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Lizard Lab: OKC Zoo Welcomes Texas Horned Lizard Hatchlings

Twenty-two lizard hatchlings are currently being hand-raised by the OKC Zoo’s reptile and amphibian department in partnership with several key organizations, to gain more information on reptile translocation techniques that can be shared with other conservation partners.  Zoo Curator, Stacey Sekscienski, took the time to answer 11 riveting questions about this crucial research.  Why is the OKC Zoo involved in... Read More
at Monday, August 14, 2017
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World Elephant Day

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... Read More
at Friday, August 11, 2017
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Elephants Everywhere: Treasure Hunter Series

Note: As the Zoo’s unofficial Treasure Hunter, Amy Stephens, solves mysteries, digs up lost history and hunts for treasure at the Zoo. She works in the Education Department and at the Patricia and Byron J. Gambulos ZooZeum.  Like me, you may love reading mystery novels.  Most plots involved finding bad guys, family secrets and lost jewels.  Sometimes a missing dog, but not missing elephants.   Do not panic, an elephant has not disappeared... Read More
at Wednesday, August 9, 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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EMILY, OKC ZOO GORILLA, UNDERGOES MEDICAL EXAMINATION FOR UMBILICAL HERNIA

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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Okie-native Saves Wildlife One Photo at a Time

National Geographic photographer, speaker and founder of the Photo Ark, Joel Sartore, arrived at the Oklahoma City Zoo on July 14 with camera in-hand at 7:30 a.m., prepared for a weekend of photographing rare animals and sharing a preview of his PBS docu-series, “RARE: Creatures of the Photo Ark.” About Photo Ark  Photo Ark was created in 2005 after Joel’s wife, Kathy, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. His career as a National Geographic photographer... Read More
at Tuesday, July 25, 2017
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Zookeeper Highlight: Pace Frank

We’ve enjoyed sharing zookeeper highlights all week-long in honor of National #ZookeeperWeek – taking place July 16 through July 22! Keeper Pace is the last (but not least) zookeeper highlight of the week! Pace cares for the Zoo’s great apes. How long have you worked at the Zoo? I started working at the Oklahoma City Zoo in 2011 in the hoofstock department. I loved working with the Red river hogs and the okapi. When I first moved to Oklahoma City, I... Read More
at Wednesday, July 19, 2017
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Zookeeper Highlight: Debbie Bastin

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 Debbie Baston! Debbie cares for the Zoo's herd of Asian elephants!  How long have you... Read More
at Wednesday, July 19, 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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Vet Technician Highlight: Julia Jones

The Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden is celebrating National Zookeeper Week – taking place from July 16 through July 22! While this week is geared toward zookeepers in particular, it's also important to note that the Zoo's veterinary staff plays a vital role in caring for the animals as well. Today, we're highlighting Julia Jones, a veterinary technician (animal nurse) who collaborates with our team of zookeepers every day to ensure that each animal... Read More
at Wednesday, July 19, 2017
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Keeper Highlight: Rachel Sides

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 Rachel Sides! Keeper Rachel cares for the carnivores of the OKC Zoo.   How long have you... Read More
at Tuesday, July 18, 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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OKC Zoo saddened by death of beloved jaguar, Tavi

The Oklahoma City Zoo is saddened to announce the passing of our beloved 19-year-old female jaguar, Tavi, on Friday, June 16, 2017 at approximately  10:30 a.m. For the past two weeks, Tavi was being monitored by the Zoo’s vet care team for age-related ailments. Recently, she stopped eating and was unable to stay hydrated without medical assistance, which led the vet and caretaker teams to make the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Tavi. The veterinary team will conduct a... Read More
at Friday, June 16, 2017
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Drink Beer, Save Turtles: Zoo Animal Caretaker Works with Like-Minded Group Down South

On Monday, May 22, I woke up deep in the Texas Hill country to participate in an activity that most people might think is, well, odd. I met up with a group of very specialized “nerds” and citizen scientists from all over the country at an unusual site--the County Line barbeque restaurant in Austin. Why this location? The proprietors are passionate about helping to save turtles and our unique group began that morning and worked until early evening for the next two days surveying... Read More
at Thursday, June 8, 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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Ornate Tortoises in Trouble: Zoo Helping to Save Species

In the Northwest corner of Madagascar lives a species of tortoise with a shell so highly domed and ornate that you might think they came straight out of the mind of a cartoonist. But the Ploughshare tortoise is very real and very rare. It is also the largest and, arguably, the most beautiful of Madagascar's four endemic species of tortoises. Their domed shell and golden color have made them a highly prized pet throughout Asia--so highly prized, in fact, that the illegal pet trade... Read More
at Thursday, May 11, 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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Become a Parent of the Wild: Animal Adoption is for Everyone!

Unlike traditional pet adoption “days” celebrated around the world or the recent National Pet Adoption Weekend celebrated each May, the Zoo celebrates animal adoption all year long—the soft and plush kind that lasts a lifetime!  A Zoo animal adoption is a unique gift that your loved ones, regardless of age, will be thrilled to have and collect. Animal adoptions not only create a sense of warmth and joy for the receiver, but they also benefit the lives of all the... 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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Junior Curator Teen Volunteers: Growing Up While Making a Difference

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” Children get that question often as they grow and their answers frequently change through the years. But for the 45 Junior Curator (JC) teen volunteers at the Zoo, their answers are simple and similar, “I want to help animals.” Whether desiring to become a zookeeper, veterinarian or field researcher, some teens decide to begin following their dreams at an early age and essentially “grow up” as JCs at the Zoo. ... Read More
at Tuesday, May 9, 2017
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Walk on the Wild Side: Walking Tours Debut at OKC Zoo!

