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Find the Explorer in You

Don’t Worry! Be Happy Like Our Pygmy Hippo!

Wolee came to the Oklahoma City Zoo in 1999. He is 42 years old and the second oldest pygmy hippo living in North American zoo populations. As a long-time resident of the Zoo, he spends his days relaxing in his wallow, lounging by the pool or taking a dip in the water to cool off. In colder weather, Wolee may be inside the Pachyderm building investigating pool toys or sleeping on his cozy hay bed. As his caretaker, I like for his enrichment to include balls that both sink and float, unusual... Read More
at Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ginger the Bison Walks Down Memory Lane With Early Morning Stroll Outside Of Primary Habitat

At approximately 10:15 a.m. on Saturday February 11 th the Oklahoma City Zoo’s 16-year-old American bison, Ginger, took a leisurely stroll beyond her primary enclosure to explore her old stomping grounds, not accessible to the public, a few yards away. Ginger, who’s well known for her mellow disposition, had no involvement with Zoo visitors and was led back to her primary habitat a short while later. The Zoo’s Animal Hoofstock and Guest Services teams were immediately... Read More
at Saturday, February 11, 2017

Zoo Supports Organization that Protects Only Thriving Ape Species

Founded on the ground-breaking research of one woman in 1967, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) celebrates its 50 th anniversary this year. Dian Fossey gained worldwide recognition for her work to protect and study mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Africa, before her untimely death. Her book, “Gorillas in the Mist,” published in 1983 gives an account of her years in the rainforest with the mountain gorillas and underscores the need for concerted conservation efforts. A... Read More
at Wednesday, February 1, 2017

New Herpetarium Exhibits Promise Tropical Temps

New Digs and New Faces: Winter News from the Reptile and Amphibian Department While this time of year may have you reluctant to visit the zoo because of the colder weather, the warm and toasty environments of the Herpetarium, Island life, and Big Rivers buildings will encourage you to learn about and observe all of our cold-blooded and unique animal residents within. You’ve probably seen many changes to both our Herpetarium building and our animal collection over the past few months.... Read More
at Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Birth of Endangered Kitten Brings "Ocelot" of Fun

New Endearing Ocelot Kitten also an Endangered Species This adorable, new ocelot kitten was born at the Zoo on December 27, 2016. Its birth was a “purr”fect start to a new year at the Zoo and a roaring addition to its species, namely because less than 100 ocelots exist in the wild, including some that have been spotted in south Texas. The Zoo keepers named the male kitten Ignacio (Igg-NAH-see-o), born to 12-year-old mom Pinga and 12-year-old dad Pitu. This birth celebrates... Read More
at Wednesday, February 1, 2017

From Australia to Oklahoma: Negara’s 10,000-Mile Journey

After a two-year process, the Oklahoma City Zoo has welcomed home 23-year-old, female Sumatran orangutan Negara. The Zoo had to apply for permits from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, while Australia had to follow its government’s permitting protocol.  Almost a full year passed before both permits for Negara’s move were approved.  Laura Bottaro, OKC zoological curator, worked diligently with colleagues to write Negara’s permit and a company that specializes in... Read More
at Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Not All Zoos are Created Equal

Imagine a world where all people believed in a better future for all living things. Now, envision yourself at the Oklahoma City Zoo, surrounded by passionate animal keepers, happy horticulturists and inspired guests who all respect, value and conserve wildlife and wild places. This ideal is the principal goal of the Zoo and its accrediting organization, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). What Does it Mean to be Accredited?  Accreditation is awarded through a stringent... Read More
at Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Big Project in Search of Some Little Frogs

The following travel diary entries were written by Josh Lucas, one of the Zoo’s amphibian and reptile caretakers. On behalf of the Zoo, he traveled more than 2,800 miles to work with one of its conservation partner organizations, Jatun Sacha, in Ecuador. Read and be transported to the depths of the wet and wild rainforest where much is still undiscovered and unearthed.  Entry: 1/5/2017  Hello! I’m currently writing to you from the center of the world! I’m... Read More
at Saturday, January 21, 2017

Zoo Pledges to Benefit Local Lands and Waters

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Oklahoma City Zoo recently formed a legacy conservation partnership to support scientific research conducted at TNC preserves in Oklahoma. The Zoo established a science and research fund with TNC that the Zoo will contribute to annually over the next five years. Funds for the partnership are primarily generated from the Oklahoma Zoological Society and the sale of ZOOfriends’ memberships.  “Oklahoma is a beautiful, unique state that is... Read More
at Thursday, January 19, 2017

