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The Curious Case of Bridget's Mane

Oklahoma City Zoo veterinary caretakers are working to solve a very curious case; Bridget, the Zoo’s 18-year-old African lioness, has suddenly sprouted a mini-mane. In males, manes develop at about one-year-old and are a product of increased production of the hormone testosterone. The OKC Zoo’s male lion, Hubert, 6, has a robust, dark mane while Tia, Bridget’s 18-year-old sister, remains mane-less. Bridget’s mane growth occurred between March and November 2017.... Read More
at Monday, February 19, 2018
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Sanctuary Asia Preview: Meet the Tanuki

Sanctuary Asia, opening this summer at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, will create a vast, multipurpose environment where endangered animals from the Asian continent can thrive while receiving world-class animal care. Prior to the opening, we will periodically preview a new species or feature coming to the habitat. We previously profiled the cassowary , now it's time to meet the tanuki (also known as raccoon dogs). In the wild, the native range of the tanuki extends from... Read More
at Friday, February 16, 2018
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Hip, Hippo, Hooray!

In honor of National Hippo Day, the Oklahoma City Zoo celebrates its pygmy hippos: Francesca (Franny) and Wolee. Francesca turned 26 in December, which coincided with her move to the Zoo . She is settling in nicely at her new habitat and started exploring outside on warmer days. She and Wolee alternate going out in the hippo habitat on nice days. Francesca is very curious, enjoys enrichment activities and spending time with her caretakers. She will immediately get up and come to the door to... Read More
at Thursday, February 15, 2018
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Leader of the Pack: OKC Zoo African Painted Dog Research Unlocks Species Secrets

Endangered African painted dogs , like those at the Oklahoma City Zoo , live in dynamic family groups and have a population of only about 1,400 mature individuals in the wild. That’s why establishing a large breeding population is an important safeguard against extinction. Painted dog breeding and population management is coordinated through the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan (SSP) . The SSP moves animals among zoos regularly to maintain genetic... Read More
at Wednesday, February 7, 2018
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Conservation Partner Update: Snow Leopard Trust

Conservation Action Round-Up Engagement (CARE) grants provide full-time Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden staff members the opportunity to identify and fund conservation projects that they believe are worthy of the Zoo’s support. One of the 2017 grantees was the Snow Leopard Trust , a Seattle-based organization dedicated to protecting the species “through community-based conservation projects that are based on an improved scientific understanding of snow leopard behavior,... Read More
at Wednesday, January 31, 2018
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OKC Zoo Team Reports on Zimbabwe Conservation Journey, Part 2

Starting in 2017, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden partnered with the Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT) to support their conservation mission. The PDRT director, Dr. Greg Rasmussen, has worked for almost two decades protecting and studying the African painted dog, an endangered species with fewer than 7,000 left in the wild. To further support the PDRT, the Zoo sent two employees on a conservation trip to Zimbabwe in November to participate in research and (attempt) to track and... Read More
at Friday, January 26, 2018
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OKC Zoo Team Reports on Zimbabwe Conservation Journey

Starting in 2017, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden partnered with the Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT) to support their conservation mission. The PDRT director, Dr. Greg Rasmussen, has worked for almost two decades protecting and studying the African painted dog, an endangered species with fewer than 7,000 left in the wild. To further support the PDRT, the Zoo sent two employees on a conservation trip to Zimbabwe in November to participate in research and (attempt) to track and... Read More
at Monday, January 22, 2018
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Where are the Zoo's bachelor gorillas?

