Local News

Scotty The Baby Elephant Dies

By Rick Howlett

Louisville Zoo officials say Scotty, the elephant born in captivity three years ago, has died.

A press release from the zoo says Scotty was recently diagnosed with colic, and was euthanized last night after his condition deteriorated.

Scotty was born March 18, 2007 at the Louisville Zoo, the first elephant born in Kentucky and the first in the zoo’s 40 year history.

(Photo courtesy of the Louisville Zoo)

Local News

Injured Baby Gorilla Transferred to Zoo's Animal Hospital

by Stephanie Crosby

The two-month old baby gorilla at the Louisville Zoo who is still recovering from serious injuries suffered earlier this month has been moved from its mother’s care to the care of the zoo’s animal hospital. The still unnamed infant had to have part of its left leg removed after an altercation between the three adult gorillas of her family group led to the injuries.

Veterinarian Dr. Roy Burns says the baby was recovering well with her mother until about two days ago.

“There were times when it would sort of look like it was falling asleep and letting its head fall back a little bit,” says Burns. “Also, they noticed when the baby was on the mom’s breast, there wasn’t the aggressive, active suckling motion in the baby’s mouth, the baby would just sort of hold on to the nipple and not be actively suckling.”

He says the change doesn’t mean the baby has taken a turn for the worst.

“This little baby, considering the challenges it’s had, is doing quite well,” says Burns.“What it really needed was a certain antibiotic administration and good, aggressive, nutritional support for it to launch into a more rapid phase of healing to make sure this little baby recovers.”

Burns says the baby is now being cared for by hand by zookeepers. He says hopefully in a few weeks the baby gorilla will regain its strength and can be returned to her mother.

Local News

Baby Gorilla Recovering After 'Family Skirmish' Injury

by Stephanie Crosby

The new baby gorilla at the Louisville Zoo is under 24-hour watch by zookeepers after losing her left leg below the knee in what keepers are calling a family altercation.

Original reports yesterday said the baby had been injured by its father, Mshindi. But today Zoo Director John Walczak says there were two other adult gorillas in the area, the baby’s mother, Mia Moja, and another adult – and no one knows what happened.

“When these skirmishes such as this happen, it happens in the blink of en eye, it might take less than a quick minute for it all to happen,” says Walczak. “The male might be involved, but like our situation, we’re still trying to determine the role of the male, the aunt and the mom in this interaction.”

Walczak says they’ve been consulting with a gorilla behavior specialist who says incidents like this are rare, but they have happened before both in the wild and in captivity. All three adults are currently separated and the baby is with her mother.

The unnamed infant is still considered in critical condition, but has shown signs of improvement.

Local News

Report: Six Violations In Zoo Train Wreck

By Rick Howlett

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has fined the Louisville Zoo $37,000 in connection with the wreck of a small open-air train last year that sent nearly two dozen people to the hospital.

The department’s report, released Thursday, concluded that the ride was in poor condition, was traveling too fast and the driver was not adequately trained to operate it.

The fines are the maximum allowed by law.

The train was carrying nearly 30 passengers when it derailed June 1st near the zoo’s Gorilla Forest exhibit.

Local News

PHOTOS: Zoo Welcomes Baby Gorilla

One of the Louisville Zoo’s gorillas gave birth over the weekend. Twenty-year-old western lowland gorilla Mia Moja went into labor and delivered on Saturday.

Zoo director John Walczak says the two of them have been so inseparable, it’s been difficult to determine the baby’s gender.

“Mom is clinging on to the baby,” says Walczak, “and that’s exactly what they need to be doing of course, because in the remnant wild, the moms would be out foraging and moving immediately after birth, so baby needs to cling on and be ready for the ride, but we don’t have a confirmation yet on the gender of the baby.”

Walczak says mother and baby are on display at the zoo’s Gorilla Forest, on a rotating basis with the other gorillas.

Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered and the World Wildlife Fund estimates only 100,000 exist in the wild.

This is the zoo’s second gorilla birth in its 41-year history.

Local News

Zoo Officials Announce Baby Gorilla is on the Way

Louisville zoo officials are expecting just the second gorilla birth in the zoo’s history in late March.

Twenty-year-old Mia Moja is pregnant with her second offspring. The baby gorilla’s father is also a resident of the Gorilla Forest, 22-year-old Mshindi.

General Curator Steve Wing says Mia hasn’t shown any pregnancy symptoms that are common to humans.

