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Hey, animal lovers, guess what? 

If you were under the impression that our adorable panda cub Le Le, will return to China in December, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. 

Le Le’s journey back home has been rescheduled from December to January, granting us more time to enjoy his cute antics and see him again.

While we’ll miss him when he leaves, let’s make the most of this bonus panda time.

Le Le Will Return to China in Jan 2024 Instead

Le Le, the delightful panda cub born to Kai Kai and Jia Jia, has had his farewell extended to 13 December 2023, instead of the originally planned 20 November 2023. 

Visitors can visit him at the Pavilion Capital Giant Panda Forest exhibit in River Wonders until 13 December 2023, before he begins his quarantine period the following day. 

Image: Mandai Wildlife Group

This quarantine, starting from 14 December 2023, is a necessary step he will have to undergo before his journey to China. 

Le Le will be flying with Singapore Airlines when he is set to leave for China on 16 January 2024.

Yes, you heard that right. Even a panda can live more lavishly than the average person here, flying home with Singapore Airlines, one of the world’s best airlines.

Preparations for Smooth Transition Back to China

After Le Le’s return to China, he will become an integral part of the nation’s conservation programme, dedicated to safeguarding his species. 

His dedicated care team is preparing him for a seamless journey.

In the natural course of giant panda behaviour, Jia Jia, Le Le’s mother, has begun showing signs of distancing herself from her cub, a normal progression in their development. 

She has begun exhibiting avoidance behaviours, such as moving away when Le Le approaches, and recently, has shown initial signs of rejection, such as chasing him away.

This is a natural and expected step as Jia Jia prepares to separate from two-year-old Le Le.

The panda care team has been working on a smooth transition plan to facilitate this natural separation. 

They have arranged a timeshare system for their exhibit in anticipation of Le Le’s departure. This system allows visitors to see Le Le from 10am to 2pm, followed by Jia Jia from 2pm to 6pm, ensuring both pandas continue to receive the attention and care they need while also allowing the public to bid their farewells to Le Le and support Jia Jia during this transitional phase.

Until now, Le Le has been administered two vaccinations and will undergo comprehensive health checks during his quarantine period. 

To ensure his safe and comfortable transportation to China, a custom-built crate is being constructed.

Once the crate is ready, the animal care team will acclimate Le Le to his new travel home. 

This acclimatisation will involve Positive Reinforcement Training, where food rewards are used to encourage Le Le to voluntarily enter and become comfortable inside the crate. This methodical and consistent training is crucial for facilitating a smooth and low-stress transfer for Le Le on his departure day.

Furthermore, Mandai Wildlife Group is collaborating closely with Singapore Airlines to orchestrate the logistics of Le Le’s journey, ensuring that his flight to his new home is as comfortable as possible.

A Chance to Bid Farewell to Le Le

In the final month leading up to Le Le’s return to China, Mandai Wildlife Group is extending their Bon Voyage, Le Le! campaign until 13 December 2023. This farewell event includes a special promotion with up to 20% off admission tickets to River Wonders.

From now until 13 December, River Wonders will host a series of engaging activities for visitors to celebrate Le Le’s time in Singapore. 

These include Growing Up with Le Le, Playtime with Le Le, and Commemorating Le Le’s Journey, where visitors can explore a visual timeline of Le Le’s most memorable moments and milestones.

For the die-hard Le Le fans, there’s an extra special treat. 

On select dates in November and December (11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 25, 26 November; 2, 3, 9, 10, and 13 December), a dedicated panda mailbox will be available for fans to drop off their fan mail, including letters, drawings, or photos of Le Le.

To stay updated on all the events and activities of the Bon Voyage, Le Le! campaign, visitors can check out the Mandai Wildlife Reserve website

As we bid farewell to Le Le, let’s reflect on the special agreement between Singapore and China that made the arrival of his parents, Kai Kai and Jia Jia, possible. 

This pair of giant pandas graced Singapore’s shores in 2012, thanks to a ten-year loan under the “Agreement on Cooperation in Panda Conservation and Research,” a prime example of what is often affectionately termed “panda diplomacy.”

This unique form of diplomacy involves China loaning giant pandas to other countries to express friendship and goodwill. 

Image: Mandai Wildlife Group

An integral part of these agreements is that any cubs born overseas, like Le Le, are to be returned to China upon reaching two years of age. Le Le celebrated this milestone on 14 August 2023, signalling the time for him to embark on his journey back to China.

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