UPDATE (2/12/18): New imagery collected on Friday, February 9 shows Bo’s fracture is stabilizing and healing well. Zoo veterinary staff report that while the break is still visible on the x-ray, they see evidence of new bone growth bridging the fracture. As a result, caretakers are reducing Bo’s pain medication and allowing troop mate Bakari to join him for periods of time. These interactions will be closely monitored to ensure no rough play that might cause re-injury occurs.... Read More
at Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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Master Gardeners “Dig In” at OKC Zoo’s Botanical Garden

Public gardens like those at the Oklahoma City Zoo rely on a steady stream of volunteers to supplement regular garden staff and anyone from retired seniors interested in gardening to horticulture enthusiasts are invited to join the Zoo's botanic team any time of year. I recently visited the Oklahoma State University County Extension Office to speak with a local Master Gardener group regarding the Zoo's diverse volunteer opportunities, including the planting of... Read More
at Monday, January 15, 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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Zoos to the Rescue! OKC Curator Assists in Post-Hurricane Rebuilding Efforts

I have the best job in the world! Every day, I get to bring people closer to the natural world and help them make connections. One of the reasons I am so lucky is I get to work with some of the best people in the world. Anyone in the zoo field will tell you, we are one big family! As a curator, I look to my fellow zoo family members to help answer questions, share conservation successes and partner together to ensure the best experiences for our animals and guests. Just like family, we also... Read More
at Wednesday, January 10, 2018
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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,... Read More
at Monday, January 8, 2018
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Sanctuary Asia Preview: Meet the Cassowaries

Sanctuary Asia , coming summer 2018 to the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, will create a vast, multipurpose environment where endangered animals from the Asian continent can thrive while receiving world-class zoological animal care. Prior to the opening, we will periodically preview a new species or feature coming to the habitat. First up: the cassowary! Native to New Guinea and parts of northeastern Australia, cassowaries are large, flightless birds related to emus and ostriches... Read More
at Monday, January 1, 2018
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OKC Zoo announces death of snow leopard, Kiara

The Oklahoma City Zoo is saddened to announce the passing of our cherished 15-year-old female snow leopard, Kiara, on Friday, Dec. 29 at approximately 10:30 a.m. Caretakers noticed Kiara developed a respiratory illness and decreased appetite. During a resulting exam, Zoo veterinary staff discovered end-stage heart and lung disease and made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Kiara. However, she passed before the medication could be administered. The veterinary team will conduct a... Read More
at Friday, December 29, 2017
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Un-EGGS-pected Arrival

As a Zoo professional, animal care duties sometimes extend beyond the normal 8 to 5 p.m. timeframe and through the holidays. To provide the best possible care to our Zoo animals, our staff is available around the clock when needed. Most of the time when we get called to the Zoo in the middle of the night, it is because of a power outage, but earlier this month, it was because of something a little more exciting! On December 2, I received a call at around 12:45 a.m. from one of our attentive,... Read More
at Friday, December 29, 2017
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Trumpeting the Cause for Wetlands

New to the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Gardens this past summer were a family group of Trumpeter Swans. On public view at the waterfowl ponds near the front entrance are an adult pair (white plumage) and their fully grown offspring (called a cygnet, gray plumage for the first year). The mating pair, Sam and Olivia, and their male cygnet, hatched in June 2017, were actually my families’ personal swans who made the journey to OKC with us when we moved here after I accepted the... Read More
at Friday, December 22, 2017
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Sea Lions Don’t Sweat the Cold at the OKC Zoo

Because sea lions spend the majority of their day swimming, our team of marine mammal caretakers ensure that the water temperature remains between 70 and 75 degrees throughout the colder months. While the Zoo's sea lions are always provided with access inside, their natural layer of blubber also works to maintain a comfortable body temperature when seasons change. Throughout the winter months, our animals continue to voluntarily participate in training... Read More
at Wednesday, December 20, 2017
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Innovating for OKC Zoo's Aging Animals

Compared to animals in the wild, those in human care tend to live significantly longer lives, sometimes doubling life expectancy. This presents unique healthcare challenges to Zoo veterinary staff and requires medical innovations to ensure quality of life is maintained for senior animals. Dr. Jennifer D’Agostino, director of veterinary services, shared some of the innovative technologies and treatments being implemented at the OKC Zoo to make sure animals live long, happy, healthy... Read More
at Monday, December 18, 2017
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Apps for Apes: The Digital Side of Animal Enrichment

