Sunday June 26, 2022
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Boone and Minnow, two male gray seals, have joined the other pinnipeds on regular rotation at the Louisville Zoo’s Glacier Run exhibit. Both seals come to Louisville from Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo.

Minnow (bottom right), who is 31 years old, and Boone (top right),13, join California sea lions Triton (28), Bart (25), Gremlin (14), Riva (4), along with harbor seal Toney (16) and gray seal Rona (4) in the popular habitat.

The Louisville Zoo has a rich history with this species of animal. Eight seal pups have been born at the Zoo and when twin seal pups were born in 1979, they were the first twins to be documented in a managed system such as a Zoo.

Gray seals are natively found in temperate and subarctic waters on both sides of the North Atlantic. Seals have good senses to help them hunt. Their eyesight is excellent because of the time they spend underwater. Baby seals, called pups, are born with a soft, white hair coat called the lanugo. By the time they are weaned the lanugo is molted and the pups assume the adult coloration. Seal pups don’t swim until they have molted. Seal pups are weaned after nursing only four weeks during which they gain 100 pounds. Gray seals can sleep underwater for up to 30 minutes at a time. This species can be distinguished from harbor seals by their longer noses, wider set nostrils and size, which is approximately twice as large as harbor seals. They primarily eat fish.

The Louisville Zoo, a nonprofit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

You can visit the Louisville zoo at 1100 Trevilian Way. Gates are open 10am through 5pm until September 23. From September 23 through March 15, gates are open 10am to 4pm.

With great sadness, The Louisville Zoo said goodbye to near 18-year-old male lion Kenya today.

Kenya had been on what the Zoo calls a quality-of-life watch. Today, Zoo keepers and veterinary staff met to discuss his recent rapid decline and failing health.

Kenya was losing weight; his appetite had decreased and he wasn’t eating well. He was weak and was receiving treatment for thrombocytopenia, a condition characterized by low blood platelets and difficulty clotting.

The decision was made to humanely euthanize Kenya today due to a poor response to treatments and declining quality of life. A necropsy and complete pathologic examination will be performed.

“These decisions are never easy and certainly never made lightly,” said Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Julie Ter Beest. “His condition was worsening and he was getting more uncomfortable.”

The median life expectancy of lions in a managed care system is 16.9 years. In the wild an adult male lion may live 12 years.

Kenya came to the Louisville Zoo in 2005 from Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri. . Kenya shared the exhibit with 19-year-old female lion Kariba.

Zoo LogoTo honor those who are serving and who have served our country in military service, the Louisville Zoo is offering active and retired military and their dependents FREE general admission on Veterans Day – Saturday, November 11, 2017.

Those wishing to participate must simply have proof of military service (including but not limited to: U.S Uniformed Services ID Card, U.S. Uniformed Services Retired ID Card, current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), veterans organization card (i.e., American Legion, VFW), DD214 and citation or commendation) and present it at the Zoo’s admission windows.

In addition to free zoo admission, on Nov. 11, 2017, active, retired military and their dependents (with a military identification card) will also receive receive 10% off gift shop purchases and 50% off all food and drink concessions

In recognition of their service and sacrifices, active military personnel receive free admission year-round at the Louisville Zoo. Dependents of active and retired military members receive 10% off admission year-round. Military personnel are encouraged to check with the Leisure Travel offices at their bases in advance of their visit for other available discounts.


Pumpkin Spice Habitat

The bears, orangutans, elephants and many other animals at the Louisville Zoo will be celebrating the end of Halloween with a special pumpkin enrichment!

Saturday, November 4, marks the zoo’s annual Pumpkin Smash event.

The World’s Largest Halloween Party!” presented by Meijer wrapped up last weekend after nearly a month of fun and special events.  Now it is time for the hundreds of pumpkins that decorated the zoo’s grounds for the festivities will be given to the animals for Halloween enrichment.

Animal enrichment is an important part of animal husbandry at the Louisville Zoo and promotes the expression of natural behavior.

This is the perfect opportunity to visit the zoo and see how the animals react to their special seasonal treats.  Zoo hours are from 10 AM to 4 PM, visitors arriving by 4 can stay until 5 PM.

(animals participating and times are subject to change)

10:15 a.m. Orangutans (Islands Dayroom)

10:30 a.m. Sumatran Tiger outdoor (Islands outdoor habitat)

11:15 a.m. Bears (Glacier Run)

11:45 a.m. Gorillas (Gorilla Forest)

12:15 p.m. Amur Tigers (after training)

1:15 p.m. Elephants

Earlier this summer, the Louisville Zoo received a male silverback gorilla (Casey) from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. This week a second gorilla from Audubon Zoo arrived safely in Louisville. Bandia, a 20-year-old western lowland gorilla, will join Gorilla Forest after a standard quarantine period followed by acclimation time. Both moves were part of a planned collaborative effort across several accredited zoos within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Ultimately, the plan is that new silverback Casey will become the patriarch in a family group that includes one-year-old Kindi, surrogate mother Kweli, and female gorillas Paki and Bandia. In conjunction with these changes, the Louisville Zoo’s 29-year-old silverback Mshindi was moved to the Cincinnati Zoo.

“We believe this was the right time for these changes to occur. Creating the strongest and healthiest family group for Kindi is one of our primary priorities,” said Assistant Mammal Curator and Gorilla Forest Supervisor Jill Katka. “With the death of her natural mother Mia Moja last year, the family group of Paki, Kweli and Mshindi had been impacted and the dynamics altered. Our hope is that these new changes will allow Kindi to have a cohesive family group and will help create more viable family groups for the health and stability of all the gorillas involved in these moves coordinated by the AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP).”

The SSP serves as a safeguard for animals facing extinction in the wild. This highly coordinated partnership between AZA-accredited zoos is designed to facilitate a healthy and genetically-diverse population of gorillas in managed care. Through analysis of data from conservationists around the world, the experts at AZA determine which species are most at risk in the wild and can be best helped through breeding programs in AZA zoos. A Species Survival Plan is then created for each of these species. By transferring animals as a part of this plan, zoos maintain the diversity of a threatened species’ gene pool and ensure the best chances of healthy offspring so that the species may continue to survive.

Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered with an estimated 100,000 left in the remnant wild. There are about 350 residing in 48 AZA-accredited institutions in North America. Due to habitat destruction primarily caused by mining, logging and agricultural expansion, gorilla numbers continue to decline. Coltan mining in particular is impacting the gorilla population. Coltan is a black metallic mineral that is used in nearly every electronic device today including cell phones. The Louisville Zoo partners with Louisville-based organization Eco-Cell to collect old cell phones and help reduce the need for additional mining in and around gorilla habitats. The bushmeat trade and the Ebola virus are also major threats. Our conservation partners include The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International which works to protect and study gorillas and help local communities build their conservation capabilities and PASA (Pan African Sanctuary Alliance) is the largest association of wildlife centers in African helping to secure a future for Africa’s primates and their habitat.

Meijer presents “The World’s Largest Halloween Party!”

October 5–8, 12–15, 19–22, & 26–29, 2017

It’s that time of year when the Louisville Zoo transforms into a storybook land and a photo opportunity is waiting around every corner during the Zoo’s “World’s Largest Halloween Party!” presented by Meijer. This year the Zoo celebrates its 36th year of the popular party on October 5–8, 12–15, 19–22, & 26–29, 2017

Tickets are now on sale.

Children can dress up in their wildest costumes and set off on a magical journey through the Zoo.
The Party features costumed characters for guests to meet and greet in fanciful, larger-than-life storybook scenes. Trick-or-treating is offered for kids 11 and under. In an effort to be “green,” the Zoo requests that children bring their own trick-or-treat bag to the event. The Zoo will not provide bags, but reusable cloth bags will be available for purchase for $2 in the Zoo’s gift shop whiles supplies last.

Louisville pumpkin carving artist Donna O’Bryan will have her beautifully carved artificial pumpkins on display nightly in the Glacier Run Black Cat Crossing area with cutout themes ranging from iconic movie characters to famous stars.

Fun themed areas include:   Continue reading

Zoo Invites Public to Help Name Giant Bugs

Zoo LogoThe Louisville Zoo is inviting the public to help name 13 giant bugs in their new exhibit.  Each Monday and Wednesday through the week of July 21, entries (one per person, per day) can be submitted through the Louisville Zoo’s Facebook page.

Contest winners will receive not just bragging rights, but also a mention on their bug’s signage at the exhibit as well as a special prize:  two free general admission zoo tickets or two free one-day ride passes for Zoo members.  Winners will be chosen by zoo staff and announced on Fridays some time after 12 P.M.  If multiple people submitted the chosen name, a random drawing will determine the winner among them.

The Louisville Zoo, located at 1100 Trevillian Way, is open from 10 A.M. to 8 P.M. in June and July, 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. through September 28 and 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. September 29 through mid-march.  The Zoo is home to more than 1,500 animals, including gorillas and orangutans, lions and tigers, penguins, bears, seals and sea lions, giraffes, hippos, reptiles, hundreds of colorful birds and more