Trunkline Magazine (Louisville Zoo) Trunkline Magazine: September 2017 | Page 4

"How and why do you move a 415 pound gorilla?" It Takes More than a Zoo! By Heather Dishon, C ommunications C oordinator When animals move to and from the Louisville Zoo, it can be both exciting and mystifying. Why did the animals get moved? How in the world did such a large animal like a gorilla get transported? Hearing these questions from guests as I walk through the Zoo, I recall feel- ing the same wonder and puzzle- ment a few years ago when I first started working here. I hope to help you understand the why and how of it all by sharing some behind- the-scenes views plus some of the reasons for moving endangered animals to and from other zoos. One of our most recent de- partures was Mshindi, our male silverback western lowland gorilla. The 30-year-old gorilla came to the Louisville Zoo in 2005 from St. Louis, and as many of you know, he fathered the now one-year-old go- rilla Kindi. Mshindi was transferred Top of Page Gorilla Mishidi at the Louisville Zoo to another AZA-accredited facility in July of 2017. In his place, the charismatic Casey arrived, a handsome 35-year- old gorilla from Audubon Zoo that has joined the nine other gorillas in Gorilla Forest. As Communications Co- ordinator, I’ve seen my share of animals come and go. But even after almost two years, I’m still learning many things about the amazing and very complex inner workings of zoos. However, I know that when animals like Mshindi and Casey are moved between Associa- tion of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions, it’s due to the needs of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), in this case, the SSP for western lowland gorillas. SSPs are designed and managed by a group of experts within and 4 • Louisville Zoo Trunkline • Fall 2017 Gorilla Casey at Audubon Zoo outside the AZA universe of 231 ac- credited zoos and aquariums (more on this later). Each SSP is a highly coordinated effort to manage many threatened or endangered species, to facilitate healthy and genetically diverse populations in managed care