Cupcakes for conservation: Pinkitzel & OKC Zoo partner in honor of newborn gorilla

Through the end of January, Pinkitzel Candy & Cupcakes is donating 50 cents for each Neapolitan cupcake sold to the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Round Up for Conservation initiative. The partnership developed after the Zoo contacted Pinkitzel to produce a special batch of cupcakes for an on-air newborn gorilla gender reveal. The Oklahoma-based confectionary produced a dozen pink frosting-filled cupcakes to help the Zoo announce that the Western lowland gorilla newborn, Azinza, born December 13, was a girl. 

The Neapolitan cupcake features white cake and layers of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla frosting. It’s topped with a cherry sour candy. It’s available for purchase at Pinkitzel’s Oklahoma City and Tulsa locations.

Azinza (Ah-zeen-zah) was born in the Zoo’s Great EscApe habitat to first-time mother Mikella, 14, and father Togo, 29. She is the 26th gorilla born at the Oklahoma City Zoo since 1974. OKC Zoo’s gorilla troop is now home to three generations of her family. Mikella was born at the Zoo in 2003 to 32-year-old mom, Emily and is the older sister of two-year-old, Rubi.

Native to the Central Africa, Western lowland gorillas are threatened by disease and poaching. By 2008, the population of Western lowland gorillas was reduced by 80 percent, classifying their species as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

Round Up for Conservation is a grassroots program connecting the Zoo and its guests to conservation projects around the world. Zoo guests are encouraged to become everyday conservationists by simply rounding up their purchases to the next dollar amount when visiting the Zoo. Funding from Round Up for Conservation has made it possible for the Zoo to partner with conservation programs in Oklahoma and around the world.

The OKC Zoo also works with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) to provide funds to help protect mountain gorillas in their native habitat. This money has been used to support operation of the Karisoke Research Center, which is the base for DFGFI’s field activities. The gorilla populations protected by DFGFI are the only wild populations of gorillas that are increasing. The Zoo also hosts Give for Gorillas Cell Phone Challenge, the annual program encourages the community to donate old cellphones and other electronic devices in support of gorilla conservation. The mining of coltan, a substance frequently used in small electronics, continues to cause deforestation of gorilla habitat. Electronic devices are accepted year-round at the Zoo’s Guest Services office.

Since opening in 2010, Pinkitzel has grown and expanded and is now in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Over half a million visitors from all over the world have walked through the doors at Pinkitzel and over half a million cupcakes have been served, not to mention thousands of truffles, macarons, and hundreds of thousands of pounds of taffy and candy. Pinkitzel has been featured on Food Network, in Food Network Magazine as a must visit for Oklahoma and one of the top 25 candy stores in the USA, and been seen on Bravo's Real Housewives and Sweet Home Oklahoma. Pinkitzel is also top destination and choice award winner from TripAdvisor for Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

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