Giant Panda cub ‘Le Le’ showcases new repertoire of skills on his first birthday - Alvinology

Giant Panda cub ‘Le Le’ showcases new repertoire of skills on his first birthday

Le Le turns one on 14 August and is stepping into his first year with a taste for solid food and new positive reinforcement skills learned at panda-garten.

Over the past year, Singapore’s littlest panda has made a remarkable transformation from a 200-gram mostly hairless and helpless infant into an over 33kg furry and feisty bundle of energy, and continues to make steady progress in his growth and development.

While still mainly reliant on mom’s milk, he was offered pellets and carrots on 10 June 2022, and has begun to nibble on these, in addition to bamboo leaves and shoots, in small quantities. Panda cubs start to wean at around 12 months old but may still continue to nurse for up to 18 months.

Giant Panda cub ‘Le Le’ showcases new repertoire of skills on his first birthday - Alvinology
Mini me? Giant Panda cub Le Le strikes a pose reminiscent of his dad Kai Kai. The latter is often seen lounging on his back with a smattering of bamboo on his belly. Photo credit: Mandai Wildlife Group

As Le Le embarked into the world of solid food with gusto, his care team also took the opportunity to begin his positive reinforcement training (PRT) journey on 7 July 2022. These sessions are in preparation for routine medical procedures in the near future to facilitate overall animal care and health monitoring.

Giant Panda cub ‘Le Le’ showcases new repertoire of skills on his first birthday - Alvinology
Trisha Tay, Lead Panda Caregiver and Assistant Curator, conducts a session of positive reinforcement training (PRT) with Le Le by encouraging him to respond to a target. Image credit to Mandai Wildlife Group

PRT makes use of rewards to encourage an animal to repeat a desired behaviour. In Le Le’s case, his carers are starting off by getting him to respond to a target. When he completes the behaviour correctly, he is given a treat in the form of a piece of carrot or pellet.

Like any young child, Le Le still gets easily distracted so training lasts no more than a few minutes at a time, for now. These PRT sessions will be gradually lengthened and will make upcoming health checks and procedures easier and less stressful for Le Le and his team of carers. 

Le Le may be slowly increasing his skills set but most of his carefree days continue to be spent bonding with Jia Jia over bamboo bites, investigating enrichment toys prepared by his care team, and falling asleep in various poses on his favourite treetop perch.

Giant Panda cub ‘Le Le’ showcases new repertoire of skills on his first birthday - Alvinology
When not learning new skills during his positive reinforcement training sessions, Giant Panda cub Le Le can often be seen snoozing in various poses on his favourite treetop perch at River Wonders’ Giant Panda Forest. Photo credit: Mandai Wildlife Group

His birthday festivities started early at River Wonders when his care team presented him and supermom Jia Jia with a lovingly designed three-tier ice cake embedded with carrots, bamboo and edible flowers, and topped with apple slices this morning.

Panda-stic Party Bundle

Giant Panda cub ‘Le Le’ showcases new repertoire of skills on his first birthday - Alvinology

Ongoing until 11 September 2022, celebrate all things panda at River Wonders with panda-themed activities in an all-new day to night experience. The Panda-stic Party bundle, which includes admission to the day and night event, starts from $36 and can be purchased online. Night offerings run from Fridays to Sundays, eve of Public Holidays and on Public Holidays within the event period.

As some of our animal residents need their rest after dark, do note that the Giant Panda Forest and Squirrel Monkey Forest will only be open during the day. Amazon River Quest will also not be operational at night.

Visit here for details.

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