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Panda-monium hits Singapore
The city's hottest new visitors are safe in their new home. By all accounts it seems the biggest thing to happen this year
As Singapore quickly moves from panda fever to panda fatigue, the city's most adorable new residents, Kai Kai and Jia Jia, are finally settled into their new home at Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS).
The giant panda pair arrived at Changi International Airport from China this week via chartered plane to a VIP welcome from 100 dignitaries before being sent in a temperature-controlled truck to WRS, where they were greeted by 1,000 excited locals.
Media coverage of the arrival has been full-on, with Singapore news outlets reporting on every detail of the pandas' journey. And then there's the panda merchandise.
In celebration of the giant pandas’ arrival, SingPost is planning to issue specially-designed commemorative stamps illustrated by famed Singapore artist Edmund Chen showing the panda pair in "various playful and relaxed poses." Hot stuff.
Singapore Airlines is set to start hawking limited-edition plush toys for S$20 (US$16). Jia Jia (the female) rocks one of the signature SIA batik motif dresses worn by the airline's female flight attendants.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore is in on the action too. Just this week it issued a set of oval 2012 Giant Panda Commemorative Coins, which feature Kai Kai and Jia Jia on $5 and $2 pieces.
Start mating, pandas
Kai Kai and Jia Jia are now at the start of a month-long quarantine.
They'll then be released into the WRS River Safari's Giant Panda Forest, a 1,500-square-meter enclosure that reportedly cost S$8.6 million, where they'll have a chance to explore and familiarize themselves with their new surroundings before going on public display in December.
More on CNN: What's cuter than a giant panda? Two giant pandas
Though they've only just arrived, the animals are under the same pressure as regular Singaporeans -- to get down to the business of making offspring. Zoo officials say the pandas' new home is designed to replicate "the conditions suitable to naturally or artificially assisting the reproduction of giant pandas in Singapore."
It's a risky endeavor though. Judging by Singapore's excitement over the pandas' arrival this week, it's unlikely the public will be able to handle the kind of cuteness overload successful mating efforts would no doubt deliver.
Kai Kai and Jia Jia, who were sent over from China's Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base, will stay in Singapore for 10 years as part of a joint collaboration between the China Wildlife Conservation Association and WRS to raise public awareness on wildlife conservation and, as noted, develop a breeding program.
Pandas -- overrated? Over it? Can't get enough of them? Let your emotions out in the comments box below.