The good news: Kai Kai's fertile
MALE giant panda Kai Kai has been declared fertile, as efforts get under way to have him mate with his female companion, Jia Jia.
According to The Straits Times, the six-year-old giant panda has also been given a clean bill of health after a routine annual medical check-up.
For the first time since his arrival in Singapore, he went through electroejaculation - a technique that uses low-voltage pulses to collect semen from animals.
While more analysis is being conducted to assess his sperm quality, preliminary results show that Kai Kai is a "healthy, fertile male", said Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) in a statement yesterday.
The medical examination was held on March 28 and involved a full dental and body check, blood sample withdrawal, an X-ray and ultrasound scan.
WRS said vets and keepers are closely monitoring Kai Kai and Jia Jia, five, for "significant changes in behaviour that indicate their readiness to mate".
Efforts have been ongoing to encourage the two pandas to reproduce. Giant pandas usually start to breed between the ages of around 51/2 and seven.
When ready, male pandas will vocalise and perform handstands against trees, walls and rocks to mark their scent as high up as possible. Female pandas will in turn do things such as make bleating sounds, show restlessness and also mark their scent.
Kai Kai and Jia Jia arrived in Singapore in September 2012, on a 10-year loan from China.