Tuesday, July 16, 2019
As the result of a debilitating spinal condition and associated loss of mobility, African lioness Tia, 19, was humanely euthanized at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden on Saturday, July 13, at approximately 10 a.m.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) reports the median life expectancy for African lions in human care is 16.9 years. The life expectancy for the species in the wild is between 10 and 14 years.
In addition to typical age-related ailments...
at Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Friday, July 5, 2019
Leading up to World Chimp Day on Sunday, July 14, meet the seven chimpanzees that call the OKC Zoo home: Mwami, Kito, Cindy, Kirsty, Zoe, Ruben, and Siri. Guests may attend a keeper chat at 1:30 p.m. each day at the outdoor or indoor Great EscApe chimpanzee habitat.
The dominant male of the group, 30-year-old Mwami is the largest of the seven chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are very social animals and have a hierarchy, a social order, maintained among them. As such, Mwami may be...
at Friday, July 5, 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, July 1, 2019
OKC Zoo animal caretaker and giraffe superfan Jesse Knoll recapped this year's World Giraffe Day festivities...
The Oklahoma City Zoo celebrated World Giraffe Day on Friday, June 21, 2019. This global event, sponsored locally by Bob Moore Subaru, celebrates giraffes and helps bring awareness to the challenges giraffes are facing in the wild. I had the pleasure of working the activity booth for the event, offering several activities that the guests could participate in. One...
at Monday, July 1, 2019
Thursday, June 27, 2019
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...
at Thursday, June 27, 2019
On Thursday, June 20, one of the Oklahoma City Zoo’s female Pere David’s deer, Kate, 7, underwent a veterinary exam at the Zoo’s Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital because she was showing signs of lameness and decreased mobility. During the exam, the veterinary team took several radiographs and learned that Kate had fractured her femur on the right side. Unfortunately, surgery was not option to repair the femur and the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize Kate on...
Thursday, June 20, 2019
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).
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...
at Thursday, June 20, 2019
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Enrichment is “the action of improving or enhancing the quality of something”. Animal caretakers at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden use enrichment to enhance the quality of an animal’s habitat to ensure high animal welfare. Many of our guests have seen Zoo caretakers add toys, feeders, ice treats or scents to encourage our animals’ natural abilities and ensure they have different opportunities throughout the day.
However, various animals have...
at Thursday, June 13, 2019
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
When it comes to animal health concerns – there is no ‘lion’ around at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
During a morning body check in March, the Zoo’s carnivore care team observed a prominent squint in the left eye of 19-year-old lioness, Tia. Upon noticing this change in her health, Tia’s care team took immediate action and contacted the Zoo’s veterinary team to arrange an evaluation.
Zoo veterinarians evaluated Tia’s left eye and...
at Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
As part of the OKC Zoo's inaugural Date Nights event series every Thursday in June, here are 12 weird, but true, animal date night facts. (Some of these facts are slightly risqué and may not be appropriate for children).
When he’s found a mate, the male angler fish will fuse with the larger female. The body parts he doesn’t need anymore (eyes, fins and some internal organs) wither away until he’s little more than a lump of...
at Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Bob Moore Subaru invite you to dive in to ocean conservation on World Oceans Day. This global celebration provides a unique opportunity to learn about, help protect and conserve our blue planet. Join the fun on Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to learn what actions you can take to ensure our local and global water sources are healthy for future generations. World Oceans Day activities will be held in the Children’s Zoo on Grandma’s Porch and will...
at Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Thursday, May 30, 2019
Oklahoma City Zoo Hoofstock Caretaker Lisbeth Pisias recounts her conservation journey to Iowa as part of a multi-state trumpeter swan release project.