“Animals in the wild, they have to mask all these special things,” says Wing. “If they’re sick, if they’re pregnant and having – even if they feel bad – they mask it very well because that makes them prey for other things, even something as large as a gorilla.”

Wing says once the baby gorilla is born, it will likely reside in Louisville for at least a couple of years.

He says they’ll likely have some sort of community participation in naming the new gorilla.

Local News

Mayor Proposes Bonding Plan For Additional Projects

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson is asking the Metro Council to approve a $7 million funding plan that he says will help complete several major construction projects.

Abramson says an improved bond market and the availability of stimulus funds will allow the city to move forward on the Glacier Run expansion at the zoo, build a new park along the Floyd’s Fork Corridor and make available the final funds for a new Beechmont Fire Station.

“We have not been able to go to the bond market over the past couple of years because of the financial crisis. In the past, we’ve been using short term financing, we’re now going to save money by doing long-term financing plus using the stimulus bonding capacity in the Build America bonds and in the energy bonds, which saves us some debt service,” Abramson said Wednesday.

Abramson wants to pursue $3.2 million in stimulus bonds for energy improvements for several downtown government buildings.

State of Affairs

40 Years at the Louisville Zoo

Tuesday,Septmber 8, 2009
40 Years at the Louisville Zoo
The Louisville Zoo has been around a long time. As a matter of fact, the zoo is celebrating its 40th birthday this year. From Lions and Lorikeets, to Giraffes and Gorillas, we’ve seen these animals and more over the years. But today’s zoos aren’t just about exhibiting animals. Join us on Tuesday when we talk to Zoo Director John Walzack about the history of our zoo, how the mission has changed and what we can look forward to in the years to come. And call with your questions.

Listen to the Show

Related Links:

Local News

Work on Glacier Run Continues

The Louisville Zoo continues work on its Glacier Run project. Zoo Director John Walczak says the opening for its seals and sea lions exhibit has been moved up to next spring.

“Utilities are all in place and the project’s been vertical now for probably about four months. The holding building, the seal and sea lion pools, a lot of the structures are now becoming very visible from the surface,” says Walczak. “I would say we’re about 30-perent complete in terms of the overall construction, and it’s really starting to take shape, it’s very exciting.”

Walczak says the polar bears exhibit should be open by 2011.

This week the zoo announced a two-million dollar donation from the James Graham Brown Foundation. Officials still need to raise nearly nine-million dollars for the project.

Local News

Probe Underway Into Zoo Train Derailment

State officials have begun an investigation into what caused the derailment of a Louisville Zoo train Monday afternoon that sent twenty people to the hospital.

The zoo issued this release Monday night:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Louisville Zoo train derailed near the backside of the Zoo’s Gorilla Forest exhibit around 4:30 p.m. today. Three open-air cars and an engine landed on its left side about four feet away from the track.

It is believed about 30 people were on board (which includes the driver of the train) when it derailed.

Louisville Metro EMS along with Louisville Fire’s Engine 10 and Engine 11 and Rural Ambulance and Yellow Ambulance arrived with minutes.

Twenty people were transported by EMS to local hospitals—14 children and six adults ranging in age from 2 months to senior citizens. Two declined service. It is believed the other eight passengers left before EMS arrived.

At the time the patients were transported, according to CEO and medical director for Louisville Metro EMS Dr. Neal Richmond, all patients were in stable condition, most with cuts, scrapes and bruises. Two adult patients were transported with potentially more serious injuries.

“There was real teamwork  by EMS, Fire and police,” Richmond said, “and the Zoo showed how a  well thought-out and rehearsed emergency disaster plan can make all the difference—one of the best I’ve ever seen. Staff lined the roads and pointed the way from outside the Zoo right to the scene. Emergency responders were able to get in and out very fast, and the Zoo staff’s work helped make a very difficult scene one that we could effectively manage.”

The cause of the incident is not yet known and three Kentucky Department of Agriculture ride inspectors are onsite completing a full comprehensive investigation. The final report will not be available for several days and will be released from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Frankfort, Ky., office.

The train ride has been a popular attraction at the Zoo since it opened 40 years ago. This specific train, which was purchased in 2000, has a capacity of between 40-50 passengers. The train travels at an average speed of 12 miles per hour around a track which is approximately 2 miles in length and encircles the zoo.

The train will be closed until further notice.