January 17, 2013

CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd

(Media Cell for press inquiries only: 502-744-5639)




Zoo Celebrates Gorilla Helenís 55th Birthday
Helen is 3rd oldest gorilla in North America

WHEN | Saturday, January 19 at 11 a.m.

WHO | The Louisville Zoo and its guests will spend this Saturday celebrating Gorilla Helenís 55th birthday with a birthday cake and by singing Happy Birthday. Helenís birthday cake was provided and designed by Heitzmanís Traditional Bakery and Catering on Shelbyville Rd. Owner Dan Schadt and Becky McKnight designed the banana cake with whipped icing. The cake is filled with fresh fruit which is part of Helenís diet.  Her diet here at the Zoo usually consists of a variety of foods including kale, celery, lettuce, apples, melon, corn, sweet potatoes, bananas, primate biscuits, seeds, nuts and raisins.

WHERE | Gorilla Forest

Please call prior to coverage and sign in at the receptionistís desk in the Administration Building.

VISUALS | 11  a.m. Ė Banana and fresh fruit cake presented to Helen while guests sing Happy Birthday

ABOUT HELEN | Helen is a wild born western lowland gorilla and is the 3rd oldest gorilla in North America. Gorillas average lifespan in the wild is 35 years. Helen came to the Louisville Zoo from Chicagoís Lincoln Park Zoo as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariumsí Species Survival Plan. The western lowland gorilla is the most numerous and widespread of all gorilla subspecies. However, because of poaching, habitat destruction and disease, the gorillaís numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 20 to 25 years. They remain critically endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species as their numbers continue to decline.

Gorilla Forest is home to ten western lowland gorillas - Bengati, Cecil, Demba, Helen, Jelani, Kicho, Kweli, Mia Moja, Mshindi and Paki. Helen is in a group with Demba, another geriatric female gorilla.


The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit 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 Association of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).