MEMPHIS, TENN. – The Memphis Zoo is excited to announce that the contract with China for housing giant pandas has been extended. Memphis Zoo will have giant pandas for the next 10 years.
This agreement was signed by the Memphis Zoo, Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens and China’s State Forestry Administration. The agreement extends the Memphis Zoo’s loan for two giant pandas another 10 years at half the cost of the original loan.
China owns and leases all pandas to other zoos throughout the world. The process of acquiring giant pandas for the Memphis Zoo began in 1999.
“Our Chinese partners have been very pleased by our research and exhibitry,” said Memphis Zoo President, Chuck Brady.
The Memphis Zoo has had giant pandas since April 2003, when it became one of only four zoos in the United States to house the endangered bear.
About the Memphis Zoo’s Pandas
The Memphis Zoo is home to two pandas, “Ya Ya” and “Le Le.” Both adults can be found in the CHINA exhibit, either in their dayrooms, or in their outdoor exhibit. The Memphis Zoo has kept giant pandas in the collection since April 2003. Ya Ya, the female, was born August 3, 2000 in Beijing, China. Her name means beautiful little girl. Le Le, the male, was born July 18, 1998 in Changquing, China. His name, pronounced “luh luh,” means happy happy. The giant pandas arrived from Beijing April 7, 2003. They made their public debut at the Memphis Zoo on April 25, 2003. At the time, they were only the ninth pair in the world outside of China. There are thought to be fewer than 1, 000 giant pandas left in the wild, making it one of the most endangered species on the planet. The pair met face-to-face October 28, 2003, under the careful supervision of their keepers. Although there have been several breeding attempts throughout the past 10 years, the pair has never been successful.