Memphis Zoo preps for Ya Ya’s trip home
After the Memphis Zoo’s agreement for the giant panda Ya Ya’s custody expired on April 7, the bear was handed over to Chinese experts onsite to monitor and care for her before she returns to China.
Ya Ya will stay at the zoo until the end of April.
The zoo held a farewell party for Ya Ya to wish her a safe trip home at the end of this month and to celebrate the 20-year partnership between the zoo and the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens.
Memphis Zoo CEO and President Matt Thompson noted the zoo's contract with the Chinese association had expired and they are discussing follow-up cooperation.
After returning to China, Ya Ya will spend more than a month in Shanghai in quarantine before taking up residence in a new home at the Beijing Zoo.
Sun Quanhui, a scientist at the World Animal Protection Association, said Ya Ya will turn 23 years old, which means the giant panda is entering old age based on average lifespan.
Sun suggested after returning home, Ya Ya will face a completely new living environment which may be uncomfortable for her after living abroad for nearly 20 years.
"During this time, tourist disturbances should be minimized as much as possible and delicious food and a suitable living environment should be provided to help her quickly adapt to her new surroundings.”