Almost 100 days old: Baby panda expected to join public exhibit early next year

Singapore's first giant panda cub confidently showing off his newfound crawl-walking skills on day 96 (Nov 17) after his birth. PHOTO: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP
Singapore's first giant panda cub relaxing in a corner on day 89 (Nov 10). PHOTO: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP
A big stretch for a little bear. PHOTO: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP
The cub confidently showing off his crawl-walking skills. PHOTO: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP
Jia Jia enjoying her daily ration of bamboo while her cub relaxes. PHOTO: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP

SINGAPORE - The Republic's first giant panda cub may welcome his fans soon as the tiny tot takes his first steps at River Wonders and will cross his 100-day milestone on Nov 21.

Guests can look forward to catching sneak peeks of the cub at the Giant Panda Forest exhibit over the coming weeks before he joins his mother in her public exhibit early next year.

River Wonders was formerly known as the River Safari.

Weighing a little over 6kg - 30 times his body weight when he was born - and measuring 67cm, the cub has been showing off his crawl-walking skills to his handlers.

In a statement on Friday (Nov 19), Mandai Wildlife Group (MWG) said the cub's mother Jia Jia "has made great strides in providing exemplary care and protection for her newborn" during the first few months of his life.

The panda cub's name will be jointly revealed by Singapore and China next month.

MWG thanked the public for helping with naming the new cub, after it received more than 64,000 votes for suggestions.

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MWG chief executive Mike Barclay said: "Together with our panda care team, we are overjoyed to be approaching the 100th day since Jia Jia gave birth to our little miracle cub at River Wonders. We are honoured to have him under our care and to contribute to his development over the first few months of his life.

"As he becomes more comfortable and independent, we expect him to join Jia Jia in her public exhibit from early next year."

Jia Jia and her cub enjoying a moment of tenderness on day 82 (Nov 3) of the little one's birth. PHOTO: MANDAI WILDLIFE GROUP

Members of the public had submitted names for the cub. These were reviewed by a judging panel made up of academics and representatives from the Chinese Embassy in Singapore, relevant government agencies and MWG.

"Looking ahead, the panda care team is preparing the cub for more health checks and his eventual public debut... conditioning him to be away from Jia Jia for longer periods of time and introducing him to new environments to help him adapt to different surroundings.

"(It) will judge when it is the right time to allow him to explore the public exhibit, where he will be exposed to new elements such as plants, rocks, slopes and visitors to River Wonders," MWG added.

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