PICTURES

Male panda Kai Kai found to be "healthy, fertile" after routine checkup

Giant panda Kai Kai feeding at the Giant Panda Forest, the largest panda exhibit in Southeast Asia at the River Safari. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Giant panda Kai Kai feeding at the Giant Panda Forest, the largest panda exhibit in Southeast Asia at the River Safari. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Giant panda Kai Kai feeding at the Giant Panda Forest, the largest panda exhibit in Southeast Asia at the River Safari. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Giant panda Kai Kai feeding at the Giant Panda Forest, the largest panda exhibit in Southeast Asia at the River Safari. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Giant panda Kai Kai feeding at the Giant Panda Forest, the largest panda exhibit in Southeast Asia at the River Safari. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Giant panda Kai Kai feeding at the Giant Panda Forest, the largest panda exhibit in Southeast Asia at the River Safari. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s veterinary team performs an ultrasound scan on an anaesthetised Kai Kai as part of a routine medical examination. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s veterinary team performs an ultrasound scan on an anaesthetised Kai Kai as part of a routine medical examination. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s veterinary team, led by Assistant Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Serena Oh (right), prepares an anaesthetised Kai Kai for a routine medical examination that includes a full dental and body check. -- PHOTO: WILDLI
Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s veterinary team, led by Assistant Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Serena Oh (right), prepares an anaesthetised Kai Kai for a routine medical examination that includes a full dental and body check. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s veterinary team prepares an anaesthetised Kai Kai for an X-ray as part of a routine medical examination. Male panda, Kai Kai, has been found to be healthy and fertile after undergoing its routine annual check-up.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s veterinary team prepares an anaesthetised Kai Kai for an X-ray as part of a routine medical examination. Male panda, Kai Kai, has been found to be healthy and fertile after undergoing its routine annual check-up. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Male panda, Kai Kai, has been found to be healthy and fertile after undergoing its routine annual check-up.

For the first time since the six-year-old giant panda arrived in Singapore, it went through electroejaculation - a technique that uses low-voltage pulses to collect semen from animals - as part of its annual health check. While more analysis is being conducted to assess its sperm quality, preliminary results show that Kai Kai is a "healthy, fertile male," said Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) in a statement on Thursday.

The medical examination was held on March 28 and involved a full dental and body check, blood sample withdrawal, an X-ray and ultrasound scan.

WRS said vets and keepers are closely monitoring Kai Kai and female panda, Jia Jia, five, for "significant changes in behaviour that indicate their readiness to mate".

Efforts are under way to encourage the two pandas to reproduce. Giant pandas usually start to breed around five and a half to seven years old.

When ready, male pandas will vocalise and perform handstands against trees, walls and rocks to mark their scent as high up as possible; female pandas will in turn do things such as make bleating sounds, show restlessness and also mark their scent.

Kai Kai and Jia Jia arrived in Singapore in September 2012, on a 10-year loan from China.

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