Chinese embassy in the US expressed sadness over the passing of giant panda Le Le at the Memphis Zoo and said it will handle the aftermath and send an expert team to the US to find out the cause of the giant panda.
"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 on Saturday.
It is understood that the China Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG) has been in close contact with the Memphis Zoo and will send an expert group quickly as possible. The experts will work with their US counterparts to find out the cause of the death, it said.
Le Le, a male born in 1998 at the Shanghai Zoo, was 25 years old at the time of his death.
Le Le was slated to return to China this year as current giant panda loan agreement with the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens was coming to an end.
Le Le died in his sleep on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for the zoo. The cause of death has yet to be determined, pending a medical examination.
In early 2022, some netizens claimed the conditions of the place where Le Le had lived was poor and he couldn't be fed with fresh bamboos, and the feeding quantity was not up to the standard, media reported.
Later, staff from Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens responded to those concerns by saying the panda had entered his elderly age and learned from the Memphis Zoo that there was no problem with the bamboo and the facility.
Chinese relevant departments expressed concern over the death of Le Le, and have notified the US side to properly preserve the carcass. An expert team will fly to the zoo soon to find out the cause of death with their American counterparts, the CAZG stated on Saturday.
Le Le arrived at the Memphis Zoo 20 years ago. Over the years, it has brought a lot of joy to the American people and played a unique role in promoting China-US cooperation in giant panda conservation and friendly exchanges between the Chinese and American peoples, the embassy said.
Giant pandas have become an icon of mutual appreciation and friendship between the two peoples. We will cherish the fond memories Le Le left to us during its stay in the US, it said.