View giant pandas' Singapore debut live online

SINGAPORE - Fans of the giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia will be able to witness their touchdown in Singapore via a 'live' feed at http://pandas.riversafari.com.sg on Thursday, September 6.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) today announced that fans can follow the endangered bears' journey from Changi Airport to their quarantine enclosure at the Yangtze River zone of the upcoming River Safari.

The giant pandas from Ya'an Bifengxia Panda Base will be flown to Singapore on board a Singapore Airlines Cargo Boeing 747 freighter and are expected to touch down at Changi Airport at 8.20am on Thursday.

Also, in celebration of the giant pandas' arrival, SingPost will issue specially-designed commemorative stamps illustrated by popular local international artiste, Edmund Chen.

They will feature the panda pair in various playful and relaxed poses. The stamps will go on sale from September 6 at all post offices and the Singapore Philatelic Museum.

Orders can also be made at SingPost's online shopping portal, vPOST, http://shop.vpost.com.sg.

Pandas in Singapore

After completing a month-long quarantine, the pandas will be released into their exhibit in the River Safari to explore and familiarise themselves with their new surroundings before going on public display. Visitors can visit the pandas when the exhibit opens in December this year.

The 1,500sqm giant panda complex, which is the largest in Southeast Asia, is set to simulate the bears' natural habitat, with live plants, boulders and water features.

Waterfalls with shallow pools, climbing structures and other enrichment features are designed to allow the pandas to rest, explore, climb and even swim. Outdoor yards have been created so that the pandas can have access to fresh air and have the option to experience Singapore's tropical climate.

WRS said that the temperature in the climate-controlled exhibit will be between 18-22 degrees Celsius year round while humidity will also be set at 50-60 per cent.

"The habitat's specifications exceed those set by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA)," said a spokesperson from WRS.

Kai Kai and Jia Jia will be in Singapore for 10 years to raise public awareness on wildlife conservation and develop a breeding programme for these endangered animals, of which there are fewer than 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild.

Singapore will be the ninth country to receive giant pandas from China since 1994.

dassa@sph.com.sg

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