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At the OKC Zoo, Go Wild!

Category: Oklahoma City Zoo

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. How can you help endangered gorillas? By participating in the Zoo's Give for... Read More
at Wednesday, November 7, 2018
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Step Inside: A First Look at the Renovated OKC Zoo Entry Plaza

The barricades are gone and the Entry Plaza at the Oklahoma City Zoo is once again open to guests after the completion of a two-month renovation project. Gone is the worn and cracked tile that became slippery when even the slightest bit wet. The new entry plaza flooring is a heavier, more durable ceramic paver stone, which, unlike the previous tile, is intended for all purpose weather.  In addition to the new ceramic paver stone, guests will notice planters on the east... Read More
at Monday, June 4, 2018
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Fishing for a Miracle

Endangered Fishing Cat Kitten Being Hand-Reared by Vet and Animal Care Teams On March 31, 2018, an endangered fishing cat kitten was born by caesarian delivery at the Oklahoma City Zoo’s Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital, after his mom, Miri, surpassed her expected due date. This is the first successful cesarean delivery of a fishing cat among Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) member zoos in North America. The gestation period for fishing cats ranges between 63 and 70... Read More
at Monday, April 16, 2018
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Mini-Mane Mystery Solved: Blood Test Results Provide Unexpected Answer

In February, the Curious Case of Bridget’s Mane at the Oklahoma City Zoo became a global sensation with news organizations including CNN, Fox News, National Geographic , The Washington Post and Newsweek providing coverage. Global media from Canada, Russia, the United Kingdom, India and Japan also shared Bridget’s story with their audiences. On social media, the Zoo was inundated with notes of well-wishes, questions about potential medical conditions and requests for... Read More
at Tuesday, March 20, 2018
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New OKC Zoo Map Makes Exploring Simpler, More Fun

Guests visiting the Oklahoma City Zoo this month have been greeted with a new Zoo map, simplifying the process of navigating the 120-acre complex. As one of the largest Zoos in the nation, it’s easy for guests to lose their way at the OKC Zoo! With many guests being school students, Zoo staff wanted to re-work the map to be fun and easy to use. The updated map was designed by OKC agency Robot House Creative and reimagined to help guests of all ages better connect with wildlife within... Read More
at Monday, March 19, 2018
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Female Rothschild’s giraffe Noel, 29, died at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden on Friday, March 2 at approximately 4:30 p.m. Noel was placed on end-of-life care monitoring beginning in mid-2017 due to severe arthritis and age-related deterioration in her front feet (hooves). On Thursday, March 1, caretakers noticed swelling in the joints of her right, front foot and changes to the hoof indicating her condition had deteriorated and was causing her pain. Zoo... Read More
at Saturday, March 3, 2018
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Where are the Zoo's bachelor gorillas?

UPDATE (4/9/18): Additional X-ray imagery from Friday, April 6 showed continued healing and improvement in Bo’s leg. Depending on the weather and day, Bo has been with one of the other “bachelor” gorillas, George or Bakari, in the Great EscApe outdoor habitat area. They rotate so each gets time outside throughout the week and to spend time with Bo. Caretakers report that Bo is also going out for longer periods of time and tolerating that well. The vet team released him... Read More
at Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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Don’t Wake Until Spring: Lessons from a Ladybug

Nature is life’s greatest teacher. Even inside the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s administrative offices, a traditional workspace with PCs, overhead fluorescent lighting and a pot of coffee always at the ready, learning nature’s lessons is unavoidable. Early in December, Sabrina Heise, social media content coordinator, noticed what appeared to be an abundance of lifeless ladybugs in her office. Her workspace is located at the corner of the admin building and... Read More
at Friday, January 12, 2018
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The Nur"sss"ery

If you’ve found yourself walking through the Zoo’s Herpetarium building within the last year you might’ve noticed that one of your favorite scaley creatures has found a new home. The reticulated python has moved into a bigger, better and more exciting habitat. The reptile and amphibian department has renovated her old slithering grounds into a baby nursery.  There, guests can watch as young reptiles and amphibians grow into their own skin.  In the past year,... Read More
at Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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Rupert’s Romp to Indiana’s Mesker Park Zoo

Rupert is the youngest of the Zoo’s three Greater One-Horned rhinos, also known as the Indian Rhino. As the curator of pachyderms, I had the great privilege of being one of few humans to witness a live rhino birth, Rupert’s birth. Rupert was born on exhibit on June 21, 2014. His mom, Niki, had been on birth watch for almost 15 months - one month longer than the average 14-month gestation period.   The entire pachyderm animal care staff was monitoring Niki’s behavior... Read More
at Monday, November 20, 2017
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Everyone Needs Good Footing