In Memory of Moe

If I had to choose just one animal at the Oklahoma City Zoo that stands out as giving joy to literally millions of guests through the years, it would be our California sea lion, Moe. Sadly, however, Moe passed away Tuesday, January, 17, due to age-related health conditions. Moe was 30 years old and lived well beyond a sea lion’s median life expectancy of 23 years. Early Life Born in May 1986, he came to the Zoo from the Tulsa Zoo at just nine months old, so I had known Moe since... Read More
at Tuesday, January 17, 2017

More Than A Zoo

Although the Zoo takes pride in being the number one recreation destination in Oklahoma, the Zoo has a broader mission. As a conservation organization, the Zoo strives to help stop and reverse the rapid decline of species and habitats locally and globally. Ways the Zoo Helps: You might be wondering how the Zoo can really make a difference on such a big planet with big challenges? The Zoo focuses on several areas that have long-term impacts: 1) Participating in cooperative breeding... Read More
at Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Zoo Animals Safe and Sound during Holidays

A common question we are asked this time of year is, “What happens to the animals when the Zoo is closed?” First, the Zoo is only scheduled to close three days each year: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days. However, just because the Zoo is closed to the public so our staff can enjoy some quality family time, a team still arrives at 8 a.m. and remains until noon to clean and feed the animals. Depending on the weather, some animals may choose to go outside for a few... Read More
at Thursday, January 5, 2017

Birds of Many Feathers Will Flock Together

Anyone who has remodeled a house knows that you most always run into the unexpected. The recent remodel of the Zoo’s Dan Moran Aviary has been no exception. First, we carefully moved more than 30 birds to a Zoo holding area called overwintering, where the birds--from small passerines (or songbirds such as tanagers and cardinals), waterfowl, gamebirds, doves, turacos and shorebirds—can temporarily live during cold months. One of the projects included tearing out and rebuilding a... Read More
at Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Breeding: A Natural Behavior that Supports Well-being

Breeding and reproduction are important, natural behaviors and normal aspects of the lifecycle for all animals. At the Oklahoma City Zoo, we support the natural breeding behavior of our Asian elephant herd, as it promotes the physical health of the animals and a quality well-being. This quality of life for elephants is best experienced in a natural social structure involving a mixed herd of several different generations. At the Zoo, the elephants engage in natural breeding behavior. The... Read More
at Monday, December 26, 2016

Eat Your Vegetables

If your children find it hard to like and eat nutritious leafy greens, just tell them to act like a fish! The Zoo’s aquarium fish actually love leafy greens. In fact, romaine lettuce is their food of choice. They also enjoy bok choy, collards and kale. Most of the leafy greens are delivered to the Aquarium by the Zoo’s commissary team. But to encourage this passion for plants, the aquarium team custom built a small aquaponics system so the Zoo could grow some of its own leafy... Read More
at Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Biggest Feet in the Zoo

The Oklahoma City Zoo’s elephant program encompasses daily feedings, exercises, baths enrichment activities and health checks. As a part of the elephant team, I enjoy doing footwork on the elephants the most. Footwork is a very important part of keeping our elephants healthy. Everyday during each elephant’s morning bath, we hose off and inspect their feet for any problems. An elephant’s foot pad is like a giant shock absorber that enables them to walk, swim, climb, stomp on... Read More
at Sunday, December 18, 2016

Winter on the Wild Side

Ever wonder where the animals go when the weather gets cold?  The Oklahoma City Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals which originate from all over the world.  These parts of the world experience different temperatures and climates. Oklahoma can get cold during the winter but, in comparison to some parts of the United States and the world, our state is considered to have usually mild winters.  Our caretakers ensure that the Zoo’s animals have structures or shelters... Read More
at Friday, December 16, 2016

Phoenix Dives in Deep

Phoenix , our California sea lion pup, was born earlier this year on June 25, weighing in at a whopping 15 pounds. In only five months, she has more than tripled her weight. Sea lion pups usually gain one to two pounds per week, so she is right on track! Her parents, Xander and Pearl, were rescues, which is important to the zoological community because their genetics were not represented… until  Phoenix  was born! Pups are well developed at birth. They can see, vocalize... Read More
at Monday, December 12, 2016

Partnership Works to Save Wild Populations in Africa

The wild populations of many iconic African species are declining rapidly because of habitat loss and poaching. The local communities that share space with these species are also struggling to survive. The OKC Zoo is helping these animals and people through a multi-year partnership with the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) in Kenya.  NRT is an umbrella organization that aims to establish resilient community conservancies that transform lives, secure peace, and conserve natural... Read More
at Thursday, December 8, 2016

It’s a Boy!

