River Safari gears up for potential panda pregnancy

River Safari gears up for potential panda pregnancy
PHOTO: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Third time's the charm, they say. Could it ring true for Jia Jia?

Keepers at River Safari are holding their breaths on the giant panda's pregnancy status, Wildlife Reserves Singapore said in a media release on Friday (June 23).

Jia Jia and Kai Kai mated in late March this year before Jia Jia was artificially inseminated shortly after.

Jia Jia undergoing artificial insemination in March 2017.Photo: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Since then, she's been taking folic acid - a pre-natal and pregnancy supplement - daily to prepare for a potential pregnancy.

Her keepers at Giant Panda Forest are also helping her get used to urine collection as well as cub retrieval.

The collection of fresh and uncontaminated urine samples will help carers monitor Jia Jia's hormonal levels which can indicate if she's pregnant.

And getting the giant panda used to handing her cub to the keepers will allow her carers to conduct health checks, and to provide supplementary or foster care for the cub if required.

Jia Jia undergoing a conditioning session for urine collection Photo: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

However, veterinarians can only confirm in August or September if Jia Jia is expecting, as giant pandas' have delayed implantation during pregnancy.

Following the recent birth of Ueno Zoo's panda cub, let's hope that we'll hear some good news on our shores soon.

minlee@sph.com.sg

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