SINGAPORE - Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) and CapitaLand Limited (CapitaLand) threw a big panda party for Kai Kai and Jia Jia today, with a specially-made cake and toy for the birthday duo.
The birthday bash marks the start of week-long festivities at River Safari from Sept 7 to 15 to commemorate the pandas' one-year anniversary in Singapore. It also celebrates Jia Jia turning five on Sept 3 and Kai Kai turning 6 on Sept 14.
Male panda Kai Kai received a three-tiered birthday cake made of ice, bamboo and his favourite treats, while Jia Jia received a chime toy made of bamboo stems.
The birthday presents were specially created and presented by 10 Panda Party Planners - lucky members of the public, including five readers of the CapitaLand Inside Different Geographies e-publication, who went behind-the-scenes with panda keepers to prepare these treats for the pandas to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: "The past year has been an exciting one as we discover more about the personalities of our pandas. Kai Kai and Jia Jia are ambassadors for their own kind, and we hope that visitors who meet them will learn more about these endangered bears and be inspired to protect these magnificent creatures."
Almost 600,000 panda lovers have visited Kai Kai and Jia Jia since the Giant Panda Forest opened to the public last year. Kai Kai, who is usually laid-back, has recently been spotted climbing up a tree at 5pm every day to look out for his keepers, and preparing to retreat to his den for evening treats.
He is curious when keepers implement enrichment activities such as introducing new scents, or wrapping treats with leaves for him to find.
Jia Jia, on the other hand, is the shyer of the two. A closed-circuit television was installed in February so that visitors can see Jia Jia during moments when she chooses to stay in her den.
In recent months, Jia Jia started showing her playful side and can be seen tumbling down slopes and knocking down nearly 10 trees, which horticulturists have had to replant. See Jia Jia's playful side in the video.
Mr S R Nathan, Chairman, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, CapitaLand's philanthropic arm, said: "We are pleased to see that Kai Kai and Jia Jia have settled in well in their Singapore home since they arrived a year ago.
"In the past year, Kai Kai and Jia Jia have brought Singapore much joy with their adorable antics and heightened public awareness towards wildlife conservation. As we commemorate Kai Kai and Jia Jia's first year in Singapore and celebrate their birthdays today, we hope to continue our emphasis on educating younger Singaporeans on caring for the eco-system."
Inside the Giant Panda Forest, a few home improvements have been added to ensure the pandas' comfort. Among the new features are:
-Additional branches for Kai Kai and Jia Jia to climb
-Wooden platforms raised above ground level for the pandas to sit and rest on
-Caves in Jia Jia's exhibit for the shy bear to hide in
Visitors can enjoy the celebratory activities at River Safari during the panda party week from Sept 7 to 15. These include free guided tours at the Giant Panda Forest as well as panda awareness booths where you can feel the teeth of a giant panda or get a whiff of panda poop. Face painters and a panda-themed photo booth will also be available.