LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The Louisville Zoo is celebrating a big birthday this weekend and zoo staff want you to join the party!
Helen the gorilla is turning 55 and the zoo is celebrating Saturday complete with cake and a song. Heitzman’s Traditional Bakery and Catering is providing the banana cake that will be filled with fresh fruit and topped with whipped icing.
The celebration is Sat. Jan. 19 at the Gorilla Forest. The cake will be served to Helen at 11 a.m. - staff and guests will sing as the cake is presented.
Click here for more information about the Louisville Zoo, including admission prices.
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 Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ 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 gorilla’s 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.