Singapore's Giant Panda cub turns two

14 August 2023
In the blink of an eye, Le Le is two years old! Weighing in at 65kg today, one of Singapore’s most well-known animal residents is showing signs of independence such as eating, resting and playing on his own, away from mom Jia Jia.

Le Le spends time away from mom and does not require much of her attention anymore – a key indicator of his growing independence. 

Photo credit: Mandai Wildlife Group

This is all part of the natural process that mirrors what happens in the wild when panda cubs become independent from about 18 to 24 months of age. They start displaying signs of being comfortable alone, while the mother pandas also begin to exhibit behavioural changes that lead to the eventual rejection of their cubs. Giant Pandas are solitary animals, so this life stage progression is part of growing up for this species.

As it is critical to assist the cub and mom safely through the separation, the Animal Care team has been conditioning Le Le to enter a new private den that is segregated from mom’s. This will empower him to live apart from Jia Jia when the time comes. Le Le is growing comfortable in his own space, and his panda care team is working closely with the Chinese experts to prepare him for the next phase of his life. 

At his second birthday celebration today, Le Le relished the enrichment specially prepared by the panda care team. He was kept busy with a large bamboo cake as well as a buffet of special treats placed on banana leaves and ice blocks. Sugarcane, sweet potato, grape and peach were some of the goodies that made the occasion extra sweet – in moderation, of course. The birthday bear also unboxed his presents which were filled with yummy bamboo shoots. Aside from the treats, there was a confetti of straw, hay and wood shavings for him to play with.

As Le Le turns two years old, full separation from Jia Jia is expected to occur in the coming months and the process will be closely monitored by the panda care team.  Once separation happens, Jia Jia and Le Le will then timeshare their exhibit at the Giant Panda Forest – the public will be able to see Le Le from 10am to 2pm and Jia Jia from 2pm to 6pm.

Now into its 11th year as part of China’s global network in the conservation of Giant Pandas, Mandai Wildlife Group continues to help maintain a sustainable Giant Panda population in human care, as well as support China’s efforts in Giant Panda research and protection in the wild.

Le Le undergoes a dental check on 7 July 2023. Since he started his positive reinforcement training journey in July 2022, Le Le has gotten accustomed to routine health checks. He is rewarded with a treat when he completes the desired behaviour.

Photo credit: Mandai Wildlife Group

A look at the remarkable transformation of Singapore’s first Giant Panda cub. Le Le remains inquisitive with a penchant for food, particularly enjoying lounging on his back while munching on bamboo just like his dad Kai Kai.

Photo credit: Mandai Wildlife Group

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