What exactly is a farrier? Are they a shoemaker, veterinarian or blacksmith? Well, they’re all three, yet also, none of the above! A farrier is considered a specialist in equine foot care, similar to how a podiatrist is a specialist in human foot care. Farriers use a wide range of technical skills and knowledge in order to care for the hooves of horses. These animal podiatrists primarily trim hooves, create custom horseshoes and also care for any disease or lameness of... Read More
at Thursday, November 9, 2017
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OKC Zoo’s Giant Anteater, Kallie, Passes Away

27-year-old, Kallie, was the world’s oldest living Giant Anteater in Human Care. The Oklahoma City Zoo is saddened to announce the passing of our beloved 27-year-old female Giant anteater, Kallie, at approximately 11:30 a.m., on August 23, 2017. For the past two months, she was being monitored by the Zoo’s vet care team for age-related ailments.  Most recently, Kallie began showing signs of decreased mobility due to severe arthritis throughout her joints. In order to... Read More
at Thursday, August 24, 2017
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Children Planting Trees for Alligator Lizards and Their Community

The Campbell’s alligator lizard is a critically endangered tree-dwelling lizard found only in one small part of Guatemala. Falsely believed to be venomous, until recently this lizard was killed on sight and the forest it lived in was reduced to a fragment. The OKC Zoo is helping to fund a forest restoration and conservation education project that has changed the community’s attitude about these lizards and increased their habitat. Campbell’s alligator lizards live in mature... Read More
at Friday, August 18, 2017
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Pool Time with the Elephants

Summer is upon us at the OKC Zoo, and the elephants have already begun utilizing one of their most-enjoyed creature comforts – the water features! When you visit the Asian elephant herd during this time of the year, you’ll likely witness the elephants swimming and playing in the water.  Our habitats have ample opportunities for the animals to cool down when the Oklahoma summer heat begins. Our largest habitat has a 220,000 galloon pool that is 12-feet deep,... Read More
at Monday, August 7, 2017
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Zoo partners with medical experts from Oklahoma’s leading veterinary and human hospitals to provide best medical care for critically endangered wildlife. On Saturday, June 24, The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s veterinary team collaborated with veterinary and human medical professionals from BluePearl Veterinary Partners, the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center and Oklahoma University Health Sciences to conduct a medical exam on the OKC Zoo’s 32-year-old Western... Read More
at Friday, August 4, 2017
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Ketara's Reach for New Heights

In the past nine months, several milestones have come and went for our youngest giraffe, Ketara! His caretakers has watched him grow from 6-feet tall and around 150 pounds, to over 7-feet tall and nearly 550 pounds!  Whether he’s running and playing with his big sister, Julu, or learning how to socialize with our older giraffes and ostrich, Sadie, every moment with Ketara has brought our team joy and pride. Most recently, Ketara has begun to eat solid food! This particular... Read More
at Thursday, August 3, 2017
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Pup Update: Cash the California Sea Lion

Our California Sea Lion pup, Cash, born on the afternoon of June 25, has been making quite the splash at the Oklahoma City Zoo! Cash’s parents, Pearl and Xander, were rescued off the coast of California and are also the parents of 1-year-old Phoenix. As rescued sea lions, their genetics have not been represented in other zoos or aquariums, which makes Cash and Phoenix’s births significant in the zoological community.  Cash has been thriving ever since his birth. After only a... Read More
at Monday, July 31, 2017
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Capture the Wild Photo Contest

They say a picture is worth a thousand words... 2016 Best of Show – Jennifer Sanders 2015 Carnivores First Place – Steven McPhail 2014 Youth II Honorable Mention – Lillian Kuhn 2013 Aquarium, Reptiles & Amphibians Honorable Mention - Amanda Roggow We tend to agree! For several years, the Oklahoma Zoological Society has held their annual Capture the Wild Photo Contest. ZOOfriends members, OKC Zoo admirers and Zoo employees enter their... Read More
at Thursday, July 27, 2017
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Zookeeper Highlight: Brian Frank

The Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden is celebrating National Zookeeper Week – taking place from July 16 through July 22. Our staff of zookeepers are hardworking, passionate and driven individuals who spend each day caring for the animals in their various departments! This week, we are highlighting six zookeepers; ranging from elephant to carnivore caretakers. Next up is Brank Frank! Brian Frank is the lead zookeeper of hoofstock at the OKC Zoo.  How long have you... Read More
at Wednesday, July 19, 2017
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Strike Out Rhino Extinction with AAZK and the Zoo

