Singapore, Sep 22 (EFE).- Le Le, the first giant panda cub born in Singapore, is set to return to China in the latter half of December as part of Beijing’s “panda diplomacy” loan program.
The Mandai Wildlife Group, responsible for Le Le’s well-being since his birth in Singapore two years ago, has announced that the island will host a farewell party for Le Le on November 20 before the cub heads back to his ancestral home in China.
After the party, at the Pavilion Capital Giant Panda Forest exhibit in River Wonders Park, Le Le will undergo a mandatory quarantine period, as stated by the group.
Approximately a month later, he will depart for China, gradually gaining more independence along the way.
Mandai emphasized that Le Le’s return to China serves the important mission of contributing to the conservation of the giant panda species.
Born to pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia on August 14, 2021, in Singapore, Le Le’s journey back to his ancestral home is in line with China’s panda loan policy.
The policy entails that cubs of Chinese pandas born in foreign territories return to Beijing after their second birthday.
Despite Le Le’s departure, his parents, Kai Kai and Jia Jia, will continue residing in Singapore at River Wonders Park, as per an agreement signed in 2022 that extended their stay on the island by five more years.
China has used pandas as symbols of peace, harmony, and goodwill.
Dating back to the Tang dynasty in the 7th century, pandas have been instrumental in strengthening diplomatic ties, including with Japan.
In the 1950s, Mao Zedong did the same with the then-Soviet Union.
In the middle of the Cold War, in 1972, he decided to give two pandas to the United States after a visit by President Richard Nixon, calling it “panda diplomacy.” EFE