SINGAPORE - Visitors to River Wonders will be able to see giant pandas Jia Jia and Kai Kai for five more years until 2027.
On Friday, the Mandai Wildlife Group, which operates River Wonders, signed a deal with the Chinese authorities to extend the 10-year loan of the pandas.
Kai Kai and Jia Jia, who will turn 15 and 14 this month, arrived in Singapore from China in 2012.
The pair gave birth to a cub, Le Le, on Aug 14 last year, after many attempts to conceive.
Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, Chinese Ambassador to Singapore Sun Haiyan, vice-administrator of China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration Li Chunliang, and other officials attended a ceremony on Friday at the Giant Panda Forest in River Wonders to extend Kai Kai and Jia Jia's loan deal with the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA).
In her address, Ms Low said: “Singapore-China relations continue to grow from strength to strength, and we are constantly exploring new possibilities for cooperation.
“This extension agreement will enable Mandai Wildlife Group and CWCA to deepen their meaningful work on giant panda conservation, and is testament to the longstanding friendship between Singapore and China.”
Mandai Wildlife Group chief executive Mike Barclay, who was also at the event, said that the group is delighted to deepen its partnership with CWCA and continue to contribute to giant panda conservation efforts.
He said: “We have journeyed with Kai Kai and Jia Jia for a decade, from when they first arrived to making their debut in the Giant Panda Forest exhibit to ensuring they are in good condition for each annual breeding season. We look forward to playing a part in their further growth and milestones.”
On Friday, the pandas celebrated their birthdays in advance.
Jia Jia, whose birthday is on Sept 3, and Kai Kai, who was born on Sept 14, were given a cake each.
Le Le, which turned one last month, shares the same enclosure as his mother, Jia Jia, and appeared to be in high spirits as the crowd watched him play with a banner and take tumbles. Kai Kai played with his birthday decorations in his own enclosure next to theirs.
Under the loan agreement with CWCA, Le Le will return to China when he turns two.
Singapore has been working with China since 1994 on the research and conservation of giant pandas. The Republic is currently one of 10 countries that have giant pandas on loan from China.