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OKC ZOO SADDENED TO ANNOUNCE PASSING OF AFRICAN PAINTED DOG, RIVER

    On Thursday, October 27, one of the Oklahoma City Zoo’s 4-year-old female African painted dogs, River, was examined by the Zoo’s veterinary team after caretakers noticed considerable changes to her behavior and mobility after sustaining injuries to her hind leg. River had been on treatment and closely monitored following a shift in pack dynamics among our Predator Pass pack that led to some hind limb injuries. She was taken in for an emergency check-up when... Read More
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ADDITIONAL CARE FOR GERIATRIC ASIAN ELEPHANT, BAMBOO

Like people, as animals age, their abilities and needs evolve.  Especially with animals that are considered geriatric or at an age that is near or beyond the average life expectancy for their species. The Oklahoma City Zoo’s approximately 56-year-old female Asian elephant, Bamboo, is one of many geriatric animals in the Zoo’s care. Bamboo is part of a multigenerational herd of eight Asian elephants including Rex (54), Asha (27), Chandra (26), Kandula (21) Achara (8), Kairavi... Read More
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From Wand to Screen – OKC Zoo’s Orangutan Creates Digital Art NFTs for Conservation Thru Innovative Animal Enrichment

I’m Becky Scheel with the design team, Megafauna Studios. Thanks for having me as your guest blogger. I have worked in zoos for ten years, so I'm excited to work with The Oklahoma City Zoo on The Elok Collection, a unique collection of digital art NFTs designed by the OKC Zoo’s male Sumatran orangutan, Elok, 21. The project marries my previous grad school research with digital enrichment and orangutans and fundraising efforts for conservation. Enrichment helps keep... Read More
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WILD ABOUT CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY: OKC ZOO NAMES FIRST CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY HEROES

Conservation and sustainability are at the heart and soul of all of our Oklahoma City Zoo team members. Recently, OKC Zoo leadership announced the first-ever Conservation and Sustainability Heroes. The OKC Zoo values team members who are committed to caring for, connecting with and conserving wildlife and wild places, and created this internal program to annually recognize personnel who engage in acts that directly impact conservation and sustainability. While every employee at the Zoo is... Read More
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HashTAG Saving Monarchs: Conservationists Contribute to Community Scientist Tagging Program

HASH“TAG” SAVING MONARCHS: CONSERVATIONISTS CONTRIBUTE TO COMMUNITY  SCIENTIST TAGGING PROGRAM As we head into fall, cooler weather brings not only relief from the heat but also the return of the eastern migratory monarch butterfly. Every spring and fall, monarch butterflies pass through Oklahoma as they undergo a multi-generational migration. During the fall migration, monarchs head towards Mexico to roost in oyamel fir forests until spring. Monarch butterflies have one... Read More
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CONSERVATION COLLABORATIONS: LIVING CLASSROOMS

The Oklahoma City Zoo has partnered with the National Wildlife Federation and Oklahoma Monarch and Pollinator Collaborative for many years to increase habitat for monarchs and other pollinators. Oklahoma provides vital resources for native pollinators and is a central flyway for the spring and fall monarch migration. As the population of monarchs has declined significantly, the OKC Zoo has found a way to get Oklahoma’s youngest residents involved in reinvigorating the pollinator... Read More
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Enriching the Lives of Animals One Token at a Time

During their day, caretakers make many decisions for our animals to ensure optimal welfare. To ensure they stay as healthy as possible, we protect them from severe weather, develop specialized diet plans, and provide lots of interesting elements in their habitats to guarantee species-appropriate opportunities. While this can result in some choices being made for our animals, we are always looking for ways to make certain our animals can make choices in their day as well. In fact, choice is one... Read More
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CONSERVATION FROM THE COUCH: FROM GERMANY AND AFRICA TO OKLAHOMA

Senior primates caretaker, Laura Lynn, has been working for the Oklahoma City Zoo for more than nine years. Since grade school, Laura had an interest in primates and becoming a primate ethologist, think Jane Goodall or Dian Fossey. Wanting to gain more experience, Laura became an animal caretaker at the OKC Zoo. However, the scientist within has always looked for research and conservation initiatives in which to take part, and in 2015 that became a reality in a way she never dreamed. Thanks... Read More
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OUT WITH THE COLD AND IN WITH THE GROW: SPRINGTIME POLLINATORS ARE MAKING THEIR WAY TO THE OKC ZOO!

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is welcoming spring with all its splendor! There are so many things happening at the Zoo in the spring to help wildlife and wild places that positively impacts Oklahoma’s pollinator populations. The OKC Zoo is an accredited botanical garden and is home to a wide array of native flora. As spring starts to come into full bloom the OKC Zoo is participating in No Mow May! Spring is the beginning of the active pollinator season and as these... Read More
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SPRINGTIME FUN BLOOMS AT THE OKC ZOO: Ten Tips For Your Spring Break Zoo Visit!

