2007-2012, the zoo has performed 4 artificial inseminations on YaYa, all ended in miscarriages. This caused irreversible damage to her body and immune system, and might have worsened her skin disease.
External & Possible Blood Parasite
2008-now, YaYa has had skin problems. parasite infection, causing extreme itching and shedding. This fact is confirmed by Beijing Zoo in 2014 and 2020. YaYa may also have blood parasite problem, but is unable to be confirmed without the zoo’s willingness for honest disclosure.
Insufficient Bamboo Farm
Both pandas appear malnourished compared to pandas in any given zoo worldwide. The cause might be insufficient bamboo and inadequate quality + type. Memphis Zoo claims that their 11 acres of bamboo farm is main source of bamboo for BOTH pandas, yet research shows a 17 acres bamboo farm may be sustainable for only ONE panda.
Selling Bamboo to Other Zoo
2013-2016, Memphis Zoo won the bid to sell their bamboo to Toronto Zoo, and later to Calgary Zoo. Since 11 acres is already insufficient for two pandas, it no doubt created more bamboo shortage for YaYa and LeLe. Which is why in 2016 Memphis Zoo asked residents to donate bamboo.
2020-now, Memphis Zoo temporarily paused exhibitions. Through the 24-hr panda cam, fans found YaYa and LeLe locked in the den for up to 18 hours a day. Since pandas need big spaces, this caused serious mental distress called 'stereotypical behaviour' (e.g. Netherlands Zoo constructed 36000 sq.ft of space for their 2 pandas to move FREELY and AT WILL)
LACK OF ENRICHMENTS
Enviromental & Nutritional
YaYa and LeLe rarely receive supplements other than bamboo (e.g. carrots, pumpkins, corn, wheat etc). This creates nutrients imbalance, on top of the already insufficient bamboo.
Nor do they receive environmental enrichments such as self-serving toy feeders that stimulate foraging interests.