Singapore's Giant Panda Cub Le Le Celebrates A One-derful Birthday
STORY: Sim Ding En
12 August 2022
For the unabashedly greedy among us, we would concur that the panda is our spirit animal. After all, according to the World Wildlife Fund, Giant Pandas spend 10 to 16 hours a day feeding, mainly on bamboo. Now, that’s a true definition of a foodie.
And after spending three to fours eating, pandas take two- to three-hour naps.
Another fun fact: S*** happens – a lot – to pandas. No, we don’t mean that in a tragic way. What we mean is, they are very, very regular creatures. On average, they take a dump, ahem, 40 times a day.
What an existence – whole life eat, sleep and poo!
And that’s something our little friend Le Le, the first Giant Panda cub to be born in Singapore, can look forward to for a long time coming. He’s grown from a pink and hairless 200g nugget into a healthy, handsome 33kg fella with that distinct black-and-white coat characteristic of his species.
We celebrate Le Le's special day with a look back at milestones in the first year of his life at River Wonders.
14 Aug 2021: Giant Panda Jia Jia gives birth on 7.50am. 🥲 The offspring of Jia Jia and Kai Kai via artifical insemination weighs a mere 200g – that’s the weight of a box of 16 Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
10 Sep 2021: It’s a boy! At a party to celebrate Kai Kai’s 14th birthday (on 14 Sep), the Giant Panda revealed the gender of his cub by climbing a tree and releasing blue confetti from a box. Aww!
15 Sep 2021: The one-month-old cub gets his first weigh-in, and is a healthy 1.504kg.
22 Sep 2021: In the words of local band Electrico’s National Day Parade 2009 theme song, “What Do You See?” The panda cub opens his eyes for the first time.
21 Nov 2021: Le Le is 100 days old, and is now 6.36kg, more than six times his weight at birth. He measures 67cm in length, has a mouthful of baby teeth and is able to crawl-walk.
29 Dec 2021: Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat, and Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China Han Zheng jointly reveal that the Giant Panda cub’s name is – drum roll – Le Le (叻叻).
In a public call for name suggestions, over 8,000 submissions were received, and five were shortlisted: Hong Hong (宏宏), Xin Le (新乐), Xin Yang (新阳), Xin Yuan (新缘), and of course, Le Le.
The winning name – which amassed more than 31,000 of the over 64,000 votes sent in by the public – comes from “Shi Le Po” (石叻坡), referring to Singapore. It was a term used in our country’s beginnings as a trading port and is a transliteration of the Malay word “selat” (meaning “straits”).
Also, Le Le now weighs 9.62kg.
27 Jan 2022: To hone Le Le’s motor and climbing skills, logs have been placed strategically in his den by his care team. They also provide him enrichment toys and let him explore different shapes and textures. Wait. Are we talking about a panda or a real baby here? LOL same-same lah. Both so cute.
10 Mar 2022: Come in, come in, dun shy. Le Le braves new territory and enters River Wonders’ Giant Panda Forest, which has been “baby-proofed” – the areas with water have been drained and replaced with leaves and pine bark chips.
12 Aug 2022: "Am I 1 already? Wah, tired sia." Happy Birthday, Le Le! The Giant Panda cub spends the day as anyone celebrating their birthday should – by eating (and taking his first bites of solid food), chilling and lying down. His “birthday cake” is chock-full of bamboo, carrots, slices of apple and edible flowers.