Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that Zoo Atlanta's President and CEO, Dennis Kelly, does not think the giant pandas will be packing their bags. Mei Lan will still be leaving for China early to late February. Read the complete article below. Congratulations to Zoo Atlanta! Thanks goes out to bob2cleo of flickr for the wonderful photos and video of daddy, Yang Yang and dear Mei Lan.
Zoo Leaders expects pandas to stay by Howard Pousner
'The Grant Park attraction is making a final push with a special membership offer -- $99 for two adults and up to four children (who don't have to live in the same household) -- from which proceeds will be plowed into the drive.'
"We think it will add significantly to our total," Kelly said. "It probably won't put us over the top, but I think we're close enough that the board has confidence in us and that we'll go ahead and ... declare victory and keep the pandas."'In truth, the deck was stacked strongly in the pandas' favor from the start. Seeking to raise $2.5 million to extend the animals' stay five years, a deal similar to one that San Diego Zoo had just inked with the Chinese government, Atlanta officials had already identified $2 million when it launched the public Give So They Stay campaign.
More than $1 million of that came from anonymous corporate and individual donors. The remainder were from cuts in panda expenses, including trimming an insurance policy, a move that Chinese officials were on board with. None of it impacted animal care or welfare, Kelly said. "Just doing things smarter, better."