Category: Conservation Efforts
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
McKinly Dortch is a senior Environmental Science major at Oklahoma State University. This summer, she served as the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden's sustainability intern. She documented efforts to help remove plastic waste and other debris from Zoo Lake.
For the second time this year, OKC Zoo employees came together to clean the debris, much of it single-use plastic, out of Northeast Lake (also known as Zoo Lake). The housekeeping team led the lake clean-up and many...
at Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Monday, August 26, 2019
McKinley Dortch is a senior Environmental Science major at Oklahoma State University. This summer, she served as the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden's sustainability intern. Dortch documented her work assisting in internal waste audits.
Growing up in Edmond, some of my favorite memories were playing in creeks and being in nature. Fast forward to college I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I kept coming back to wanting to do something for the environment. There are...
at Monday, August 26, 2019
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden wants YOU to kick your single-use plastic habitat as part of a global “Plastic Free July” challenge. Plastic items like grocery bags, straws and coffee cups are creating huge ecological harm, especially in oceans and other aquatic habitats. This includes our streams, rivers and lakes in Oklahoma where plastic trash is a common sight.
As of July 1, the Zoo’s 145-member “Plastic Free July” team is in 12 th place out...
at Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Monday, April 15, 2019
OKC Zoo Assistant Birds Curator Holly Ray shares her conservation field work experience rescuing flamingos in South Africa...
In January, a severe drought dried out Kamfers Dam which is located in Kimberly, South Africa. Kamfers Dam is a very important breeding site for lesser flamingos, it is the location of one of only four lesser flamingo breeding sites in Africa. Due to the lack of water at the dam, adult flamingos abandoned their nests leaving nearly 2,000 eggs and flamingo...
at Monday, April 15, 2019
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
While it is certainly true that many species of birds in North America fly to warmer climates when the temperatures begin to drop, there are still many more that stay at their homes year-round! This February, I was lucky enough to join three Zoo employees and three employees from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) on a conservation journey to Robbers Cave State Park and James Collins Wildlife Management Area in Eastern Oklahoma...
at Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Last month, the OKC Zoo received a field research update from University of Oklahoma graduate student Elyse Ellsworth who the Zoo is funding to study Central American river turtles (aka hicatee) in Belize. Elyse is capturing wild hicatee and placing radio-transmitters on them to track their movements. This is not easy to do considering these turtles spend most of their time underwater – making them hard to find and hard to track because the transmitter only sends data when...
at Thursday, February 28, 2019
Thursday, January 31, 2019
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...
at Thursday, January 31, 2019
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
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...
at Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Monday, August 13, 2018
“Would you like to Round Up for Conservation?”
Guests at the OKC Zoo have become accustomed to hearing that phrase when they purchase a ticket, an item at the gift shop or a meal at one of the Zoo’s food and beverage locations. But what does it mean and how does it help fulfill the Zoo’s mission to connect people and the world’s vanishing wildlife and wild places?
Round Up for Conservation is a grassroots program created to allow Zoo guests to become...
at Monday, August 13, 2018
Monday, July 9, 2018
Two monarchs tagged at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden last fall were recovered in Mexico! One was a male tagged on Oct 2, 2017 and found on Feb 20, 2018 in El Rosario. The second, a female tagged on Oct 5, 2017, was found on Feb 10, 2018 in Sierra Chincua. The OKC Zoo Education and Horticulture teams dedicated many hours over a three week period last fall to tag 60 total monarchs. The total number of tag recoveries was 928. It’s amazing that two of those were from the OKC Zoo!...
at Monday, July 9, 2018
Monday, June 18, 2018
Saving the world's vanishing wildlife and wild places is a monumental task no matter which way you look at it. As hard as we try, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens is not able to achieve this goal alone. Luckily we have amazing conservation legacy partners that we work with, both locally and globally, that help us fight for the species and habitats that are incapable of fighting for themselves. One of those partners is the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) which works to prevent...
at Monday, June 18, 2018
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
In April, over 10,000 critically endangered radiated tortoises were discovered by local police in a private residence in Madagascar. Nearly every room in the house was filled with tortoises without access to food or water. It is believed that the tortoises were collected for the illegal pet trade, likely for shipment to Asia where the tortoises’ highly-domed shell, featuring a brilliant star pattern, makes them incredibly valuable. The Turtle Survival...
at Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Friday, May 11, 2018
When Kevin Drees, director of animal collections, joined the Oklahoma City Zoo last year, he didn’t just relocate his wife and children to the Sooner state, he also brought a family of trumpeter swans. The bonded pair, Sam and Olivia, and their unnamed male cygnet, hatched in June 2017, were his families’ personal swans who had long-inhabited a lake on their property.
On Thursday, May 10, 2018, the male cygnet, just shy of his first birthday, was released into the wild as part of...
at Friday, May 11, 2018
Monday, April 23, 2018
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...
at Monday, April 23, 2018
Thursday, April 5, 2018
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...
at Thursday, April 5, 2018
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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...
at Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
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 this second and final part of a blog series, Dr. Gretchen Cole shares her experience from Kenya.
at Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Monday, January 22, 2018
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...
at Monday, January 22, 2018
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Tracking Down the Elusive Builder of Burrows
Most of us in the southern and southeastern United States are familiar with the armadillo. While the smaller, nine-banded armadillo is thriving and expanding across much of the country, its lesser-known relative, the giant armadillo, is facing threats to survival in its native habitat across South America. The Oklahoma City Zoo is proud to support conservation biologist Dr. Arnaud Desbiez and the Giant Armadillo Conservation Program to help study...
at Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Friday, March 24, 2017
We are inundated with them. Surveys on the phone, online and even in the mall. But surveys can help us determine populations, income, poverty, housing and more. This data tracks the health of people groups and living conditions, various consumer and eating habits, and a host of other demographic and economic trends.
Partners Team Up to Count
Did you know that many of the world’s conservation efforts depend on surveys? Surveys provide the information we need to properly care for...
at Friday, March 24, 2017
Thursday, January 19, 2017
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...
at Thursday, January 19, 2017