Pin, grey, alley, strike, horn—what do these words have in common? BOWLING FOR RHINOS! Zoos have been saving rhinos through an annual campaign called Bowling for Rhinos (BFR) for almost 30 years. The OKC Zoo Chapter of the Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) has been raising money for rhino conservation since 1990, funding over $300,000 towards the preservation of rhino species in Africa and Asia. But why do these species need saving? The decline in rhino populations can be linked to two... Read More
at Monday, July 17, 2017
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Zookeeper Highlight: Josh Lucas

The Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden is celebrating National Zookeeper Week – taking place from July 16 through July 22. Our staff of zookeepers are hardworking, passionate and driven individuals who spend each day caring for the animals in their various departments! This week, we are highlighting six zookeepers; ranging from elephant to carnivore caretakers. First up is Josh Lucas! Keeper Josh cares for the reptiles and amphibians of the OKC Zoo.   How long have you... Read More
at Monday, July 17, 2017
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The Bronze Creatures of the Zoo

Bronze animals may be the most photographed animals at the Zoo! Guests love to interact with our statues – most often found posing with our large lion pride, oversized gorilla and lounging tiger.   Art is just one more facet of the Zoo’s all-encompassing mission to connect people to our world’s vanishing wildlife and wild places.  We have exotic animals, lush plants and outstanding fine art, all which help us see nature in different ways.  Through the eyes... Read More
at Wednesday, July 12, 2017
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Looking Out for the World’s Tallest Animal

We celebrated World Giraffe Day at the Zoo on June 21, however, the Zoo’s commitment to protecting giraffes goes far beyond one day of celebration. Giraffes are one of the most recognizable animals in the world and a favorite of many zoo-goers. Despite this, they have not been well-studied and much remains to be learned about their social systems. The Zoo is supporting this important research through its Conservation Action Now (CAN) grant program. Until recently giraffes were... Read More
at Friday, June 23, 2017
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First Great Ape Blood Draw at the OKC Zoo

Preventative medicine, including routine examinations and bloodwork, is an important part of the health and wellness of all the animals at the OKC Zoo. Historically, blood samples have only been collected from most of our large collection animals during anesthetic exams. The Veterinary team has been working alongside animal caretakers throughout the Zoo in order to be able to obtain these blood samples voluntarily through operant conditioning, in an effort to work towards decreasing anesthesia... Read More
at Thursday, June 22, 2017
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Plastic in the Ocean: What’s All the Fuss About?

Oklahoma is a long way from the ocean. So, why should we care that 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans each year? The oceans cover 70 percent of the earth’s surface. Ocean health is vital to the entire planet’s health. It’s vital to our health! Come to the Zoo June 9-10, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., for our two-day World Oceans’ Day celebration. You’ll learn what you can do to help protect our oceans. For some sobering facts, read on. Exponentially... Read More
at Thursday, June 8, 2017
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Animal Enrichment: The Key to a Life Well Lived!

Imagine how fun and enriching our lives would be if we had our own personal trainer, chef and concierge! Yet only a few fortunate people have these luxuries. The animals at the OKC Zoo, however, although not considered “wealthy” in human terms, are most definitely well cared for, and I have the privilege of being their own behavioral training and enrichment curator.  Say That Again?  Enrichment--it’s kind of a funny word. We use it often when referring to... Read More
at Wednesday, May 10, 2017
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Zoo Treasure Hunt Series: Your Journey Begins

I confess a love for the “National Treasure” movies.  Finding clues, digging through history, solving mysteries. Such adventures capture my mind, taking me back to my childhood when I delighted in reading Nancy Drew mystery novels.  So, how cool is it that I now solve mysteries and hunt for treasures—at the Zoo?! Because of my job, I’ve discovered obscured plaques and missing memorabilia. I’ve traced missing artifacts, pieced together history and... Read More
at Wednesday, May 10, 2017
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Providing Innovative Health Care: Necessity is the Mother of Invention!

Our Great Ape staff at the OKC Zoo has daily opportunities, as well as some challenges, due to working with very large and very smart animals. Gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees are complex thinkers. Therefore, thinking “outside the box” when it comes to providing excellent health care and enrichment is critically important. Training is a huge part of our daily routine. Most behaviors we train animals to display center around their health care needs. So through training, the apes... Read More
at Tuesday, May 9, 2017
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ZooZeum Added to the U.S. Registry of Historic Places

“You’re glowing today!” That’s what my co-worker said when I arrived at work on Saturday, Feb 18, 2017. I didn’t know it showed, but it  was  a proud day for me. The day represented the culmination of 12 years of hard work--rescuing lost Zoo history, saving an important building from destruction, reminding folks that the Zoo is in the recreational memory-bank of nearly everyone in this state for 115 years! Landing the Zoo’s bathhouse on the... Read More
at Tuesday, May 9, 2017
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Re-growing Limbs: The Superpower of the Axolotl

