/nh/(hm)