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

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

Jia Jia Kai Kai Singapore pandas
River Safari's giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia enjoyed their birthday celebration with their favourite treats. (Photo: Wildlife Reserves Singapore) 

SINGAPORE: The River Safari's giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia third try at making a panda baby during the mating season last March proved unsuccessful, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) said in a media release on Wednesday (Sep 6).

WRS said in March that keepers had fine-tuned techniques to help the pair get primed and ready for their third try but they now confirmed that both natural mating and artificial insemination have failed.

However, WRS said that vets and keepers will continue to try breeding techniques proven to be successful in other zoos.

Senior veterinarian at WRS Abraham Matthew said that while Jia Jia will not be having a panda cub this year, he was optimistic that future attempts would produce results. 

"It is heartening that under controlled conditions we managed to help the giant pandas maintain a regular oestrous cycle – similar to their native habitat in Chengdu," Dr Matthew said.

"The vets and keepers remain encouraged, and we will continue keeping them in tip top condition ahead of next year’s breeding season,” he added. 

The pair enjoyed a cosy birthday celebration on Wednesday afternoon by digging into icy treats in the form of frozen cakes decorated with chopped carrots and red apples.

Jia Jia’s cake was lightly drizzled with honey and Kai Kai received a green apple on top of his cake as a special treat for his 10th birthday. 

He turns 10 on Sep 14 while Jia Jia turned nine on Sunday (Sep 3). 

panda birthday visitors
Members of the public excitedly snapping shots of male Giant Panda Kai Kai tucking into his ice cake. (Photo: Wildlife Reserves Singapore) 

Over 100 visitors joined the panda party including one-year-old Mikayla Fong, who was celebrating her birthday on Wednesday. 

Mikayla's parents expressed hope that Singapore's famous panda duo will be parents soon. 

"We wish Kai Kai and Jia Jia continued good health and hope they have a panda baby in the future!” they said. 

Source: CNA/am