SINGAPORE - Le Le, the first panda cub born in Singapore, joined his mother Jia Jia inside her exhibit at the Giant Panda Forest at River Wonders on Thursday morning (March 10).
Le Le was born to Kai Kai and Jia Jia at the River Safari on Aug 14 last year, after the giant pandas' seventh breeding season. They began mating in 2015.
The male cub's name is derived from the old Chinese term "shi le po", which refers to Singapore, and was announced on Dec 29 last year.
Le Le, who is almost seven months old, weighs about 16kg.
On Thursday, an information board with Le Le's details was unveiled at the Giant Panda Forest. Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat and Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Mr Hong Xiaoyong, were present at the event.
Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, deputy chairman of Mandai Park Holdings, Mr Mike Barclay, group chief executive of Mandai Wildlife Group and Mr Suppiah Dhanabalan, chairman of Mandai Park Holdings, were also present at the event.
Mr Barclay said that Le Le had come a long way in his development since last August and expressed his appreciation for the support provided by their partners and the public.
"Our care for the giant panda species is just one example of how we work with like-minded conservation partners and the wider community of accredited zoos to care for and breed threatened species. This helps to ensure the genetic viability of these species in the long term," added Mr Barclay.
Loyal members of the Friends of River Wonders were given an exclusive session to visit Le Le and Jia Jia in their exhibit.
Le Le made his public debut on Dec 30 last year in a glass-fronted nursery at the Giant Panda Forest.
A spokesman for Mandai Wildlife Group told The Straits Times that Le Le has since graduated from this nursery and his play space now consists of the main exhibit and his play den at the off-exhibit area where he has ample space to play with various enrichment toys and be exposed to new surroundings.
Due to safe management measures, an average of 100 visitors can visit the Giant Panda Forest at any one time, and staff are stationed at various points within the premises to ensure that guests have enough time to see Le Le while keeping the queue moving.
Housewife Vandana Garg, who visited the Giant Panda Forest on Thursday morning, said that she felt happy and excited.
The 57-year-old said: "The environment is very good and the pandas are very, very cute."
Occupational therapist Cindy Koe, 33, who visited the Giant Panda Forest with her family for the first time on Thursday, said that they queued for about 15 minutes to enter the exhibit.
She added: “I think Le Le is special in a way, like a symbol for Singapore, because this is the first time that we have had a panda born in captivity. I think it is a good thing for us. There is also a feel-good factor about it, especially with the current Covid-19 situation, when everyone is feeling down and all. It gives us some hope.”