Le Le, first panda cub born in S'pore, celebrates first birthday

Le Le celebrated his first birthday with a three-tier ice cake stuffed with carrots, bamboos, edible flowers and apple slices. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
Le Le celebrated his first birthday with new milestones including his first bites of solid food. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
Le Le celebrated his first birthday with mum Jia Jia at the Giant Panda Forest at River Wonders. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Le Le, the first giant panda cub born in Singapore, celebrated his first birthday on Friday (Aug 12) with a three-tier ice cake stuffed with carrots, bamboo, edible flowers and apple slices.

To clicks of cameras from media photographers and some visitors, the cub was let into the Giant Panda Forest enclosure in River Wonders at 10am. He wandered around the enclosure briefly before making his way to the ice cake, which he climbed and fell off from a couple of times.

Le Le also tore down a decorated drawing of his mother Jia Jia, which was placed to emulate a zhuazhou - a Chinese ritual held when a child turns one to pick up objects related to career or personality trait.

His mother, 14-year-old Jia Jia, joined the party shortly after, encircling the ice cake before settling down to munch on her bamboo.

Weighing about 200g at birth, Le Le tips the scale at more than 33kg now. 

Project manager Neeti Warrier, who visited the Giant Panda Forest yesterday morning with her husband and two sons, did not expect the cub to grow so fast.

The 37-year-old said: “I didn’t expect Le Le to be this big since it’s my first time seeing him today.”

Clad in a customised t-shirt of Le Le specially made for the occasion, operations director Tie Boon Ping, 55, said that the cub is not only “very adorable” but also “a symbol of our bilateral ties and friendship with China”

He visits the pandas at least twice a month but specially took leave on Friday for the celebration. 

Le Le marks one year of age with several milestones. While he is still mainly reliant on his mother's milk, he has started to eat solid food such as pellets and carrots since June.

Zookeepers have also started training him to allow them to perform routine medical procedures on him, using pellets as treats.

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The birthday celebrations will continue on Sunday. Fans of Le Le can catch him celebrating his birthday - with another cake - at 10am at the Giant Panda Forest.

Le Le was born to giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia at about 7.50am on Aug 14 last year - their firstborn since they arrived in Singapore in 2012 on loan from China. It took them seven attempts to conceive the cub.

Le Le was born at about 7.50am to giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia on Aug 14 last year. PHOTO: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP

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