Panda born in Singapore arrives in Sichuan

The giant panda Le Le successfully arrived at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport from Singapore on Tuesday evening, becoming the first overseas-born giant panda to come to China this year.

Currently, Le Le is in good health and will enter a period of isolation and quarantine at the Huaying Mountain Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center in Guang’an, Sichuan province.

Le Le came into the world on Aug 14, 2021, was the first giant panda to be born in Singapore. According to an agreement reached between China and Singapore, Le Le was required to be sent to China this month.

Singapore Airlines stated that in order to ensure Le Le’s safe journey, a Boeing 747-400F cargo plane was used for the flight, with experts from both countries accompanying the panda.

During the flight, the cabin temperature was maintained at 12 to 16 C, and efforts were made to avoid turbulence, ensuring a slow takeoff and landing to prevent any discomfort for Le Le. In addition, the aircraft carried 50 kilograms of fresh bamboo, bamboo shoots, carrots, apples and other foods to meet Le Le’s dietary needs during the four-and-a-half hour trip.

Unlike other overseas-born giant pandas that were sent to China, Le Le won’t undergo quarantine at the bases in Ya’an or Wolong. The China Giant Panda Conservation and Research Center said that the center’s facilities are not sufficient for the recent influx of overseas-born giant pandas coming into the country, so Le Le will use the quarantine facilities at the Huaying Mountain base.

During the quarantine period, caretakers and veterinarians will stay at the Huaying Mountain base to care for and observe Le Le.

Le Le’s parents, Wu Jie (also known as Kai Kai) and Jia Jia, arrived in Singapore from Sichuan in 2012. Jia Jia gave birth to Le Le through artificial insemination in 2021.

The name “Le Le” was chosen through a public vote, with “Le” referring to an old Chinese name for Singapore. “Le” also has a similar pronunciation to the Chinese word for “happiness”.

Weighing only 200 grams at birth, Le Le now weighs 70 kg. Over the past two years, over 1.8 million people have visited the panda park in Singapore.

According to Singaporean media reports, the Singapore River Safari held a farewell event for Le Le on Dec 13, and thousands of people attended the event.

Le Le was then quarantined for over four weeks.

Qin Wen, cultural counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Singapore, said: “China and Singapore have announced mutual visa exemptions. In the future, there will be more Chinese tourists visiting Singapore to see Jia Jia and Kai Kai, and there will also be Singaporean friends visiting Le Le in Sichuan.”