Before Ya Ya, the giant panda, departs for China, a farewell party was held at Memphis Zoo.
The send-off was highlighted by Chinese cultural performances. It marked the end of a twenty-year loan agreement with Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens.
The event attracted approximately 500 people and featured a demonstration from the Tennessee Happy Kung Fu School.
Ya Ya was born in Beijing on the 3rd of August 2000.
Le Le, a male Panda who was born 18 July 1998 and died in February before the couple’s return to China, joined her in Memphis as part of the loan agreement.
According to Rebecca Winchester, spokesperson for the zoo, Ya Ya is expected back in China by the end of this month.
According to the zoo, pandas are key to conservation and research projects. They also help people get to know Chinese culture.
The 35-year-old oldest male giant panda died in captivity.
Giant pandas are no longer endangered, but they remain vulnerable
In the wild, a giant panda can live for about 15 years. However, they can live up to 38 years in captivity.
The giant panda species was saved from extinction by decades of conservation and research in captivity. Its population has grown from less than 1,000 to over 1,800 now.
Panda Voices and In Defence of Animals were the first advocacy groups to applaud the return of China. They claimed that the pandas had suffered in the zoo setting.
Officials at the Zoo countered by claiming that the groups were spreading false news.