I was selected to transport a young trumpeter swan (cygnet) born and raised at the Oklahoma City Zoo and facilitate his release into the wild. The experience was a career highlight as it embodies the Zoo's mission: to conserve and protect all species. Trumpeter swans were once bountiful throughout the country,...
at Thursday, May 30, 2019
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
The Oklahoma City Zoo continues to be a leader in the field of animal medicine, innovating a new stem cell-based treatment to improve blood flow and shorten recovery time. When geriatric elephant Bamboo, 53, experienced a minor tail wound, veterinary staff came together and made a plan to help accelerate healing. Tails have smaller blood vessels and take longer to heal, especially in older animals. The OKC Zoo veterinary team decided to launch a two-pronged treatment approach. First, the...
at Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Celebrate all 17(!) juvenile stingrays with an epic birthday bash Memorial Day (Monday, May 27) at 1 p.m. at OKC Zoo's Stingray Bay!
This event features special enrichment activities for the stringrays and will also be broadcast live on the Zoo's Facebook page. Admission to Stingray Bay is $4 per person. Admission to the Zoo is $11 for adults, $8 for children ages 3-11 and $8 for seniors ages 65 and older.
In honor of the Zoo's single biggest birthday...
at Thursday, May 23, 2019
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
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...
at Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
The Oklahoma City Zoo’s Galapagos tortoises are getting a new, modern habitat located just inside the Zoo’s entrance! The approximately $700,000 expansion is under construction in the former Secret Garden area of the Children’s Zoo and should be complete by late summer.
The new Galapagos tortoise habitat consists of one indoor and two outdoor spaces. The climate-controlled 900 sq. ft. indoor habitat consists of a nesting area, an indoor pool, natural substrate floors,...
at Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Friday, May 17, 2019
Finyezi, born June 15, 2018, is nearing his first birthday – a year that has been complete with many milestones met!
Shortly after Fin’s birth in June 2018, it was observed that his mother, Njole, was not providing maternal care for him. Following this observation, his caretaker’s made the decision to hand raise him behind-the-scenes - a rewarding job that ‘took a village’.
Because gorillas are very social and complex animals, it was important for...
at Friday, May 17, 2019
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Each year, employees of the Oklahoma City Zoo are offered several opportunities to participate in field work and to engage with the Zoo's conservation efforts on the ground level. As a first-time volunteer and full-time desk jockey, I had no clue what to expect when I offered to assist with the spring bat survey at the Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Reserve. But I set out on the drive to Stilwell, Oklahoma with an open mind, eager to learn more about those elusive creatures of the...
at Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Thursday, May 2, 2019
After Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden caretakers and veterinary staff noticed Sumatran tiger, Eko, rubbing and scratching his face, they reached out to a local veterinary dermatologist who discovered Eko was experiencing an allergic reaction.
Eko initially had a few scratches on his face that would come and go. It was thought these were minor wounds resulting from play with his brothers, Ramah and Gusti, until he was observed rubbing on his face, a non-typical behavior. After that...
at Thursday, May 2, 2019
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
An important social arrangement for gorillas is the bachelor group. A typical family has only one mature male and many females with offspring, so there will be quite a few males who find themselves without any lady friends. These males can either live a solitary life or hang out with other single males. In the wild, bachelor groups are usually loose associations, however, sometimes males will bond and form more permanent friendships.
In zoos, bachelor groups are planned out well in advance....
at Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Thursday, April 18, 2019
For the first time, guests visiting the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden can borrow a pair of binoculars to enhance their visual experience. Presented by Dean McGee Eye Institute, the Binocular Borrow program offers binoculars to guests during their visit to the OKC Zoo for no additional cost. It kicks off Saturday, April 20, for Party for the Planet™–an Earth Day tradition supported by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ accredited zoos and aquariums that inspire...
at Thursday, April 18, 2019
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Two years ago, Lance Swearengin, the Oklahoma City Zoo’s horticultural curator, looked up at the Zoo’s ever-growing mountain of organic plant and animal waste and began formulating a plan. He realized this increasingly hard to manage 15-year-old compost heap wasn’t a burden, but an opportunity in disguise – there was (brown) gold in that hill. Swearengin reached out to Oklahoma City-based landscaping company Minick Materials and presented a plan that would...
at Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
This week would have marked Asian elephant Malee’s eighth birthday. She was the first elephant calf born at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden after many years of work and the completion of a new elephant habitat. Instead, it’s an opportunity to reflect on the progress being made against the virus that claimed her life in 2015 when she was only four years old.
