Can We Expect To See A Baby Panda At The River Safari Soon?

Watch Kai Kai and Jia Jia pine for each other during mating season

By Nicole-Marie Ng

Image 4 - Kai Kai and Jia Jia play fighting_WRS

Kai Kai and Jia Jia play fighting, one of the signs that the pandas are ready to mate.  Image by: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

 River Safari’s Giant Pandas have been displaying courtship behaviour for weeks and on Apr 13, experts finally decided that the pandas were ready to mate.

The two pandas were brought together in their dens for natural mating but the session was not successful. Their keepers attribute this to their young age as the pandas are still inexperienced in the mating process.

To help Jia Jia conceive, the team at River Safari proceeded to carry out artificial insemination. The process was done in collaboration with Prof Ng Soon Chye, an obstetrics and gynaecology specialist internationally renowned for his expertise in human reproductive medicine.

Image 3 - Lovelorn pandas_WRS

The lovelorn pandas gaze at each other through their cages. Image by: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

The keepers and vets are hopeful that we might be able to see a baby panda at the River Safari soon but we might have to wait till Sep before the pregnancy is confirmed.

This is because giant pandas have delayed implantation during pregnancy and  vets cannot confirm the pregnancy until the later part of the panda’s gestation period. From now till about September, vets and keepers will have to wait to conclude if Jia Jia is pregnant through ultrasound scans.

The team at the River Safari is  is part of a global breeding and research programme for the endangered giant panda. The past few days have involved very intensive observation and monitoring of the pair. The team is now focusing on the aftercare of the female panda which they say is very timid by nature.