Pandas to stay at Memphis Zoo for 10 years

In this photo taken May 2, 2013, Lin Ping, a four-year-old Panda chews bamboo at Chiang Mai zoo in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand. (AP Photo/Wichsi Taprieu)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Two giant pandas have a home at the Memphis Zoo for at least 10 more years.

Multiple media outlets in Memphis reported that the Zoo and the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens and China's State Forestry Administration reached a deal Wednesday morning.

China owns and leases all pandas to other zoos throughout the world and will lease them to the Memphis Zoo for half a million dollars a year.

The process of acquiring giant pandas for the Memphis Zoo began in 1999.

The Memphis Zoo has had "Ya Ya," whose name means "beautiful little girl" and "Le Le," whose name means "happy happy," since April 2003.

Only three other zoos in the country -- in Washington, San Diego and Atlanta -- have the rare creatures.

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