Visit BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo Newest Attraction - Sapo Springs!

Visit BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo Newest Attraction - Sapo Springs!

If you’re a long-time member at the zoo, then you know our pygmy hippos, Ginger, age 17, and Spencer, age 28, have been a part of our zoo family for years, yet their previous exhibit was dated and made it difficult to experience them frolicking in the water – which is a large part of their daily activities.

The Baton Rouge Zoo recently opened Sapo Springs, A West African Expedition, a state-of-the-art habitat for not only our pygmy hippos but also our colobus monkeys, which are native to the same region in Africa. Adjoining this habitat the new African aviary features a variety of endangered birds from the region, as well. These include Abdim’s Stork, Lappet-Faced Vultures and Sacred Ibis. Soon colorful African fish called cichlids – an endangered species – will also live in the water with the hippos and help maintain the biological load a healthy water system needs.

But perhaps the biggest change you’ll notice is the connection you might make with them during your visit – now you get the opportunity to come face-to-face with these magnificent creatures! This new habitat features an underwater viewing structure where you can walk alongside the hippos as they skip along the water's floor. Spencer and Ginger are not shy underwater and are known to come right up to the glass for amazing selfies and photographic moments.

Sapo Springs is about more than just Instagram-worthy snapshots and family memories – it’s also about exposure to a world that many of us may never get the opportunity to experience. The hope is that making our guests and members aware of the plight of these endangered species will help guide our paths with future decisions that could help save them.

To ensure an educational & culturally immersive experience, we’ve been working with students from Southern University who call these regions home to help us prepare future cultural signage and artwork for the exhibit.  Our goal is to tell a story about how their varied cultures relate to wild animals, nature and conservation.

This exhibit design helps the zoo to continue the process of moving from a Taxonomic display model to a Zoogeographical display model. The goal is to create a small piece of the environment that’s specific to different regions around the world.

Conservation is at the heart of the Baton Rouge Zoo’s mission. Equatorial West African forests and swamps are losing prime habitat due to logging and soil erosion dumping silt into the rivers and waterways. These actions are choking off habitat for the pygmy hippos and many species in these regions. As you watch the animals so closely in their natural environment, we hope to bring to awareness the plight that the hippos currently face.

We invite you to join us this summer at the Baton Rouge Zoo to explore and learn about the pygmy hippos, colobus monkeys and hundreds of other species that live here!

Click HERE to pre-purchase your tickets to visit the Zoo and experience this amazing new exhibit in person!