SINGAPORE: Mandai Wildlife Group has announced the separation of two-year-old giant panda Le Le from his mother, Jia Jia. The decision came after the group observed avoidant behaviour from the adult panda.

Le Le, born to giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia in Singapore, recently celebrated his second birthday in August. Last month, Jia Jia displayed signs of rejecting Le Le, such as actively driving away the cub. In a statement released this week, the group explained that Jia Jia’s avoidance towards Le Le necessitated staggered appearance times for the mother-son duo at the River Wonders.

Le Le is scheduled to be displayed from 10am-2pm, while Jia Jia will appear from 2 to 6pm.

Mandai Wildlife Group clarified that this developmental stage is part of the natural growth process for giant pandas, as they are solitary animals.

Singaporeans have approximately a month left to visit Le Le at the River Wonders before he is returned to China. According to the agreement between Singapore and China, locally-born giant pandas must be returned when they turn two to participate in the giant panda breeding program.

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Le Le’s return date has been postponed to Jan 16, and a farewell party is planned for mid-December.

Le Le’s final public appearance at the River Wonders will be on December 13, marking the beginning of his quarantine until departure in January.

Mandai Wildlife Group revealed that Le Le has been vaccinated twice and will undergo a comprehensive health examination during quarantine.

In preparation for his return to China, the wildlife group is constructing a customized box for Le Le. The cub will undergo adaptive training involving positive reinforcement with food rewards to voluntarily enter and acclimate to the box. This ongoing training aims to make the transfer to China as stress-free as possible on the day of the flight.

Mandai Wildlife Group is collaborating closely with Singapore Airlines (SIA) on logistics to ensure Le Le’s comfortable journey to his new home in China. As the farewell preparations unfold, Singaporeans are encouraged to seize the opportunity to bid farewell to Le Le during his remaining days at the River Wonders.