A lethal virus called EEHV (elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus) is causing the death of young elephants...
at Tuesday, April 16, 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
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
OKC Zoo Lead Herpetology Caretaker Josh Lucas shares his most recent conservation field work in Madagascar finding suitable sites for radiated tortoise re-introductions...
I just returned from southern Madagascar where I spent the last two months working to develop an effective reintroduction strategy for last year’s confiscated radiated tortoises .
It has been one year since over 10,000 critically endangered tortoises were found crammed wall-to-wall in a tiny house in...
at Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Thursday, April 4, 2019
Thanks to Fassler Hall and to the generosity of Oklahoma City Zoo fans, the Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT) raised $1,000 for African painted dog conservation!
Dr. Greg Rasmussen, director of the PDRT, was on-hand for "PAWS for a Cause" at Fassler Hall in Oklahoma City on Thursday, March 28. Fassler donated 20% of sales to PDRT from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. This generated $1,000 for the conservation organization.
Since 2016, the Oklahoma City Zoo has partnered with the...
at Thursday, April 4, 2019
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Read Across Oklahoma returns to the Oklahoma City Zoo on Tuesday, April 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to celebrate literacy with live music, free books, storytelling and more!
Oklahoma author and illustrator Hannah Harrison will read from her book, “Friends Stick Together”, telling the story of Rupert, a rhino, who finds friendship in unexpected and unlikely places. The book also served as the inspiration for this year’s Read Across Oklahoma theme: Friends Read Together....
at Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Monday, April 1, 2019
7:22 AM: A suspicious creature, resembling “Big Foot” has been sighted at the OKC Zoo’s Sanctuary Asia habitat this morning! Our security team is documenting his movements.
8:10 AM: We’ve heard that Big Foot’s walk is pretty distinct. Believers have stated that the creature leans forward, keeping his knees more bent than humans. He appears to be walking toward the bridge leading to the Indian rhino habitat.
8:27 AM: Our security...
at Monday, April 1, 2019
Friday, March 29, 2019
After an extended illness, female cheetah B.C., 14, was humanely euthanized at the Oklahoma City Zoo on Friday, March 29, at approximately 8:30 a.m.
Decreased mobility, kidney disease and other age-related issues led OKC Zoo's caretakers and veterinary team to the difficult but necessary decision to humanely euthanize.
B.C. came to the Zoo in 2007 from Wildlife Safari in Oregon. She was a favorite of her caretakers and enjoyed training sessions, eating quail and...
at Friday, March 29, 2019
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
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...
at Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, in partnership with Myriad Botanical Gardens , Oklahoma Monarch and Pollinator Collaborative and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) , is working to increase habitat for monarchs and other pollinators by providing grants of up to $1,500 for Oklahoma City metro area schools to create monarch gardens.
Public, private and charter K-12 schools in the Oklahoma City metro area are eligible to apply. This includes schools in the...
at Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Spring is here and OKC’s weather is forecast to be perfect for a trip to the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden ( check out the Zoo map ).
Here are just 10 (of countless) reasons you spend spring break at the OKC Zoo:
10. DINE WITH DRAGONS
Enjoy lunch at the new Lotus Pavilion restaurant while dining next to the Komodo dragon habitat!
9. RENOVATED PICNIC GROUNDS
Have a picnic at the newly completed Devon Picnic grounds.
8. WILD ENCOUNTERS
at Thursday, March 14, 2019
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Last month, five dedicated employees went dumpster diving as part of the OKC Zoo’s first-ever waste audit to make sure its recycling program was being effectively implemented. The “green team” collected trash and recycling from 11 employee areas and performed a biopsy of the recovered materials.
