Tonie and Emmy the harbor seal pup

Louisville Zoo Saddened by Loss of Seal Pup Emmy (Media Release)

ZOO CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
502-238-5331 (Media Cell 502-744-5639)

The Louisville Zoo is mourning the loss of Emmy, a seven-week-old harbor seal pup born on April 29, 2022, at the Zoo. Emmy passed away on Monday, June 20.

Emmy, offspring of Tonie (mother) and Oscar (father), was born underweight and had not been gaining weight as fast as expected, despite good maternal care from her mom. As a result, Glacier Run keepers and veterinary staff intervened to provide supportive care through supplemental feeding and fluid therapy. Despite their efforts, Emmy was still unable to gain weight and thrive.

While her passing has been tough on the Louisville Zoo team, this is not an uncommon occurrence in nature. Up to one-third of harbor seal pups don’t survive on the coasts due to starvation, malnutrition, infection and predation.

“Losing an animal — especially this young — is always hard,” said Dr. Zoli Gyimesi, Zoo Senior Veterinarian. “I’m so proud of the staff for all their efforts; we gave Emmy every chance we could.  We are grateful for the many consultations provided by expert’s around the country and we appreciate the community’s support.”

A necropsy will be performed and results will be released at a later date.


About the Louisville Zoo

Since 2011, under Mayor Fischer’s administration, the Louisville Zoo celebrated its 50th anniversary, opened nine new exhibits and attractions, and won national awards for Glacier Run and School at the Zoo. Considered Kentucky’s most popular not-for-profit paid attraction, the Zoo welcomed nearly 9 million guests in the last decade. In 2021, the Zoo was voted “Best Place to Take Kids in Summer,” by LEO Weekly, “Best Kid-Friendly Attraction” by Kentucky Living Magazine and Boo at the Zoo made the Top 10 Halloween Festivals list by Community Access Memberships, deep-discount days, the Future Healers Got Zoo Buddies partnership and the accessible playground are among prime efforts to make Louisville Zoo even safer, more engaging, and more inclusive. Among the Louisville Zoo’s most successful conservation programs, the black-footed ferret breeding effort produced 1,100 kits and repatriated more than 800 of these most highly endangered, American mammals to the wild.

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 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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