photo - head shot of new sumatran tiger, with yellow, black, white stripes all over face, all white ring of fur around neck, 1 yellow eye, other eye is gone, pink nose, pink tongue showing in mouth, very handsome fella

Louisville Zoo Welcomes a New Sumatran Tiger and Celebrates Bongo Birth

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

New Tiger

Meet Heran — The Louisville Zoo welcomes the 11-year-old male Sumatran tiger to the Islands exhibit. Zoo keepers say that Heran has adjusted well and seems to enjoy his new spaces.

Heran arrived non-visual in the right eye due to a mature cataract.  As part of his quarantine examination in Louisville, Zoo veterinarians collaborated with a local veterinary ophthalmologist, Dr. Erica Tolar, to thoroughly assess the new tiger. Heran was diagnosed with glaucoma in the right eye, a painful condition secondary to a buildup of pressure within the eye. The decision was made to remove the right eye to alleviate chronic pain. A silicone orbital implant was put in place of the surgically removed right eye to achieve a better cosmetic outcome. Heran quickly bounced back from the procedure and has acclimated well to the sights and sounds of his new home. He is closely watching Leela, a 12-year-old female Sumatran tiger that Zoo staff hope to pair him with in the future.

“Heran” means “surprise” in Indonesian. Heran joins us from the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, IL. He was born at the Los Angeles Zoo in 2005.

New Bongo

BongoThe Louisville Zoo welcomed a female bongo on April 16. Born to 14-year-old Kaya and 7-year-old Watson, the calf weighed in at 40.5 pounds during its first neonatal exam on April 17. The breeding was part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which works to improve the genetic diversity of managed animal populations.  The female calf is not yet named and is not on exhibit at this time. Additional details about naming and viewing will be released soon.


Sumatran tigers are the smallest of the tiger subspecies and are found only on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Males can be between 220 and 310 pounds and females between 165 and 245 pounds. They are listed as critically endangered due to habitat loss from expansion of palm oil plantations. It is estimated that there are fewer than 400 in the remnant wild.


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 nonprofit 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).

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