Zoo in negotiations to keep pandas in Memphis - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Zoo in negotiations to keep pandas in Memphis

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Since arriving on a 10 year loan from China, the pandas at the Memphis Zoo have drawn visitors from across the US. Since arriving on a 10 year loan from China, the pandas at the Memphis Zoo have drawn visitors from across the US.
Female panda, known as "Ya-Ya". Female panda, known as "Ya-Ya".
Male panda, known as "Luh-Luh". Male panda, known as "Luh-Luh".
The panda exhibit is one of the most popular at the Memphis Zoo. The panda exhibit is one of the most popular at the Memphis Zoo.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – It's feeding time at the Memphis Zoo and the exhibit where you can see Pandas munching down is one of the most popular for zoo visitors.

"I think that they are cute and fuzzy and it makes me want to cuddle them," said zoo-goer Katja De-Peuter.

Since they arrived here on a 10 year loan from China the female panda Ya-Ya and the male Luh-Luh have been a hit, drawing visitors from across the U-S.

"Fortunately we have a zoo in Evansville but not the quality of this zoo and we don't have any pandas," said visitor Dennis Clark.

In fact there are very few Zoos in the country where you can see pandas.

That's why Memphis is asking China to extend the panda's 10 year stay when that lease expires next year.

Zoo officials hope to keep the pandas here a little longer because they hope one day a little baby panda will come out of this situation.

So far, Ya-Ya has been pregnant at least 4 times but she's never carried a cub full term.

Zoo officials would like for the couple to keep trying.

"We have visitors from throughout the country who come just to see the pandas in the Memphis Zoo," stated Abby Dane with the Memphis Zoo.  "There are only 3 others in the country where you can see them so it really helps our attendance and just really putting Memphis Zoo on the map," she added.

Having the pandas in Memphis also allows the Zoo to do important research and learn things that might help these pandas as well as other pandas in captivity.

"We are absolutely committed to any of the research we can do to help the species as a whole or other projects around the world," Dane said.

Memphis Zoo officials say they are still in negotiations with China and when a decision is made we'll let you know.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.


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