Since 1904, Oklahomans have celebrated springtime at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Whether it’s an annual school trip or family visit, the Zoo is an ideal place to make lifelong memories. To make the most of your next visit, remember these top tips and consider the special way you can make a difference in animal conservation.    #1. Buy Your Tickets Online. This spring break the Zoo has rolled out the green carpet just for YOU! When you purchase tickets online, you can skip the... Read More
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Asian Elephant Asha’s Baby Bump-date

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is home to a seven-member, multi-generational Asian elephant herd with one on the way! Asha, 26, is in the home stretch of her approximate 22-month gestation period at 21 months pregnant. Due in late January, early February 2022, we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Asha’s fourth Asian elephant calf. Keep reading for a bump-date on Asha’s pregnancy from the Zoo’s Elephants and Rhinos Curator, Rachel Emory: “In preparation... Read More
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Captivating Cheetahs: OKC Zoo Celebrates Cheetahs

In honor of International Cheetah Day on December 4, we’re celebrating our newest animal family members, cheetah brothers Boomer and Pistol “Pete”! Boomer and Pete arrived at the OKC Zoo’s new Predator Pass habitat from Little Rock Zoo in Little Rock, Arkansas, over a month ago. The five-year-old brothers were born at Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since joining the Zoo’s animal family, their caretakers have noticed some key differences in their... Read More
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Snapshot Safari: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Wild Words

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is a supporter of Snapshot Safari, a camera network created by the University of Minnesota’s Lion Center. Through a donation s from the Round Up for Conservation Fund s , the Zoo contributed to the establishment of a camera trap grid in Zimbabwe in 2018. These cameras are used to contribute data to a census of mammals in several African countries. The Zoo’s long-time conservation partner, Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT), has also used... Read More
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Swing into Action: OKC Zoo Celebrates Orangutan Caring Week

This week we are celebrating Orangutan Caring Week at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, and we want you to get to know the Zoo’s orangutan pair, as well as learn all about what it takes to care for and conserve their species! Our two resident Sumatran orangutans, Elok and Negara, tend to be guest favorites, as they are easy to distinguish from one another and have an abundance of personality. Elok, the Zoo’s 21-year old male, is easily recognizable because of his large... Read More
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Grandma the Chicken Turtle: A Collaboration for Conservation

Conservation is commonly thought of in big picture terms- saving the Amazon Rainforest, preserving enough land for roaming families of elephants or gorillas and conserving the great barrier reef for generations into the future. But conservation can also be a school classroom, a teacher planting flowers for monarch butterflies, cleaning up trash from a local river or stream, or helping a turtle on the road get safely to the other side. This is the story of one of these smaller, yet very... Read More
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Make a SPOOKtacular Difference This Halloween by Shopping Sustainably

Are you sugar RUSHING to get candy? This year, make a positive difference for wild orangutans and other endangered species, including Sumatran tigers and Asian elephants, by purchasing Halloween treats made with sustainably-sourced palm oil.  Palm oil is a form of edible vegetable oil obtained from the fruit of the African oil palm tree. Palm oil is inexpensive and efficient, making it the world’s most widely used vegetable oil. Palm oil is found in approximately 50% of products... Read More
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Gorilla Gab: Quirky Traits of the Gorilla Troops

In honor of World Gorilla Day on Friday, September 24, we’re sharing all of the gab about the Oklahoma City Zoo’s beloved gorilla family members – courtesy of their caretakers! The Zoo is home to two troops of Western lowland gorillas – a family troop and a bachelor troop. The bachelor troop consists of three individuals – George, 17, Bouendje (Bo), 15, and Bakari, 15; and the family troop consists of seven gorillas – Finyezi (Fin), 3, Azinza, 3, Ruby, 6,... Read More
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One Batty Adventure: Notes from the Field

Bats are found all throughout Oklahoma and have experienced population decline as a result of habitat loss and climate change. Bats are an indicator species, meaning that by measuring their population health, conservationists are able to assess an area’s environmental health. Determining environmental health by indicator species can be achieved by observing and recording factors like population growth, population decrease and population density. Therefore, regular studies of the... Read More
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IncREDible Species: The OKC Zoo Celebrates International Red Panda Day

What is that furry creature in the treetops? Is it a bear, a raccoon or maybe a fox? No wait! It’s the elusive red panda! Red pandas are a one-of a-kind species, belonging to their own unique family named Ailuridea. Even though red panda share the name “panda” with giant pandas, they are not related. In fact, red pandas were scientifically documented 50 years before the giant panda in 1825. Red pandas are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation... Read More
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The Art of Creating Ecosystems

