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At the OKC Zoo, Go Wild!

Category: Conservation

Notes from the Field: Stephany Hernandez Recounts Guatemalan Conservation Journey

Stephany Hernandez, OKC Zoo herpetology caretaker, recently returned from a conservation journey to Guatemala. These are her notes from the field: Hi, I’m Stephany Hernandez, an animal caretaker for the herpetology department at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. My typical day starts with a visual health check of our reptiles. Depending on the day, we then might distribute salads or clean habitats. In the afternoon, we conduct a variety of husbandry tasks from bedding... Read More
at Thursday, October 10, 2019
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Go Green with New Reusable Products from Safari Gift Shop at the OKC Zoo

This summer, pledge to GO GREEN by eliminating single-use plastics like water bottles, straws and grocery bags from your day-to-day routine. New items available from Safari Gift Shop, located in the OKC Zoo entry plaza, help make achieving this goal easy and fun! Stay hydrated in style! These 32-ounce reusable Nalgene bottles are available in three colors, feature the OKC Zoo logo and three animal species (giraffe, lion, bear). $19.99 Shine with each slurp! Throw a stainless... Read More
at Thursday, June 27, 2019
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Standing Tall: Meet the OKC Zoo Giraffe Herd

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is home to three larger-than-life giraffes: Ellie, Julu and Dimetri. Guests can participate in daily giraffe feedings at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. (weather-permitting).   Ellie, 18 The matriarch of the Zoo’s giraffe herd, Ellie, 18, has a unique heart-shared pattern on her coat. She arrived at the Zoo in 2008 from her birthplace in Birmingham. Ellie is extremely food-motivated, loves to strip the browse leaves off branches and... Read More
at Thursday, June 20, 2019
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Meet Isla: OKC Zoo Welcomes Rescued Sea Lion Pup

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden recently welcomed Isla, a California sea lion pup rescued from the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, California, by Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (CIMWI). The pup who is approximately 11-months-old arrived at the OKC Zoo in mid-May. Born off the California coast, Isla was found malnourished and emaciated at the Santa Barbara Harbor in November 2018. When concerned citizens called the CIMWI Rescue Hotline, volunteers with... Read More
at Wednesday, May 22, 2019
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OKC Zoo Curator Pioneers People-First Conservation Strategy

Brad Lock is a modern-day renaissance man. In addition to being a board-certified veterinarian and a world-renown researcher, Lock is the OKC Zoo’s curator of herpetology and aquatics. Contributing to dozens of academic publications over his storied career, his work has greatly impacted animal preservation efforts throughout the world. Lock is busy blazing yet another trail: creating a new conservation method focusing on people and communities first. Lock says without the support... Read More
at Tuesday, March 26, 2019
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Simple Change Reduces Plastic Use, Saves Money at OKC Zoo

By purchasing concentrated bleach in bulk and training its staff to dilute and refill existing bottles, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is saving more than $2,000 and keeping almost 500 single-use plastic containers out of landfills each year. As part of a Zoo-wide effort to eliminate single-use plastics, Barry Downer, deputy director, identified bleach usage as an easy target for improvement. The Zoo safely uses bleach as a cleaner and disinfection in its animal... Read More
at Thursday, January 31, 2019
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OKC Zoo Joins Campaign with DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda to Educate Millions about Illegal Wildlife Trade

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is joining WildAid, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), and AZA’s program, the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (WTA), in a campaign featuring DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda’s Master Po Ping to educate children and families about the illegal wildlife trade. The OKC Zoo is one of more than fifteen AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums across the United States that will host a series of video messages, billboards, and posters at its... Read More
at Friday, January 18, 2019
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Hold the Straw, Please... OKC Zoo Staff Join Plastic-Free Challenge

We touch things made of plastic hundreds of times in our daily lives. Plastic is so common that most people think nothing of using a plastic item once, and then tossing it away. How many plastic bags, straws, lids, bottles, forks, cups have you used once and thrown away? The average American throws away 185 pounds of plastic a year. That’s half a pound of plastic a day from every one of us! Only 8 percent of the plastic used in the U.S. is recycled. The rest ends up in landfills or is... Read More
at Wednesday, August 29, 2018
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Recycled Flip-Flop Artwork Supports Ocean Conservation

Guests visiting Safari Gifts in the Oklahoma City Zoo’s entry plaza may have noticed the bounty of “green” gifts available, including artwork from Ocean Sole. These psychedelic pieces are made entirely from recycled flip-flops that have washed ashore from the oceans and waterways in Kenya. These flip-flops create an environment disaster for marine life on the coast and in the ocean. Not only do these works of art serve as conversational centerpieces, but they... Read More
at Monday, July 30, 2018
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Stand Together for Giraffes on World Giraffe Day

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has slate of activities and events on-tap for World Giraffe Day on Thursday, June 21. World Giraffe Day, presented by Bob Moore Subaru , is a worldwide celebration initiated by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to generate support, raise awareness and bring attention to the challenges giraffes face in the wild. On June 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Zoo guests will have an opportunity participate in event activities that focus on giraffe and... Read More
at Friday, June 15, 2018
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Conservation Partner Update: Giant Armadillo Conservation Program

