Every day is a great day to come to the Zoo, but this Saturday, August 12, Zoo guests have a BIG reason to join in on the fun – it’s World Elephant Day!
As someone who has the honor of caring for elephants every day, this event is particularly exciting. World Elephant Day is our team's day to share the passion we have for the care and conservation of the world’s largest-living land mammals.
The Zoo’s elephant team is ready to celebrate in a larger-than-life way! Our ultimate goal is to show Zoo guests how their actions matter and to talk with them about what they can do to help protect elephants in the wild.
World Elephant Day and You:
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., our team will be at the Elephant Pavilion with games, prizes and elephant bio-facts. Have you ever felt an elephant’s hair from its tail? Picked up a brick-sized elephant tooth? Saturday is your chance to experience these educational bio-facts first-hand! It’s also your chance to ask an elephant caretaker a question you’ve always wondered about elephants. Fun tip: ask a caretaker to tell you their favorite quirk, story or personality trait about one of our six elephants. This will leave you with a story you won’t forget!
Here, you can also take an elphie – excuse me, a selfie – using our World Elephant Day photo frame! You’re then encouraged to post your photo on social media using the hashtag #GoGrey for #WorldElephantDay. With your help, we can spread awareness for elephants.
Please also join in on the Zoo’s elephant team special elephantpresentations, happening at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.! Both presentations will include giveaways and are guaranteed to make you love elephants even more.
Why Raising Awareness for Elephants is Important:
Asian and African elephants are endangered species. Currently, the greatest threat to Asian elephants is habitat destruction. 60 percent of the total human population lives in Asia, and this population has nearly quadrupled in the last century. As human needs increase, more natural land is taken away from Asian elephants in order to build cities, homes, highways, farmland, etc.
Habitat destruction is forcing animals, elephants in particular, to come in contact with humans in ways that can cause conflict. (Who can blame an elephant for snacking his or her way through a sugar cane field?)
How the OKC Zoo is Helping Elephants:
One tactic that can help to reduce pressure on elephants in Asia is to work to protect what land is left. The OKC Zoo has been working with the Rainforest Trust to purchase and preserve 13,000 acres of forest in central Sumatra and 18,000 acres of forest in Borneo, both of which are natural habitats for Asian elephants.
The OKC Zoo also helps support another elephant conservation project that my teammates and I are especially passionate about – the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Rakhine Yoma Elephant Range project in Myanmar. This project supports Elephant Protection Units, which is a team of individuals who have dedicated their lives to protect elephants.
Community Support Makes all the Difference:
In honor of World Elephant Day, the Zoo is sending additional funding to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Rakhine Yoma Elephant Range project. These funds were raised through the Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation program. Any time a Zoo guest chooses to “round up for conservation” with their purchase, they are directly helping Asian elephants and other endangered species to survive and thrive in the wild!
The elephant team at the OKC Zoo encourages you to join us this Saturday, August 12, to take a stand for elephants on WorldElephant Day. Connect with our elephants and their caretakers, learn something new, support conservation and raise awareness for these magnificent creatures!
– Rachel Emory, lead elephant caretaker