photo - Groot, male bongo, brown with white stripes, very large ears, with black muzzle, with white markings at the mouth, and at bridge of muzzle, 2 very attentive eyes, standing his enclosure

Meet Bongo “Groot”

CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
Direct: 502-238-5331  |  Media Only: 502-744-5639

Meet Groot! The Louisville Zoo’s newest addition —  a male bongo calf — will now officially be called Groot following the conclusion of a public naming contest. Thanks to our many guests who participated. Nearly 2,000 names were submitted. Groot’s keeper staff narrowed those names down to three: Groot, Drax and Rocket, from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies. The three names were then placed on the Zoo’s plaza for guests to vote on by dropping bills and coins into kiosk slots for their favorite name. Groot beat Rocket by only $4.

Karen Yarborough of Virginia was the winner. Because of duplicate submissions for the name Groot, Yarborough was drawn randomly as the winner from all of those who submitted the name. She will receive a behind-the-scenes tour as the winner.

Groot was born May 19 and weighed 50 lbs.  Groot is currently on exhibit with his mother Isabelle.

The breeding was a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which works to improve the genetic diversity of managed animal populations.


Bongos are the largest of the forest antelopes and are considered by many to be the most beautiful. In addition to the deep chestnut color of their coats, bongos have bright white stripes on their sides to help camouflage them from their enemies. Bongos are listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red list of Threatened Species.


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 Alliance of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).