Giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia celebrate birthdays, 'still very young' and fertile

Giant panda Jia Jia with her ice cake at River Safari.
Giant panda Jia Jia with her ice cake at River Safari.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Giant panda Kai Kai enjoys his ice cake at River Safari.
Giant panda Kai Kai enjoys his ice cake at River Safari.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia celebrated their birthdays - and their fourth year in Singapore - with special cakes on Wednesday (Sept 14).

Keepers at River Safari made the honey-flavoured ice cakes topped off with apple and carrot slices for the giant pandas.

The male panda, Kai Kai, turned nine on Wednesday, while the female, Jia Jia, turned eight earlier this month (Sept 3). They arrived in Singapore on Sept 6, 2012 on a 10-year loan from China.

Both pandas entered their second mating season in April, but both natural intercourse and artificial insemination have proved unsuccessful.

Nonetheless, Wildlife Reserves Singapore said in a statement that keepers remain optimistic about the chances of pregnancy since Jia Jia is "still very young".

River Safari will continue with the conservation breeding techniques that have had results in zoos elsewhere, it said.

Giant pandas were recently reclassified from an "endangered" species to a "vulnerable" species but still face the threat of extinction. They struggle to reproduce in the wild.