Zemora Posing Header

Louisville Zoo Welcomes Female Pygmy Hippo Zemora (Media Release)

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

The Louisville Zoo welcomes Zemora, a 5-year-old female pygmy hippo, to Gorilla Forest. Zemora comes to the Louisville Zoo from the Jackson Zoo in Mississippi.

She joins Maji, the Zoo’s 28-year-old male pygmy hippo, in exhibit rotation until temperatures change in late October/early November. As cooler weather arrives, Maji and Zemora will move behind-the-scenes to enjoy their indoor bedroom pools.

Keepers say that Zemora seems to prefer the smaller pools in the upper part of the exhibit while the Zoo’s male hippo Maji spends more time in the main pool at the foot of the exhibit. One of her favorite treats is uncooked yams.

The Zoo is open daily year-round. Current hours through September 18, 2022 are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (enjoy the Zoo until 6 p.m.) The Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

About Hippos

The pygmy hippopotamus is a smaller version of the closely related, and more well-known, common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious).  Its name is derived from the Greek word for “river horse.” Pygmy hippos are only half as tall as the common hippopotamus and weigh less than 1/4 of their much larger cousins. They have incisors and canines that are tusk-like and grow rapidly. When under water, their ears and large, rounded nostrils can close. Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Guinea in Africa are the native range for these hippos. They can weigh between 400 – 600 lbs. and stand between 2.5 and 3 feet tall and between 4.5 to 6 feet in length. Pygmy hippos can even sleep under the water but rise to the surface about every five minutes to breathe. Their skin oozes a substance that acts as a sunscreen and also has antibiotic properties to prevent infection. Pygmy hippos are endangered in the vanishing wild and it is estimated that less than 3,000 remain.


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 thetravel.com. 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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