Enrichment is a word many people hear at the OKC Zoo and it can be a bit confusing. Simply put, enrichment is the enhancement of the environment to provide animals with mental and physical stimulation to increase natural species appropriate behavior. It’s a major way staff at the Zoo, and zoos all over the world, engage with animals on a daily basis and enrich their lives. The Zoo’s great apes, including chimpanzees, Western lowland gorillas and Sumatran orangutans, are very smart... Read More
at Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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OKC ZOO WELCOMES (ANOTHER) HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR CHRISTMAS

OKC ZOO WELCOMES (ANOTHER) HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR CHRISTMAS History repeats itself as the Zoo welcomes a new hippopotamus in time for the holidays Just in time for the holidays, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has welcomed a 26-year-old female pygmy hippopotamus, Francesca. Caretakers describe Franny as confident and calm with a love for carrots, yams, cucumbers and apples. She joins Wolee, a 43-year-old male pygmy hippo, at the Zoo’s pachyderm habitat. Wolee has... Read More
at Saturday, December 9, 2017
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Where's Eko? Tiger Cub Health Update

(UPDATE JAN. 16, 2018): After spending a month behind the scenes healing after a soft tissue injury to his left hind leg, six-month-old Sumatran tiger cub, Eko, has now been without a limp for two weeks and is back to his old self! Weather permitting, all four tiger cubs, plus Mom Lola are available for viewing in their Cat Forest habitat at the Zoo. If you’ve visited the Zoo recently and wondered, “Hey, where’s Eko?” you’re not alone. Eko, a five-month-old... Read More
at Thursday, December 7, 2017
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Chill, Not Chilly: OKC Zoo Prepared to Keep Animals Warm During Winter Weather

A common concern among guests this time of year is, “What happens to the animals during cold or icy weather and how do they spend their time indoors?” Whether it’s cold or stormy, animals at the Oklahoma City Zoo stay warm, cozy and safe when inclement weather strikes. All species have designated weather parameters that dictate when they need to stay inside. Those are one of the only times animals may be secured in their holding quarters. Modern animal care standards in... Read More
at Tuesday, December 5, 2017
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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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Five Wild Holiday Gift Ideas from the OKC Zoo

Skip the long lines this holiday season and give an unforgettable, unique gift from the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. From big savings on Wild Encounters to opportunities to create incredible holiday memories and support wildlife conservation, the Zoo has something ‘kids from one to 92’ will cherish for years to come.   ANIMAL ADOPTIONS – Adopt a Hippopotamus for Christmas This holiday season, share your love of wildlife with... Read More
at Monday, November 20, 2017
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Rooting for Rhino Rangers

The OKC Zoo joined organizations across the globe as we celebrated the world’s five remaining rhino species on September 22 –World Rhino Day! The event was hosted by the Zoo’s pachyderm caretakers and included an informational booth where guest could engage in a keeper chat, purchase rhino badges for conservation, take part in photo opportunities and best of all, decorate their own coloring pages for rhino rangers. ​ Throughout the event, over 50 coloring pages were... Read More
at Friday, November 17, 2017
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Conservation in Action: OKC Zoo team members take love of wildlife to the heart of Africa

Oklahoma’s premier destination connecting people and our world’s vanishing wildlife and wild places . This is the Zoo’s mission and it guides everything we do. To fulfill this mission it’s vital that we connect our staff to our world’s vanishing wildlife and wild places, so that they can accurately and passionately convey the world’s extinction crisis to our guests who will likely never see an elephant, or rhino, or zebra in the ever dwindling wild places... Read More
at Tuesday, November 14, 2017
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Special Tree-tmeant

Here at the Zoo, we’re wild about animal enrichment! Recently, a special  tree  was created for the Zoo’s squirrel monkey family in an effort to enhance their habitat and provide them with a unique, but realistic experience. The OKC Zoo’s squirrel monkey family consists of sisters Bobby and Katrina, and their three brothers, Floyd, Felix and Hugo. The new  tree  will offer several enrichment options – serving as a climbing structure, a... Read More
at Monday, November 13, 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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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 December 31, in support of gorilla conservation. How can you help endangered gorillas? By participating in the Zoo's Give for... Read More
at Thursday, November 9, 2017
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Fancy Frugivores