Immerse yourself in tales of the wild life all around you as our knowledgeable Zoo ambassadors lead you through unforgettable, themed walking tours throughout the Zoo on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays! Priced at only $4 for adults and $2 for children per tour, the Zoo’s newest one-hour guest experience offers four distinct themed tours full of fun, adventure and excitement.   First, Pick Your Tour! Cram all the fun of all four tours into a full day of... 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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Seeing Double? The Curiously Strange Four-Eyed Fish

How can a four-eyed fish have only two eyes? While commonly named the four-eyed fish, this species of fish actually only has two eyes. However, their eyes have developed in a way that actually enables them to see above and below the water’s surface at the same time. Unlike most round eye pupils, this fish species has hourglass shaped pupils. This adaptation helps them avoid both aerial and aquatic predators. Strangely enough, this interesting adaptation is not the only unique... 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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Guest Perspective: Our Elephant Wild Encounter was a Dream Come True!

The Oklahoma City Zoo is a place that my family and I have always enjoyed. My first trip to the Zoo was in 1998 when I was about six months old and I have been visiting ever since. The Zoo recently added something new called Wild Encounters! I was very intrigued by this. After researching, I found that guests get behind-the-scenes interactions with some of the amazing animals that call the Zoo their home. I was so excited to see what this was all about, so I signed up my 11-year-old sister,... Read More
at Wednesday, May 3, 2017
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Tiptoe Through the Tulips with ZOO BLOOMS 2017

The  Zoo ’s Botanical Garden has been alive with energy as our first official botanical garden event,  ZOO   BLOOMS , made a colorful splash to an early spring and we anticipate a continued mass of electric  blooms  through May! ZOO   BLOOMS  became the largest botanical event celebrated here at the  Zoo  since our national accreditation as a botanical garden back in 1998.  It also was considered the largest tulip festival in Oklahoma,... Read More
at Tuesday, May 2, 2017
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New Nighttime Event, Safari Soirée, Enables Guests to Explore Zoo after Dark, Benefits Conservation

Go wild at night for a great cause! The Zoo and the Oklahoma Zoological Society (OZS) have teamed up to create a new conservation event,  Safari Soirée, scheduled for Saturday, May 20, 2017, from 7 to 11 p.m.!   Safari Soirée will be a night to celebrate the community’s support of the Zoo’s conservation efforts to help save plants and animals here in Oklahoma and around the world, now spreading across four continents. Safari  Soirée is a... Read More
at Tuesday, May 2, 2017
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The Palm Oil Problem

What’s palm oil? Palm oil is most widely produced edible vegetable oil and comes from the African oil palm tree. These trees grow well in tropical areas with abundant rainfall. It is found in many, many products we eat and use every day, including cookies, crackers, candy, frozen dinners, cosmetics, shampoo, lotion, and pet food. It is also used as a biofuel. What’s the problem? The demand for palm oil is increasing and rainforests are being logged then burned to... Read More
at Thursday, April 20, 2017
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Hotel Armadillo

Tracking Down the Elusive Builder of Burrows Most of us in the southern and southeastern United States are familiar with the armadillo. While the smaller, nine-banded armadillo is thriving and expanding across much of the country, its lesser-known relative, the giant armadillo, is facing threats to survival in its native habitat across South America. The Oklahoma City Zoo is proud to support conservation biologist Dr. Arnaud Desbiez and the Giant Armadillo Conservation Program to help study... Read More
at Wednesday, April 19, 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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Cat Conservation: A Lesson about the Birds and the Bees

When we refer to carnivores at the Zoo, we’re usually talking about our big and small cats, such as tigers, ocelots, snow leopards, jaguars and caracals, just to name a few, that live in Cat Forest. Each of these beautiful, powerful and diverse animals requires distinctive health care, food and enrichment. Most are solitary by nature and only come together to breed, which can make their encounters pretty intense but very significant for their species.  Breeding and... Read More
at Tuesday, March 28, 2017 | 0 comments
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OKC ZOO HELPS SAVE “LITTLE” PORPOISE

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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Be Where the Wallabies Are!

Children’s Zoo Now Includes Up-Close, Down-Under Experience Well, the wallabies are back in town! The Zoo recently opened a new exhibit in the Children’s Zoo called Wallaby Walkabout. The habitat enables guests of all ages to walk through a portion of the exhibit to observe and experience these lively, yet smaller, relatives of the kangaroo in a safe, up-close environment. Wallabies were a Zoo favorite and part of the Zoo’s collection prior to 2011. Meet our... 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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Maybe You Really Do Belong in a Zoo!

Do people often say because of your lively and energetic personality that you belong in a zoo?  If you have a love for furry and feathered animals, and the unlimited inspiration of nature, then maybe you do belong at the Zoo--as a  volunteer ! The truth is the Zoo depends on  volunteer s to continually bring its mission and message to life in the community. The Zoo benefited from more than 29,500 man-hours of service from dedicated  volunteer s in 2016.  These ... Read More
at Thursday, March 2, 2017
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Pearl’s Pregnancy Revealed in Animal Planet’s Global Facebook Live Event

Facebook is the place where you expect to see old friends, vacation photos and funny videos. But, a surprise sea lion pregnancy announcement from the OKC Zoo?  Almost 20 million Facebook friends of Animal Planet were able to hear and see the great news in real time as an ultrasound was verifying our suspicions—all part of the cable network’s Facebook Live stunt. The Zoo worked with Facebook friend and conservation supporter Animal Planet, along with 18 other national zoos... Read More
at Thursday, March 2, 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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