Seneca Park Zoo Animal Update Spotted Hyena: Lou

August 6, 2019

As many Seneca Park Zoo guests may have noticed in recent months, Lou the spotted hyena has been spending more time in the behind-the-scenes area of his habitat. At nearly 27 years of age, Lou is the oldest known hyena in human care and has already exceeded his median life expectancy of 21 years.

Lou has been receiving treatment for age-related conditions including degenerative joint disease, dental disease, cancer, and cataracts in both eyes that significantly limit his vision and affect his ability to move around his habitat and eat without assistance.

Lou’s cancer was cured with surgery, his dental disease was treated through ultrasonic cleanings and extractions, and his joint disease is being managed with daily medications.

Two months ago, Lou underwent cataract removal and lens replacement in one eye in an unprecedented attempt to improve his vision and quality of life. A team of zookeepers, veterinary staff, and local medical professionals provided intensive care following this procedure including administering drops in Lou’s eye four times a day over a period of weeks. Unfortunately, the eye became infected and ultimately had to be removed, last week. Lou is recovering at this time, and given poor sight in the other eye, we are doing everything we can to ensure his physical and mental well-being.

Lou was born at the Buffalo Zoo in 1992 and came to Seneca Park Zoo in 1999. He amazes and inspires animal care staff and guests alike by his gentle grace and keen intelligence.

We are encouraged by Lou’s recovery from his most recent surgery and are cautiously optimistic for his quality of life. In recent days, he has enjoyed more time in his outdoor habitat and has been interacting with guests, again. We will continue to monitor Lou’s well-being over the next weeks and months, providing him with quality care, positive enrichment and the choice of being in his outdoor habitat or behind-the-scenes.