New to our Herpetarium, the two young and precarious Gray’s monitor lizards (Varanus olivaceus) are two of only 14 that are currently living in North American zoos.   Discovered in 1845, by John E. Gray, this lizard species was lost to science for the following 130 years until Walter Auffenberg discovered a specimen in the United States Museum of Natural History, one of only three documented since 1845. Eight years later, he undertook an intense 22 month study of... Read More
at Monday, October 30, 2017
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Zoo Detective Series: 34 Years of Haunt the Zoo

What better time to play zoo detective than at Halloween?  Although I didn’t sport my Sherlock Holmes hat, I did pull out my magnifying glass. After looking through documents and photos, clues about Haunt the Zoo’s beginnings in 1983 have fallen into place….  A Spooky Beginning Haunt the Zoo didn’t start off as a kid-friendly event, it started as a haunted house. If you could pick one Zoo building that would make a perfectly, creepy haunted house,... Read More
at Thursday, October 26, 2017
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Trick-or-Treat Yourself to Orangutan-Friendly Candy

Halloween is just around the corner, which means there’s only one thing on your mind – candy! Trick-or-treaters will be at your door before you know it, so you’ll need to prepare yourself with the right sweets for these boo-tiful little ones. Before you make a trip to your local grocery store, we’d like to share some spook-tacular suggestions in order to prepare you for a sustainable Halloween! Why Palm Oil Sustainable? You may be asking yourself,... Read More
at Tuesday, October 17, 2017
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Zoo Detective Series: The “Boys” Who Built the Zoo

You’re a nature-lover, right? Then maybe you have camped on the Native American ground that shares a connection to the Oklahoma City Zoo. It’s the Osage Hills State Park, near Bartlesville, Oklahoma. How are the zoo and the park related, you ask? It’s a story that goes back 85 years, like this… The 1930s Backstory : During the Great Depression, the men of the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) lived and worked on Zoo property from 1933-1937. The government paid... Read More
at Monday, October 2, 2017
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Oklahoma Conservation Leadership Academy

I am very fortunate to be a member of the Oklahoma Conservation Leadership Academy (OCLA) this year. OCLA was created by The Nature Conservancy’s Oklahoma Chapter (TNC-OK) to bring engaged, creative and active people from around the state together to learn about science-based conservation and how they can become conservation stewards in their community and beyond. OCLA is a yearlong program consisting of workshops, field trips, meetings and socials. The 2017-2018 program kicked off... Read More
at Monday, September 18, 2017
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Runners, Take Flight! Fight the Monarch’s Plight!

Strap on your wings, runners! This year, the Oklahoma City Zoo is hosting a fun race to raise funds for monarch butterfly conservation! The OKC Zoo’s Monarch Madness 5k and 1-mile Fun Run will take place on September 23.  "We’re calling this Monarch Madness partly because the idea of any creature, let alone a butterfly, flying over 2,000 miles just sounds insane,” said Greg Heanue, Zoo senior director of marketing and public relations. “It’s... Read More
at Sunday, September 17, 2017
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That’s Not a Black Bear

This summer, the Zoo introduced a new resident into the American black bear habitat at Oklahoma Trails! Can you guess what animal it might be? Here’s a hint… it’s not a black bear! In fact, this animal is red, small and shares a common natural habitat with bears Woody, Maynard and Sammy’s wild counterparts. Their new habitat-mate is a red fox named Zinc.  The Purpose Behind Multi-Species Environments Multi-species environments... Read More
at Friday, September 8, 2017
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The Magnificent, Magical, Monarch Festival

