LOUISVILLE, Ky. (FOX 56) – On Saturday, Jan. 22, the Louisville Zoo will be celebrating the birthdays of two of its residents, Qannik the polar bear and Helen the Western lowland gorilla.


Qannik the polar bear (Louisville Zoo)

Qannik will be celebrating his 11th birthday at 11 a.m. on Jan. 22 at the Glacier Run exhibit in the Louisville Zoo.

The polar bear was found in 2011 on Alaska’s North Slope after she was separated by her mother and sibling. The undernourished bear was rescued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

She made the Louisville Zoo her home not long after on June 28, 2011.

Although Qannik’s birth date is not known because she was born in the wild, the USFW assigned hers as Jan. 10.

Happy birthday, Qannik!


Helen the Western lowland gorilla (Louisville Zoo)

Helen is the oldest known gorilla in North America and will be celebrating her 64th birthday. Because she was born in the wild, her exact birth date is also estimated.

Helen’s age is amazing because the average age of gorillas in an Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) facility is 38.3, and in the wild is 35, she has blown that out of the water.

Her species is considered critically endangered, with only 100,000 left in the wild.

Happy birthday, Helen!

Event times:

  • 11 a.m. – Polar Bear Qannik birthday celebration at Glacier Run
  • 11:30 a.m. – Gorilla Helen birthday celebration at Gorilla Forest (media only)

Both animals will be celebrating with treats and special enrichment items at the Louisville Zoo.