It’s a Boy! After almost fifteen months Ellie, a 16-year-old giraffe has given birth to her fifth calf and second son! The little one arrived overnight on December 5, 2016. All babies are cherished but this “little” guy holds a special spot in our hearts. Sadly his beloved father Bogy passed away last winter so it is wonderful to welcome his heir into our herd. He joins big sister Julu who turned one in June. I look forward to watching the siblings run and play. The... Read More
at Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Fight Against Extinction

How Will Our Animals Survive? Just how will zoo animals survive so that future generations continue to care and learn about, and enjoy these complex creatures? Well, there’s a big blueprint for that! It’s called the Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The SSP programs were developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to help oversee the husbandry and breeding management and, as a result, the sustainability of select animal species within AZA-member institutions, such... Read More
at Monday, December 5, 2016

Xena’s Big Delivery of Fourteen Painted Pups

While alpha male, Dojo, stood guard outside the den box in the early morning hours of November 17, Xena, our female African painted dog, began giving birth to her fourth litter of critically endangered pups. Throughout the delivery, the exact number of pups was a mystery to Zoo staff as they monitored Xena’s progress on remote cameras. After two days of active labor, they confirmed that Xena had given birth to 14 painted pups! Xena has become an experienced and doting mother.... Read More
at Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bamboo, The Beloved Grandma of our Herd

Bamboo, the Asian elephant, is the oldest of our herd at 49 years old.  That’s pretty good considering the median lifespan of an Asian elephant is 47 years!   Bamboo is the grandma of our herd and with that comes some extra care and considerations.  All of the elephants begin their day with a bath in which the keepers check their entire body from trunk to tail, and Bamboo is no exception.  This is the time where she gets to spend one-on-one time with her keepers... Read More
at Sunday, November 27, 2016

Special Training Keeps Elephants Fit and Fabulous

Elephants are magnificent creatures and have many facets. One of those facets is their intelligence level. Elephants are one of the smartest animals on the planet, which enables us to create a respectable relationship with them. As trainers, we are given the opportunity to observe their intelligence on a daily basis through volunteer-type training where they have the freedom to choose to participate. This training enables us, as their caretakers, to mentally and physically stimulate them. Every... Read More
at Saturday, November 12, 2016

Achara, our extremely playful and incredibly curious elephant

Achara, the Oklahoma City Zoo’s nearly two-year-old baby elephant, is not only extremely playful but also incredibly curious. Today, November 11, that sense of curiosity turned to mischief when she, to her zookeepers’ surprise, safely squeezed her 2,070-pound body through an 18-inch-wide steel cable perimeter and grazed on the other side of the fence. A Zoo team member saw her and immediately notified the elephant team. A few minutes later she squeezed back through to be with her... Read More
at Friday, November 11, 2016

Answer the Call to Save Gorillas

Oklahoma City Zoo, conservation is in our nature. Is it in yours? The Zoo is looking to the community-at-large to help save gorillas by donating old or used cell phones to the Give for Gorillas Cell Phone Challenge. Schools, organizations, businesses or individuals are encouraged to collect as many cell phones and electronics as they can from now through November 30, in support of gorilla conservation. The individual who collect the most cell phones will win the ultimate Zoo prize and, of... Read More
at Friday, November 11, 2016

Behind Closed Doors

It’s not often that our big Reticulated python gets to wander the halls of the Herpetarium at the OKC Zoo but sometimes it is the only way to move her from one location to  another, or  just to let her stretch and explore.  Her massive size of over 20 feet long at nearly  140 pounds , combined with “I want to be left alone”  attitude, preclude  one from simply putting her in a box and toting her around.   Visitors  who... Read More
at Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Lorikeets Behind the Explorikeet Adventure

The Explorikeet experience offers a unique opportunity for guests to feed and serve as human perches for our flock of colorful lorikeets.   But where did all our beautiful birds come from? Some were hatched here at the zoo and some came from other zoos. Our breeder pair has a cozy space and nest box for privacy and comfort, which helps them care for their eggs and chicks. When the babies are a few weeks old, we transfer them to... Read More
at Monday, October 17, 2016

Have a Birthday Party at the Zoo

Happy Birthday to you, from the whole zoo! Birthday parties are a truly memorable experience when you have them at the Oklahoma City Zoo! The zoo’s education department offers experiential party packages that will be sure to delight children of all ages. Guests enjoy a meet-and-greet with two animal ambassadors before heading off to one of three animal encounter destinations. Whether your kiddo is feeding our fluffy sheep, holding nectar for our rainbow lorikeets, or interacting with... Read More
at Friday, October 14, 2016

