More Than A Zoo

Although the Zoo takes pride in being the number one recreation destination in Oklahoma, the Zoo has a broader mission. As a conservation organization, the Zoo strives to help stop and reverse the rapid decline of species and habitats locally and globally.

Ways the Zoo Helps:

You might be wondering how the Zoo can really make a difference on such a big planet with big challenges? The Zoo focuses on several areas that have long-term impacts:

1) Participating in cooperative breeding programs for endangered and threatened species

2) Providing skilled Zoo staff technicians to assist with wildlife surveys and habitat restoration projects

3) Teaching guests and education program participants how they can help protect animals, plants and the environment

4) Contributing funding to field conservation projects

Ways You Can Help:

The Zoo always explores ways to increase the Zoo’s conservation impact. Increasing the funding available for conservation is a necessary component. Conservation money is raised from two main sources: 

1) Zoo membership sales (ZOOfriends)

2) Asking guests to "round up" to the nearest dollar when making purchases during their visit to the Zoo

Your Dollars Purchased Land, Saved Animals

The Round Up for Conservation program began in 2011 and generated $2,500 the first year. It has grown each year and, in 2016, generated a record-breaking $112,423! In 2016, this money was used to help purchase and protect over 200,000 acres of forest in central Sumatra through a partnership with Rainforest Trust. This newly created protected area provides critical habitat for Sumatran tigers, Asian elephants, Sumatran orangutans and many other species. The money was also used to study and protect Asian elephants in Myanmar through a partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Your Dollars Will Save More Critically Endangered Animals

The Round Up goal for 2017 is $115,000 and we have big plans for this money. The Zoo is home to many animals you know well and love, including our African painted dog pack that recently welcomed 13 new members, our Asian elephant herd and our orangutans. These are endangered species that the Zoo is committed to breeding as part of a cooperative program with other accredited zoos. However, providing homes and breeding opportunities for these animals in zoos is not enough. We are also committed to safeguarding these species in the wild. This year we plan to use the Round Up money to contribute to several areas:

1) Studying and protecting critically endangered African painted dogs in Zimbabwe

2) Establishing a protected area in Cameroon for critically endangered frogs, chameleons and birds

3) Establishing a protected area in Borneo for orangutans, Asian elephants and clouded leopards

We look forward to reaching our BIG goals in 2017 with your continued and compassionate help. Remember to "round up" with each purchase at the Zoo. Small change can equal big change when we work together!

– Rebecca Snyder, zoological curator for conservation, science and research

Photo credit:

1)    Asian elephants – photo by A.J. Lynam, WCS Myanmar

2)    Sumatran orangutan – photo by Lip Kee/CC BY-SA 2.0

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