The monarchs are coming! Join us on Saturday, September 23, to celebrate the monarch migration, and learn how you can help monarchs and other pollinators. One of the greatest spectacles of nature occurs in Oklahoma each fall. It’s the migration of millions of monarch butterflies from their summer breeding grounds in the upper United States and Canada to their overwintering grounds in central Mexico. Those who have been fortunate to be momentarily engulfed... Read More
at Thursday, September 7, 2017
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Fulfilling our Mission

As the Oklahoma City Zoo’s animal family continues to grow with the arrival of tiger cubs, new trumpeter swans and the announcement of two BIG pregnancies–an Asian elephant and Western lowland gorilla, so does our ZOO! The OKC Zoo has undergone tremendous transformation this year. With our new parking lot complete, new picnic grounds opening this fall and Sanctuary Asia opening summer 2018, the Zoo is evolving rapidly to fulfill our mission to be Oklahoma’s premiere... Read More
at Thursday, September 7, 2017
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Cubproofing - Preparing for the Next Milestone!

The Zoo’s Tiger Cub Cam has brought our tiger family into homes all over the world, and now, we are proud to announce an upcoming milestone for Lola’s four growing cubs - venturing outside for the very first time!  Since its launch on August 10, the Tiger Cub Cam has been viewed over 142,000 times! For our team, the positive responses from those who’ve tuned in have been incredibly rewarding to see. Amur tiger, Zoya’s, successful integration with our three... Read More
at Tuesday, September 5, 2017
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Vulture Awareness Day

What is big, bald, and known as nature’s garbage disposal? Vultures!  The first Saturday in September is World Vulture Awareness Day.  It may seem strange to devote an entire day to a fearsome-looking bird species but vultures are very important to the world’s natural ecosystems.  Vultures are critical in all habitats because they consume dead animals – reducing the risk of transmitted... Read More
at Thursday, August 31, 2017
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The Mighty Monarch Migration

Monarch butterflies appear fragile but they are mighty, flying up to 3000 miles during their fall migration from Canada and the upper Midwest of the United States to overwintering grounds in Mexico each year. We know a lot about monarch migration because of a long-term citizen science study run by Monarch Watch, which is based at the University of Kansas. The tagging program provides vital information about migration patterns and how variables like... Read More
at Monday, August 28, 2017
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Local Efforts Go Global: Round up for Conservation Program

Have you ever wondered how to get involved in conservation but worry that you don’t have the time or resources? The OKC Zoo enables you to care about saving species and habitats around the world when you donate to its grassroots program – Round Up for Conservation!  Saving Species One Penny at a Time What is Round Up for Conservation? It is a program created to help wildlife and wild places! Zoo guests are... Read More
at Friday, August 25, 2017
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Helping Flamingo Chicks Grow Into Their Feathers

If you’ve visited the Zoo this summer, you may have noticed that our flock of American flamingos were nesting!    The flamingos constructed their intricate nest mounds out of natural materials found throughout their habitat including dirt, leaves, twigs and feathers. After the flamingos laid their eggs, I and other caretakers noticed that they were not being attentive to their nests, so we decided to intervene.  Fortunately, the collective... Read More
at Friday, August 25, 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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The Ultimate Ice Cream Guide

One of the best ways to beat the summer heat is to enjoy the perfect tasty, cold and sweet treat – ice cream! But before you go digging into that carton that’s waiting for you in the freezer, ask yourself, “Have I checked to make sure it doesn’t contain palm oil?” This blog’s purpose is not to discuss the health implications of consuming palm oil. We’re here to tell you about the products you can consume that don’t contain non-sustainable palm... Read More
at Tuesday, August 22, 2017
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Conserving the African Painted Dog

African Painted Dogs have gone by several different names over the years. In fact, you might’ve heard Cape Hunting dogs or African Wild dogs as well. Many individuals confuse their species with hyenas. Although their appearance is similar, this comparison is not accurate.  African Painted Dogs are Africa’s equivalent to North America’s wolves. They are both highly advanced predators, have a similar social structure and a place of dominance or subordination in the pack,... Read More
at Monday, August 21, 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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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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