Global Conference on Elephant Care Comes to Oklahoma City

Elephants have been a passion of mine since I first saw one at the San Diego Zoo when I was a child.  From that point, I knew I wanted to help save wildlife and wild places.  I started my career at the Virginia Zoo in 2002 working with African elephants Monica, Lisa and Cita. In 2006, I joined the team at the Oklahoma City Zoo to work with their two female Asian elephants Chandra and Asha, and I haven’t looked back. Over the years, the Zoo’s elephant herd has grown... Read More
at Tuesday, October 11, 2016

National Wolf Awareness Week at the OKC Zoo

In case you didn’t know, it’s National Wolf Awareness Week (Oct 9-15) and the OKC Zoo happens to have two spectacular Mexican Gray wolves.  Mexican Gray wolves are endangered with less than a hundred living in the wild in Arizona and about 300 in human care. The OKC Zoo is honored to have one male named  “Wild Bill” born in 2005 and one female named “Corazon” born in 2004.   Mexican Grey wolves are not necessarily gray but rather a... Read More
at Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dan Moran Aviary to be Renovated

The OKC Zoo’s bird department is excited about its newest project starting this Fall -  the renovation of the Dan Moran Aviary.  After the annual Haunt the Zoo event on October 31, we will be closing the aviary and all of the birds will be moved off exhibit for the internal renovation. Thanks to the support of the Dan Moran family, we will change the aviary from one single exhibit where the birds moved throughout the building into four distinct exhibits allowing us to better... Read More
at Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Feed the Giraffes

In addition to seeing thousands of amazing animals from around the world at the Oklahoma City Zoo, guests also have the chance to feed some of them – including our giraffes!  Giraffes are what we call browsers; that means they eat leaves, bark, and green stems from plants.  They spend up to 75 percent of their day browsing!  Right by the giraffe exhibit we have a feeding platform where guests have the opportunity to meet our giraffes and feed them browse, the... Read More
at Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Wilder The Better: Zoo Animal Painting Techniques

Giraffes, gorillas, sea lions, stingrays, red river hogs, bears, tigers and more! The Zoo’s Art Gone Wild animal art show features original art pieces painted by a variety of animal ambassadors during voluntary enrichment sessions that address an animal's social, psychological and physical needs. Have you ever wondered what techniques our featured animal artists use to get artsy at the Zoo? Here at the wildest place in Oklahoma City, our animals create artwork with a wild style to... Read More
at Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dedication to Nature's Winged Wonders

One of North America’s greatest migrations is taking place now and Oklahoma is the place to be to witness it. Monarch butterflies are making their way south to their overwintering grounds in central Mexico. You may have seen some of the early arrivals in the last couple of weeks. The largest numbers of monarchs are expected to move through Oklahoma from September 24 to October 6. During the migration, it’s possible to see a cloud of monarchs pass by or to see a tree branch... Read More
at Friday, September 23, 2016

Wasabi the Red Panda Cub

Wasabi, Sabi for short, was born on July 3 at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden to mom Jaya and dad Lhotse. Since her birth, she has continued to grow at a healthy pace. At three days old, Sabi weighed 110 grams (.24 pounds) and now weighs 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds)! It takes three to four months for Red pandas to mature and adapt to their environment, so Sabi has enjoyed spending the first few months of her life bonding with mom. However, as time has passed, Sabi has become more and... Read More
at Thursday, September 22, 2016

No Two Elephants Are The Same

When it comes to the Oklahoma City Zoo’s six Asian elephants one thing is for certain, they are all different. Different personalities, eating habits, likes and dislikes, and it’s up to us, their caretakers, to know everything we can about these amazing animals entrusted in our care. A typical day for an elephant caretaker entails more than just feeding and cleaning up after the elephants. We give them daily baths (we check each elephant from trunk to tail to ensure everything... Read More
at Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Promise to Elephants

Last October, I experienced one of the worst days of my life. Thinking about the loss of our elephant calf, Malee, still gets me emotional. Losing her was similar to losing a family member. Nearly one year later, I’m proud to share the Oklahoma City Zoo is making an unprecedented commitment to the health of our elephants. Our zoo will be the first in the country with the capability to conduct critical veterinary testing on site for a virus that affects elephants. This will provide... Read More
at Friday, September 16, 2016

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