Singapore’s giant panda Jia Jia, who gave birth to a cub on August 14, has shown great maternal instincts in her first week despite being a first-time mother. Her mothering skills are improving from day to day. Despite looking visibly tired, her carers report that she is more relaxed and has been able to rest better, while continuing to be very attentive to her cub.
Lead panda caregiver Trisha Tay Ting Ni shares her thoughts on Jia Jia becoming a mum and reflects on motherhood. She recounts her emotions at witnessing the birth and talks about how the team is supporting Jia Jia through her first week as a first-time mum. Trisha, Animal Care Officer, joined Wildlife Reserves Singapore in 2011. She has cared for Kai Kai and Jia since they arrived in 2012 and has seen them through all seven breeding seasons.
Jia-Jia 12 gave birth to her cub on August 14, the first born in Singapore and a rare event for an endangered species.
Pandas Kai Kai, 13, and Jia Jia, 12, entered their seventh breeding season in April this year with the aid of artificial insemination, after arriving in Singapore in 2012 on a decade-long loan from China. Weighing about 200 grammes, the cub was born a week ago on Saturday but the gender has yet to be determined.
WRS said female giant pandas can display hormonal and behavioural signs of pregnancy even when not pregnant, but the organisation detected signs last month that a cub was on the way and the pregnancy was confirmed on Aug. 10. The newborn will appear in public in about three months.
River Safari is home to one of the world’s largest collections of freshwater vertebrates, with over 11,000 animal specimens representing close to 260 species as well as 400 plant species. Through themed exhibits that mirror iconic riverine systems of the world, River Safari aims to inspire the million visitors that come in annually, to appreciate and protect fragile freshwater ecosystems.
Visitors can also learn about iconic river giants like the highly threatened Mekong giant catfish and giant freshwater stingray, giant arapaimas, green anaconda and Antillean manatees.
The park is also home to giant pandas as part of a joint collaboration between China Wildlife Conservation Association and Wildlife Reserves Singapore to promote giant panda conservation. The giant pandas are housed in a specially constructed climate-controlled exhibit along the Yangtze River zone. CapitaLand is the Presenting Sponsor and Conservation Donor of the Giant Panda Collaborative Programme and Singapore Airlines is the Official Airline Sponsor.
River Safari is located at 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore 729826. More information can be found at www.riversafari.com.sg.
(Photos: Wildlife Reserves Singapore)