Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Giant Panda Forest - Saying Hi to Kai Kai & Jia Jia @ River Safari [Singapore]

A visit to River Safari is never complete without saying "ni hao" to Kai Kai & Jia Jia, the giant pandas from China that are currently on a ten-year loan to Singapore! 

It would not be my first time seeing a giant panda though; i had the fortune of catching them in action in my recent trip to Taiwan and a few years ago in Beijing

There was a preview session costing S$5 a person when they first arrived, mainly because River Safari was still in the midst of completion. Back then, i really don't see the point of paying that kind of money just to see two pandas! In Beijing, i could see a dozen for only one Singapore dollar! 

Anyway, here's a photograph of dad with the two chubby pandas. Guess this is the nearest we can go unless there are plans to tour Sichuan (a province in China) where you can have a photo opportunity right next to a live giant panda.

Two other animals are housed within this large S$8.6 million enclosure since this area is also promoted as the Yangtze River zone; one of which is the Golden Pheasant.

Like their peacock cousins, the males are the ones with a brightly coloured plumage. The very first time i heard of this bird, it was through a drama known as Journey to the West; the golden pheasant in the show was a demon that has been training for thousands of years to attain human-form! 

The other animal shares one half the name of a Giant Panda yet not really closely related to it; the cat like red panda which has a closer scientific relationship with raccoon. 

Looked very huggable right?! Not when the nails appeared to be super sharp! 

Despite having a carnivorous gut, the giant panda's diet is almost exclusively bamboo. In captivity, they would however be supplemented by food other than just bamboo. There is also the occasional steamed snack known as Wua Tou. 

Entering the realm of Kai Kai! 

View from another angle. Kai Kai was born in 14 September 2007 at Woolong Giant Panda Research Centre and was transferred to another research facility in Ya'an after the devastating 2008 earthquake, 

Lazy ass was sleeping!!!

Okay, he woke up! Not sure if you noticed but his nose seemed discoloured. From the many displays of the pandas for River Safari, the nose was totally black!

Didn't realise he had such long eye lashes! 

I went back to his enclosure after my lunch and this time, he was seated in a position that was so Po in the animation movie; Kungfu Panda! 

Another photo.

He was panting in this picture. I am not a vet or an animal behaviorist but in dogs, this is often said to be an expression of nervousness or stressful. I would be if i am caged up for life. 

As i was exiting, there came a flurry of excitement; inactive Kai Kai has climbed up a tree! 

A classic "Po" posture! 

Hm..... in the movie, i don't remember seeing something sticking out in between the legs. It could be a tail for all that matters! 

Well, i might be wrong judging from Kai Kai's happy expression. Maybe it would not be long before we hear of a new birth in the Giant Panda Forest. 

Before stepping into the world of Jia Jia, the female giant panda, you have to walk through the information filled section. We had a group of young kids with us who were participating in a Giant Panda activity. 

It's amazing how something so small at birth can grow into something that humongous when fully grown! Anyway, don't you think a newborn panda looks like a baby rat? 

Dad again! When i was young, he would be the one asking me to pose for his camera. Roles reversal now since i am the one requesting him to do it for my DSLR! 

About to enter! 

Do note the "don'ts"! No flash photography is a well-known rule but you are supposed to keep quiet too given how shy and timid the giant pandas are. 

Where is Jia Jia?!?!? 

Searching for jia jia can wait; a customary photo of dad shall take precedence. 

I noticed an access point to the great outdoors (meaning hot and humid) and wondered if the pandas have ever attempted to go out of their fully air-conditioned enclosure. 

Wide walkway to accommodate the visitors; during the S$5 a person time, viewing was limited to only 15-minute block with a maximum of 150 persons! 

Awwwwwww, there's our beauty! 

Date of birth - 03 September 2008 at Ya'an base of China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda; the same one that Kai Kai went to after the earthquake! 

Shy in nature, some of my friends who have been to River Safari told me they didn't manage to see Jia Jia except for a CCTV screen showing her in a separate private room behind the open enclosure. 

Guess we were fortunate then although she was just walking around in circles. Quite sad actually; that's the dilemma of animal lovers. We would like to see animals walking free yet we could not resist having a closer look at them in a safer environment. 

The photogenic Jia Jia.

How come the butt so dirty!?!?! 

Three types of reptiles were also on display even though most visitors' eyes would be drawn to the television screen right on top.

'Private den' of Jia Jia! Frankly, it looked more like a jailhouse to me! Might help to have some 'toys' for her; for example, a yoga ball!

As expected, the last section of the Giant Panda Forest would be a retail shop selling everything and anything related to the cute cuddly black and white giants! 

A video of Jia Jia to end this post! 

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Location
Giant Panda Forest within River Safari.
[Admission ticket to River Safari applies]


To read my condensed post on River Safari

please click here!

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