Giant panda Le Le dies at Memphis Zoo

Giant panda Le Le dies at Memphis Zoo

Le Le, a giant panda on loan from China, died at the Memphis Zoo earlier this week, officials said.

The 24-year-old bear died “peacefully in his sleep” on Wednesday, Memphis Zoo president and CEO Matt Thompson said during a news conference Friday. 

“Le Le’s name translates to ‘happy happy,’ and his name perfectly reflected his personality,” the zoo said in a statement. “Le Le was a happy bear that enjoyed apples, engaging with enrichment and relaxing while covering himself with freshly shredded bamboo. He had an easy-going personality and was a favorite of all who met and worked with him over the years.”

A cause of death has not been determined, but the zoo’s veterinarians and a team of panda experts will perform a medical examination in the future, Thompson said. He noted that there was no indication in video footage that the giant panda was sick in the days leading up to his death. 

Memorial for Le Le
Le Le died peacefully in his sleep, zoo officials said.
Facebook/Memphis Zoo

Le Le, who arrived at the zoo in 2003, died just weeks before he and his female counterpart, Ya Ya, were scheduled to return to China as the zoo’s loan agreement with the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens ended in April. 

“They have been very supportive of us and are working with us very closely on this,” Thompson said of the zoo’s Chinese partners. “They are, of course, very sad news about this. They’ve been very understanding.”

The U.S. Chinese Embassy shared its sadness over Le Le’s death on Saturday and said that it would send a team of experts to help with the postmortem.

Giant panda Le Le eating his bamboo
A cause of death has not been determined for Le Le.

“We are saddened by the passing of giant panda Le Le. The Chinese Embassy in the US will assist relevant parties in handling the aftermath,” the embassy said in a statement.

Giant pandas’ life expectancy in the wild is roughly 15 to 20 years, and about 30 years in captivity, according to the Smithsonian Institution. 

Source link