Axolotls, or Mexican salamanders, are a fascinating amphibian species that in the wild, lives only on the southern edge of Mexico City in canals and wetlands. But you can see one in the OKC Zoo’s Herpetarium!    In general, amphibians are hatched from eggs as aquatic larvae (called tadpoles in frogs, a relative of the axolotl) and then undergo stages of body transformations until they reach their adult form. Axolotls are different  in... Read More
at Tuesday, May 9, 2017
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The Return of Beloved Mold-A-Matic Animal Souvenir Machines

Refurbished Machines Enable Families to Share Zoo Memory with New Generation Just in time for the spring and summer rush, the Zoo has installed five  MOLD -A-MATIC souvenir machines for guests to discover and share. Originally appearing in the Zoo in the early 1970s, these popular machines became a guest favorite for their ability to produce a miniature animal replica behind a plexiglass window within 60 seconds.  After several decades, the machines deteriorated from extreme... Read More
at Wednesday, May 3, 2017
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Beloved Puma Passes Away

Beloved Puma Passes Away Rollie, the Zoo’s beloved, 14-year-old, male puma (or cougar) died unexpectedly Tuesday morning, April 11, in his Oklahoma Trails habitat. His morning routine seemed normal. His caretakers had just delivered his morning diet. He began eating and suddenly had a seizure. The caretakers immediately contacted the vet care team which rushed to the habitat but, unfortunately, Rollie had already passed away. He was off public view at the time. Although Rollie had... Read More
at Tuesday, April 11, 2017
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Outpouring of Care and Support Brings Endangered Porpoise Closer to Safe Waters When just 30 animals of a specific species are left in the world, the zoo and aquarium communities accredited through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) are compelled to act. The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has partnered with 80 other AZA-accredited institutions to help save the vaquita (Vah-KEE-tah) porpoise from extinction. Vaquitas, or “little cows” in Spanish, are the... Read More
at Friday, March 24, 2017
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Trade in Those Online Surveys for the Outdoor Kind

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... Read More
at Friday, March 24, 2017
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Two Regal, Rescued Eagles Reside in Oklahoma Trails

When you think of North American wildlife, I bet the beloved and majestic bald eagle is one of the first images that pops into your mind. The bald eagle was chosen as the national symbol of the United States back in 1782 and is one of the largest predatory birds in our country, as well as one of our greatest conservation success stories. Due to reproductive issues caused by the pesticide DDT, shooting and poisoning in the mid to late 1990s, this species’ population dropped... Read More
at Thursday, March 16, 2017
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Picture This: Photography Tells the Zoo Story

Beyond the front gates of the Oklahoma City Zoo is a wild oasis complete with fun, adventure and educational experiences you’ll never forget. Here, we valuephotography as an essential piece of what helps us tell the Zoo story. Photographygrants us the ability to document our legacy of amazing milestones and breathtaking moments throughout Zoo history. Investing the Time Thanks to our many gracious photography volunteers, we are able to share the Zoo with Zoo fans... Read More
at Tuesday, March 14, 2017
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A Big Project in Search of Some Little Frogs – Part II

The following travel diary entry was 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 its partner organization, Jatun Sacha, in Ecuador. The following entries are the last two entries Josh wrote before boarding his flight home to the United States. To read Josh’s other blogs,  click here . Entry #4: 1/20/2017... Read More
at Saturday, March 11, 2017
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Zoo Elephant Team Shares Skills 8,000 Miles Away

Last fall, myself and two other members of the Zoo’s Elephant team had the incredible opportunity to travel to India for two weeks to consult with Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation Center. This adventure brought us to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal and home of 18 rescued elephants (ages 7 to 60) that now reside at the Center. Here, we were asked to assist the veterinarians and mahouts (elephant caretakers) with elephant foot care, positive reinforcement training techniques, implementing new... Read More
at Monday, February 27, 2017
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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
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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
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Zoo Bears Enjoy Weather-Predicting Tradition

Grizzly bear brothers, Will and Wiley, have been predicting the weather on  Groundhog  Day at the Zoo since shortly after their arrival in 2003. Although not  groundhog s, bears are very in tune with the weather and upcoming seasonal changes because the presence of their food resources in the wild also changes with the weather. Interestingly, this celebration of changing seasons has ancient European origins in which a badger or a sacred bear were part of weather lore and held... Read More
at Thursday, February 2, 2017
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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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
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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
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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
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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
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