They discovered about two-thirds of the materials deposited in the recycling bins were correctly placed while about one-third was not recyclable. The most commonly misplaced...
at Wednesday, March 13, 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
Friday, March 8, 2019
This International Women’s Day, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is pleased to announce the promotion of Rachel Emory, as curator of pachyderms. Emory will oversee the Zoo’s Indian rhinos and Asian elephant herd, while managing day-to-day operations and supporting the Zoo’s conservation efforts and practices pertaining to the endangered species in her care.
Originally from Flushing, Michigan, Emory graduated from Michigan State University (MSU) with a...
at Friday, March 8, 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, February 21, 2019
Terrariums are defined as any sealed container that has soil, water, and plants inside of it. Most terrarium vessels are clear glass and have a lid that can be removed for maintenance and cleaning. While modern terrariums come in many shapes and sizes, the idea behind growing plants in portable containers has been around since the early nineteenth century.
British physician and avid botanist, Dr. Nathanial Ward, is credited with discovering and transporting plants on ships using his...
at Thursday, February 21, 2019
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Why conSEAL how you feel? Share a pun-filled, OKC Zoo-themed Valentine's Day e-cards with the one you can't BEAR to be without on this special day!
To share, right click on an image file below, select "Save Image As" and choose the destination on your computer to place the file.
If you post on social media, be sure to tag the OKC Zoo ( Facebook , Twitter , Instagram ) and the Zoo might share to its Instagram account.
at Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Gorilla Bouendje (Bo), 12, developed a limp in his left leg on December 13, 2017, that was later identified as a tibia fracture after imagery confirmed the break. His initial treatments were documented in this previous blog post . Fourteen months later, he is able to move around his habitat with ease including running and jumping. The image below shows the healing process in action:
Bo was behind-the-scenes for three months to allow him to heal in comfort. He was joined...
at Tuesday, February 12, 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, January 23, 2019
Hunter, the Oklahoma City Zoo’s 16-year-old male mountain lion (or puma/cougar) was humanely euthanized Wednesday, January 23, at the Zoo’s Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital.
Hunter had been receiving supportive treatment for arthritis and kidney issues since 2015 and recently began demonstrating difficulty standing and moving. His hind legs were weak and he was likely experiencing pain due to degenerative spine disease. After concluding nothing more could be done medically,...
at Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
If you have visited the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s American flamingo habitat at Island Life lately, you may have noticed some new additions.
Last year, the bird department successfully hand-reared four American flamingo chicks, with the oldest chick being partially hand-reared , meaning staff members shared parental duties with the chick’s flamingo foster parents. Now, all four birds have fully integrated themselves into the flock and reside at the American...
at Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
You’ve cast your votes, now meet the goats! The Oklahoma City Zoo recently welcomed six nine-month-old, female dwarf Nigerian pygmy goats to its barnyard habitat located in the Children’s Zoo and asked for the public’s help picking names for the new arrivals. In keeping with tradition, the Zoo proposed 10 names of Oklahoma towns and asked voters to help winnow the field to the top six. Over the week-long “Goat Vote” contest, almost 4,500 votes were cast. Here are...
at Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Friday, January 18, 2019
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...
at Friday, January 18, 2019
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden recently earned a prestigious accreditation from Botanical Garden Conservation International (BGCI). The Zoo’s botanical garden is a longtime member of BGCI, an organization created in 1987 to promote plant conservation by linking the botanical gardens of the world into a global network.
The botanical garden’s five-year accreditation means the facility is certified as an official BGCI botanical garden. This brings with it a new...
at Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
While researching the Oklahoma City Zoo’s botanical garden collection, we asked the Oklahoma Forestry Services to look at several of our landmark trees to help identify age and size for possible state champion tree status and conservation.
Oklahoma Forestry Services, in cooperation with the Oklahoma Forestry Association, maintains records on the largest specimens of many of Oklahoma's tree species . This list has been updated and published periodically since the early...
at Wednesday, January 9, 2019