Panda Ambassadors Visit Singapore's River Safari on Global Conservation Tour

Aug 27, 2013, 02:24 ET from Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

SINGAPORE, Aug. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Three panda ambassadors, or Pambassadors, representing China's Chengdu Panda Base, visited Singapore's River Safari on Monday on a global tour to spread the message about conservation of giant pandas and other wildlife. Erica Chen Yinrong and fellow conservation ambassadors Jerome Pouille and Melissa Katz visited Kai Kai and Jia Jia, the two pandas hosted at River Safari. They also interacted with visitors and shared their experience of being conservation ambassadors after emerging as winners from 1.16 million applicants in the Pambassador global campaign last year.

"Many would think that the conservation of giant pandas is only about giant pandas, while the conservation of other wildlife is conservation of other wildlife. But this is not true," Chen said.

Chen said that there are many other wild animals that live in the same habitats as the giant pandas and their habitats are affected by human activities, too -- species such as monkeys, antelopes, snow leopards and leopard cats.

Pouille, a biologist who has been running a panda website in French, conducted an interesting question and answer session with audience, with questions such as "How heavy is my (panda) baby?" and "How many fingers do I (panda) have?" Chen, a fashion magazine editor who was also a volunteer at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009 and the World Expo in 2010, demonstrated how the panda cakes are made at the Chengdu Panda Base, asking the audience to compare what the pandas eat at the Chengdu Panda Base and in Singapore.

Katz, 25, shared the excellent pictures she took on her tour. While she was an assistant coach in field hockey, she has degrees in graphic design and photography. Melissa said that the three Pambassadors received intensive training at the Chengdu Panda Base in June and July by being panda keepers in the morning and taking lectures in the afternoon. They also offered free guided tours to visitors to the park to see Kai Kai and Jia Jia, the two pandas that have created a buzz here since they arrived in Singapore in September last year.

The three panda conservation ambassadors officially kicked off their Global Panda Protection Tour on Aug. 23 in Hong Kong to visit the pandas hosted in different countries and regions. Tan Hongming, deputy director of Chengdu Panda Base, said the giant panda has come to be a symbol of wildlife conservation and environment protection.

"Our activities have an influence on their habitat. Actually this is true, too, for many other endangered species. If we want our future generations to continue to see them, we have to act, protect our environment and conserve the wildlife," Tan said.

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SOURCE Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding