Spring is always a good time to visit the zoo to check out the new life. In spring 2007, the Louisville Zoo introduced a new exhibit that’s the start of an even bigger habitat makeover for some of the zoo’s most popular residents.
Internationally recognized for its conservation efforts and educational programs, the Louisville Zoo, the official State Zoo of Kentucky, spans more than 100 acres of land and is home to more than 1,300 animals. Two of its most popular exhibits are Lorikeet Landing and four-acre Gorilla Forest, a habitat featuring pygmy hippos and Western lowland gorillas.
The 2007 baby boom at the zoo included a bongo, a pygmy hippo, an endangered siamang, and three maned wolf cubs. Mikki, a 21-year-old African elephant, delivered the zoo’s first elephant calf - Scotty - who was named via a public contest.
Another new sight for zoo goers is Glacier Run Splash Park, an interactive exhibit that will help make Kentucky summers more “bearable” for polar bears, seals, and sea lions. Complete with water slides, geysers, and more, this nautically-themed playground is the first phase of the Glacier Run project. When completed in 2009, that $25 million exhibit will re-create those animals’ natural habitats.
Some other fun facts about the Louisville Zoo and its residents:
- The HerpAquarium features 100 species of reptiles, amphibians, and fish from around the world, exhibited in ecologically balanced habitats. It includes a colony of vampire bats.
- The Louisville Zoo is distinguishing itself in the area of education. The innovative MetaZoo Education Center was the first facility of its kind to serve as both a public exhibit and a living classroom.
- The African elephant is the largest living land animal. The average height for an adult male is 10-12 feet, and weight ranges from 8,000 to 14,000 pounds.
- The life expectancy for African elephants in captivity is 41 years for females and 24 years for males. In the wild, half die before the age of 15, and only one in five reaches 30.
- The gestation period for African elephants is 22 months, and the average birth weight is 200-250 lbs.
- Program 119
- An interview with singer/songwriter and Indiana native John Mellencamp, a Flock of Finns retrospective, the Geek Squad, and Diane McGraw of the Greater Louisville Sports Commission. (#119)