Beijing Zoo has confirmed that giant panda, Ya Ya – who returned to China from Memphis Zoo, Tennessee in the United States last month – has arrived in the Chinese capital.
In an official Weibo post, it was confirmed that Ya Ya arrived at Beijing Zoo at 00.43am, May 29 on a China Southern Airlines flight from Shanghai, where she had been in quarantine.
She will be housed at the Zoo’s Giant Panda House.
The official Weibo post from Beijing Zoo. Screengrab via Weibo/@北京动物园微博
The post also noted that she is in a stable condition and is undergoing continuous health monitoring.
If you were hoping to head to Beijing Zoo and get a glimpse of Ya Ya, then you might be disappointed. The Zoo confirmed that because Ya Ya is considered elderly at age 23, and is still getting used to a new environment, she will not be on display to the public for now.
If that changes at any point in the future, we’ll let you know.
Ya Ya’s neighbor at Beijing Zoo will be a younger giant panda known as Meng Lan – born in 2015 at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, and a favorite among Chinese netizens.
Born in 2000, Ya Ya moved to Memphis Zoo in 2003, along with male panda Le Le, who sadly passed away on February 1 of this year.
The Zoo held a farewell event for Ya Ya on April 8 after it was announced that her lease had expired and she would be returned to China.
Ya Ya’s physical appearance in recent months led to concerns about her health, with many suggesting she was being mistreated.
The above image has been circulated on Weibo showing improvement in Ya Ya's appearance. Image via Weibo/@唯一纯白的茉莉花
Memphis Zoo put out an official statement, saying that Ya Ya suffers from a “chronic skin and fur condition.”
They added that while Ya Ya was in their care, she was subject to regular reports shared with the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG).
Experts from CAZG, who previously visited Memphis Zoo, reported that apart from the aforementioned chronic skin and fur condition, Ya Ya’s overall health condition – including diet, feces, weight, etc. – was normal.
[Cover image via Weibo/@央视新闻]