Contract Up for Memphis Zoo Pandas after 10 Years

Contract Up for Memphis Zoo Pandas after 10 Years

Pandas Le Le and Ya Ya have spent 10 years at the Memphis zoo and now their contract is up.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - Pandas Le Le and Ya Ya have spent 10 years at the Memphis zoo and now their contract is up. Matt Thompson with the Memphis Zoo says a contract has already been re-negotiated to keep the pandas. It was approved and all it needs now is a signature.

"So all indications are that it will be signed. We have no reason to believe that it won't. We're very optimistic about that," he said. "Our first contract is up and one has been signed and approved by both of the agencies in China that govern giant pandas. However were waiting on their foreign affairs office to set up the date for signing."

Thompson says other zoos around the world are in the same boat. The Memphis Zoo is one of four that house pandas in the U.S.

The cost of both pandas is $1.2 million a year. That money then goes to conservation in China. It is spent on various projects, mainly dedicated to studying the loss of pandas and restructuring their habitat.

Le Le and Ya Ya are a poplar attraction at the Memphis Zoo. Thursday Le Le celebrated his 15th birthday. He enjoyed eating bamboo and received cool treats. The Memphis Zoo looks forward to keeping both pandas for many more birthdays.

"The pandas here are a very big draw nationally and interestingly around the world. We have a lot of international people come here to the zoo so obviously Ya Ya and Le Le are very popular and very dear to the people here in Memphis," said Thompson.

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