Recently, Memphis Zoo had another one of their local media write a publicity piece in an effort to debunk their mistreatment of animals, specifically directed at our group and our numerous concerns of Ya and Le.
The reporter is trying to create a "he-said she-said" scenario, by emphasizing that we have no "valid proof". Despite concerns from panda fans who monitor Yaya and Lele every day via panda cam, and the amount of support from our petition, the reporter had no problem taking Memphis Zoo's "word" for it.
Cr: Panda Voices Daily Panda Cam Database
Panda Voices is not an organization, we are just a group of panda lovers and we do not profit nor accept donations. We have initially donated to the zoo hoping for change. When that failed and the panda bears deteriorated more, individuals with a common concern came together. We asked the zoo to give senior Ya and Le better treatment as well as publishing their health report. Considering the zoo might be in Covid hardship and not enough vet as was reported in the news, we even proposed to crowdfund for a third-party vet examination if the zoo agreed. There hasn't been one courtesy reply, except being blocked on social platforms. A truly innocent party, be it individual or organization, will ALWAYS try to prove their innocence with solid proof and open communication. Memphis Zoo does exactly the opposite: disable panda cam, block questioning users, do PR stunts with photoshopped photos or old videos of Ya and Le; all efforts aimed to BURY the problem.
Memphis Zoo have a hard time understanding panda lover’s perspective, which is true caring for animal. They feel every question is an attack on them and them only. Truth is that concerns for Ya and Le started in China a few years ago. Since the panda loan originated from Beijing Zoo, the China counterpart was thought to be responsible and thus questioned first. The Chinese colleagues that Memphis Zoo referred to, stated nothing can be done on their part as “Memphis Zoo doesn’t reply to emails”. We know for a fact that the Chinese counterpart has being attentive to complaints. Last month, international panda fans emailed the Chinese authorities about panda Pang Da Hai’s fungal infection, finding the bamboo of his choice and reconstruction of his yard. Within a month, the Chinese zoo corrected what they could and communicated their follow-up plan on matters that cannot be resolved immediately.
“I assure you that both pandas are monitored by keeper and veterinary staff daily,” said Jessica Faulk, a zoo spokeswoman said in a statement. “We are also in constant communication with our colleagues in China, as well as [the Association of Zoos and Aquariums], and send them monthly updates.”
The reporter also missed to mention that Beijing Zoo requested a remote vet meeting for Yaya in Feb 2021, that was later called off by Memphis Zoo. It’s correct to say that panda lovers are not professional vet, but Beijing Zoo is. If both panda bears are very healthy, why did Memphis Zoo call off the meeting? In fact, the health report Beijing Zoo received in Jan 2021, was the same health report from 2020. March and April report were not available either. When asked, Memphis Zoo “promised” they will make up by doing a full evaluation report in May.
“Memphis Zoo leaders said Wednesday morning that they have” been in an ongoing conversation with this group who has passionately voiced their concerns over our pandas here at the Memphis Zoo. “
In every PR stunt, Memphis Zoo always tried to present themselves as being very open and communicative. This PR piece is no different.We want to clarify that Memphis Zoo blocked us on all social media channels, has NEVER contacted us, let alone “ONGOING CONVERSATIONS” with us. The reporter also didn’t contact us to understand what detailed info we have. Info not just on the pandas, but also on the other animals. If the reporter was neutral enough to objectively investigate, which is a basic media ethic, he would have saw daily updated videos/photos on our Twitter, Instagram, and FB group. Even a simple google would show him how a healthy panda bear looks like. We doubt the reporter even set foot in Memphis Zoo and take a good close look at Ya and Le.
Of course, for-profits like Memphis Zoo doesn’t need to care for individual animal lovers, who have no financial capability nor the media channels to investigate. All Memphis Zoo cares about is releasing media coverages to make sure our voices won’t compromise donations from local donors, which are the real audience and aim for this seemingly objective article.