Giant pandas will stay at Memphis Zoo for 10 more years - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Giant pandas will stay at Memphis Zoo for 10 more years

(Source: Memphis Zoo) (Source: Memphis Zoo)

(WMC-TV) - The two giant pandas, which are a huge draw for the Memphis Zoo, will stay in Memphis for another 10 years.

Ya Ya and Le Le are on loan from China. The agreement between Memphis Zoo, Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, and China's State Forestry Administration has been extended for another 10 years at half the cost of the original loan.

"The fullfillment of five years of hard work and not by myself, but by the entire zoo staff and the entire community," said Chuck Brady, Memphis Zoo.

Memphis Zoo is one of only four zoos in the United States to house giant pandas. It has had them since 2003.

"We have visitors from throughout the country who come just to see the pandas in the Memphis Zoo," said Abbey Dane, Memphis Zoo. "There are only three others in the country where you can see them, so it really helps our attendance and just really putting Memphis Zoo on the map."

Ya Ya, the female giant panda, was born in August 2000 in Beijing, China. Her name means "beautiful little girl."

There have been several breeding attempts. Ya Ya has apparently been pregnant four times, but was never able to carry a cub full term.

Le Le was born July 1998. His name means "happy happy."

"I think that they are cute and fuzzy and it makes me want to cuddle with one," said 8-year-old Katja DePeuter.

The two pandas made their public debut at the Memphis Zoo on April 25, 2003.

It is believed that there are only 1,000 giant pandas left in the wild, making it one of the most endangered species on the planet.

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