MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Zoo is inviting the public to help them say goodbye to Ya Ya, the zoo's giant panda.
The event will happen at the zoo's China exhibit on Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those attending can enjoy cultural performances, sign goodbye letters for Ya Ya and more.
Ya Ya's return to China was announced in December, ending a 20-year-long stay. Ya Ya arrived in Memphis in 2003 along with a male giant panda, Le Le.
Ya Ya will be leaving Memphis alone, since Le Le, passed away February 3.
In a statement released by the Zoo to social media, Ya Ya and Le Le are credited for helping pioneer research and conservation efforts that have taught people the importance of the giant panda species.
The Memphis Zoo referred to the pandas as "integral parts of the Memphis community for the past 20 years" and said they are "grateful for the time we were able to spend with them."
"It has been a privilege to host these incredible bears at Memphis Zoo for the past two decades and the impact their culture has had on the City of Memphis will forever be remembered," the statement reads. "We will cherish their impact not only on Memphis Zoo, but the City of Memphis."