Conservation Action Round-Up Engagement (CARE) grants provide full-time Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden staff members the opportunity to identify and fund conservation projects that they believe are worthy of the Zoo’s support. One of the 2016 grantees was the  Giant Armadillo Conservation Program , receiving $5,000. The project established the first long-term ecological study of giant armadillos in the Pantanal wetland and is now expanding to other parts of Brazil. ... Read More
at Monday, May 21, 2018
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New at the OKC Zoo: Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Now Active, Free to Guests

Guests visiting the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden can now charge their vehicles at no cost at one of three charging stations located along the northwest side of the recently renovated parking lot. These spaces are reserved for Zoo guests driving electric or e-assist vehicles and are located just a few steps away from the main entrance. In addition to the charging stations, the recently renovated parking lot features highly efficient LED lighting and native, drought-resistant... Read More
at Monday, April 23, 2018
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OKC Zoo Joins Global Effort to Save Giraffes

Giraffes are experiencing a “silent” extinction crisis. Until recently, they were considered common throughout much of their African range and their numbers were not being well-monitored. In the last five years, however, experts from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group compiled population data and discovered that the wild giraffe population has declined by 40 percent in the last 30 years. Habitat destruction and poaching... Read More
at Thursday, April 5, 2018
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Birthday Parties and Events at the OKC Zoo Moving Toward Zero Waste Goal

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has been a favorite birthday party destination for decades. With a variety of locations for gatherings throughout the OKC Zoo and options for groups of almost any size, it’s a wild place to celebrate with friends and family. And now, the goal is to make these celebrations zero waste events. Plates, cups and flatware at the Zoo’s birthday parties are now made completely of compostable materials. Eventually, these biodegradable materials... Read More
at Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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OKC Zoo Curator to Lead First Monarch Meetup

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens is partnering with Okies for Monarchs to present Monarch Meetup , a community education event, on Tuesday, March 13 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Hideaway Pizza in Norman . Dr. Rebecca Snyder, OKC Zoo Curator and Oklahoma Monarch & Pollinator Collaborative member, will provide information about the critical role pollinators play in maintaining healthy ecosystems and explain how all Oklahomans can join the statewide effort to increase habitat for... Read More
at Tuesday, March 6, 2018
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OKC Zoo Team Reports on Kenya Conservation Journey, Part 1

Amy Hofmeister, elephant caretaker, and Gretchen Cole, veterinarian, spent two weeks in Kenya assisting the Grevy’s Zebra Trust  census of endangered Grevy’s zebras. The Trust received a grant from the OKC Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation fund to support their program that employs members of local communities to monitor and collect data on the zebras year-round. In part one of a two-part blog series, Amy Hofmeister shares her experience from Kenya. Citizen Science... Read More
at Monday, February 26, 2018
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OKC Zoo Team Reports on Zimbabwe Conservation Journey, Part 2

Starting in 2017, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden partnered with the Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT) to support their conservation mission. The PDRT director, Dr. Greg Rasmussen, has worked for almost two decades protecting and studying the African painted dog, an endangered species with fewer than 7,000 left in the wild. To further support the PDRT, the Zoo sent two employees on a conservation trip to Zimbabwe in November to participate in research and (attempt) to track and... Read More
at Friday, January 26, 2018
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Trumpeting the Cause for Wetlands

New to the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Gardens this past summer were a family group of Trumpeter Swans. On public view at the waterfowl ponds near the front entrance are an adult pair (white plumage) and their fully grown offspring (called a cygnet, gray plumage for the first year). The mating pair, Sam and Olivia, and their male cygnet, hatched in June 2017, were actually my families’ personal swans who made the journey to OKC with us when we moved here after I accepted the... Read More
at Friday, December 22, 2017
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Oklahoma Conservation Leadership Academy

I am very fortunate to be a member of the Oklahoma Conservation Leadership Academy (OCLA) this year. OCLA was created by The Nature Conservancy’s Oklahoma Chapter (TNC-OK) to bring engaged, creative and active people from around the state together to learn about science-based conservation and how they can become conservation stewards in their community and beyond. OCLA is a yearlong program consisting of workshops, field trips, meetings and socials. The 2017-2018 program kicked off... Read More
at Monday, September 18, 2017
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Lizard Lab: OKC Zoo Welcomes Texas Horned Lizard Hatchlings

Twenty-two lizard hatchlings are currently being hand-raised by the OKC Zoo’s reptile and amphibian department in partnership with several key organizations, to gain more information on reptile translocation techniques that can be shared with other conservation partners.  Zoo Curator, Stacey Sekscienski, took the time to answer 11 riveting questions about this crucial research.  Why is the OKC Zoo involved in... Read More
at Monday, August 14, 2017
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Okie-native Saves Wildlife One Photo at a Time

National Geographic photographer, speaker and founder of the Photo Ark, Joel Sartore, arrived at the Oklahoma City Zoo on July 14 with camera in-hand at 7:30 a.m., prepared for a weekend of photographing rare animals and sharing a preview of his PBS docu-series, “RARE: Creatures of the Photo Ark.” About Photo Ark  Photo Ark was created in 2005 after Joel’s wife, Kathy, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. His career as a National Geographic photographer... Read More
at Tuesday, July 25, 2017
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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