Memphis 's Our Pandas

Photo of Our Panda, Ya Ya
Photo of Ya Ya
Photo of Le Le

Meet Our Pandas

The Memphis Zoo is home to two giant pandas, Ya Ya and Le Le.

The Memphis Zoo is home to two giant pandas, Ya Ya and Le Le. As a valuable part of our zoo family, our keepers have invested a lot of time to learn everything about these two unique bears, from their eating habits to their favorite toys.

Special: Memphis Zoo has made a joint statement with the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens on the giant Panda Cooperation project. Read More

Meet Ya Ya

Meet Ya Ya

Our female giant panda, Ya Ya, is outgoing,and quirky.

After greeting her keepers every morning with squeaks and sniffs, Ya Ya settles back with her pre-breakfast snack of sugar cane. She is very talented with her training sessions and helps with her own health care by stepping on a scale, opening her mouth, and presenting her belly for practice ultrasounds, all for her next favorite treat, grapes. She loves her mid-day training sessions and enjoys hanging out with her keepers at any time during the day. With her quirky personality, YaYa is a favorite of her keepers and guests alike.

Meet Le Le

Meet Le Le

On the other hand, our male giant panda, Le Le, is laid back and relaxed.

Le Le enjoys his morning pre-breakfast snack of sugar cane, enjoys training for his second favorite treat, apples, then settles back to enjoy grazing on his bamboo for the day. He loves his hand-fed biscuit treats and having keepers bring him fresh bamboo whenever he is hungry.  His favorite enrichment is scent. When keepers give him blankets or sheets with strong scents, he rubs his face on the fabric and rolls around in them. Le Le's laid-back personality is a great contrast to Ya Ya's outgoing nature.

Panda Research

Pandas Eating
Ya Ya
Panda on Tree
Over the last 19 years, there have been 21 areas of research focus’ for pandas. The Memphis Zoo has collaborated with over 45 scientists and conservationists, including over a dozen colleagues in China representing nine Chinese academic or governmental departments.
Pandas Eating
Eating Bamboo
Panda in Tree

Frequently Asked Questions

As both pandas have aged, their interests in enrichment items have declined. They still enjoy enrichment in the forms of scents as well as climbing on the structures in their yard. They also participate in daily training sessions which stimulate their mind and encourage activity.
Ya Ya and Le Le are provided between 100-150 pounds of fresh cut bamboo per day and they will eat approximately 40-50 pounds of that which is normal for pandas. The bamboo is grown on an 11-acre plot at Shelby Farms. Their diet is also supplemented by produce and leaf eater biscuits. Ya Ya loves grapes, while Le Le prefers apples.
Our zookeepers monitor cameras where they can see when the pandas need more bamboo. They will immediately choose from the bamboo bundles kept in the cooler and offer that to the panda. If the panda is not interested in the species of bamboo given, they will be offered a new species of bamboo.
Ya Ya and Le Le are observed very closely by our animal care and veterinary teams daily. Keepers ask the bears to show them their teeth, eyes, ears, and all body parts including paws and even their back so that we can look them over closely. Our bears are trained to allow our veterinarians to draw blood so we can ensure their levels are well within normal parameters and they’re not fighting any type of hidden infection. We report to CAZG monthly sharing the status of husbandry, reproductive, and nutritional information for both bears. These reports include graphs of the pandas’ weights, amount of food consumed and defecated, as well as the enrichment they receive. Annually, our veterinarians immobilize both Le Le and Ya Ya to give a thorough examination on both bears.
The Memphis Zoo giant pandas are on 10-year loans from China. Ya Ya and Le Le came to Memphis in 2003 with a renewed contract in 2013. In 2023, the two giant pandas will have been with us for 20 years. Our current contract will end in 2023.
Regarding her stature, people have noted that she is a very small bear. Phenotypically speaking, this does not stem from her nutrition, but her familial genetics. In conclusion, Ya Ya also lives with a chronic skin and fur condition which is inherently related to her immune system and directly impacted by hormonal fluctuations. This condition does not affect her quality of life but does occasionally make her hair look thin and patchy. The condition is closely monitored by our animal care team and veterinary staff.
There are five zookeepers that take care of the pandas as well as three senior staff who also assist in their care. The veterinary care team consists of two senior veterinarians, two veterinary technicians, and two veterinary assistants who monitor both of our pandas’ health.

More Ya Ya & Le Le

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3 Ways the Memphis Zoo Contributes to Conservation

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03.16.2016

Today is National Panda Day!

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Bear Awareness Week: Meet our Giant Panda Bears

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Memphis Zoo Will Continue to House Giant Pandas

Love our Pandas Even More!

Get Tickets

Visit Our Pandas

Come see Le Le and Ya Ya face to face! You can learn more about our bears during daily keeper chats and meet the keepers who care for these animals daily.

Donate Bamboo

Bamboo

If you or someone you know has bamboo growing on your property, visit our website and fill out the form to register to be a donor. Bamboo keeps our pandas happy and healthy!

Adopt a Panda

Adopt A Panda

Symbolically adopt a panda! 100% of the proceeds from adoptions go directly towards panda care.

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