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is home to over 350 unique species, representing thousands of different continents, climates and ecosystems. It takes research, creativity and collaboration among Zoo teams to create enriching and naturalistic environments for the Zoo’s animal family. These immersive habitats not only benefit the Zoo’s animals but also Zoo guests who have the opportunity to experience the world‘s ecosystems and fascinating creatures during their... Read More
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One Tall Order: OKC Zoo Provides Update on Giraffe Julu’s Pregnancy

Julu, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s beloved six-year-old giraffe, is expecting her first offspring in the near future. In December 2020, the Zoo announced the pregnancies of Julu and her mother, Ellie, with an approximate delivery timespan of June 2021 for both females. While giraffe, Ellie, delivered her sixth calf, Kioni, on June 3, 2021, Julu continues to progress well through her pregnancy. Giraffes have a gestation period of around 15 months, however, like humans,... Read More
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Honoring Asian Elephant, Malee: The OKC Zoo’s Commitment to EEHV Research and Prevention

In honor of August being Asian Elephant Awareness Month, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is sharing about its commitment to elephant conservation through the story of Malee, the first Asian elephant born at the OKC Zoo, who passed away unexpectedly on October 1, 2015, at the age of four years old after succumbing to the deadly elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV). Following the loss of Malee, the Zoo’s Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Jennifer D’Agostino, led... Read More
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Complex Carnivores: New Feeding Pole Encourages Natural Hunting Behaviors

At the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, caretakers strive to encourage the natural behaviors of the animals in their care through enrichment. Enrichment is the action of improving or enhancing the quality of something. This can be accomplished in a multitude of ways, from introducing unfamiliar scents that encourage an animal’s sense of smell to installing climbing structures that encourage an animal’s climbing skills. Other forms of enrichment encourage natural feeding... Read More
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Ultra-healthy: OKC Zoo’s Cats Participate in Ultrasound and Radiograph Training

No cat-itude, just gratitude! At the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, medical training is a critical part of our animal family’s health and wellness. These voluntary training sessions not only monitor the health of our animal family, but also strengthen the relationships between caretaker and animal, while providing an enriching opportunity. When training for medical behaviors, the Zoo’s carnivore care team typically begins with medical injections, as well as blood draw... Read More
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Cat-tastic Healthcare: Training the Zoo’s Small Cats for Blood Draws and Injections

Feline healthy! At the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, medical training is a critical part of our animal family’s health and wellness. These training sessions not only monitor the health of our animal family, but also strengthen the relationships between caretaker and animal, while providing an enriching opportunity. Regardless of the size of the animal, caretakers strive to encourage voluntary medical participation by creating a rewarding, positive environment. The Zoo’s... Read More
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Conserving the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake: Field Notes from a Herpetologist

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden recently welcomed three Eastern massasauga rattlesnake snakelets, a federally protected species, to its Herpetarium habitat for the first time in its history as a result of a successful breeding effort this past May. The Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA) Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Species Survival Plan TM (EMR SSP) is comprised of 19 AZA-accredited zoos, including the OKC Zoo. As part of the Zoo’s commitment to the EMR SSP, Zoo... Read More
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Commitment to Care: OKC Zoo’s 31-year-old Gila Monster Undergoes Surgery

On Thursday, May 27, one of the Zoo’s Gila monsters underwent surgery at 10 a.m. at the Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital to remove a tumor from her kidney tissue. Native to southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, Gila monsters are reptiles and named for the Gila River in Arizona. They are covered in beadlike dorsal scales that are black and yellow or pink, and they have a forked tongue that is used to “taste” the air for the presence of food and predators. They... Read More
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Conservation Success Stories: OKC Zoo Initiates Black Rat Snake Spatial Ecology Research

Here at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, we believe in the importance of conserving the world’s wildlife and wild places. In 2020, the Zoo contributed over $220,000 to benefit local and global conservation efforts. Much of this money was raised through the Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation initiative. Through individual guest contributions, Round Up for Conservation funds helped cultivate several conservation success stories in 2020. One of those ten focused on black... Read More
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(Monitor)ing the Breeding of Black Tree Monitors

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden recently welcomed four black tree monitor hatchlings; the first for the Zoo in several years. The Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for the Black Tree Monitor, a lizard species listed as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).   Black tree monitors are found exclusively on Aru island off the west coast of New... Read More
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OKC Zoo Saddened to Announce Passing of Geriatric White-Tailed Deer

On Wednesday, June 16, one of the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s female, 17-year-old white-tailed deer, Ruby, was examined by the Zoo’s veterinary team after caretakers noticed changes in her behavior including lethargy, as well as a change in body condition. Ruby had been closely monitored by her care team for the past couple of years due to her advanced age and diagnosis of arthritis.  This examination led caretakers to the difficult decision to humanely euthanize... Read More
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Beating the Oklahoma Heat: How the OKC Zoo Keeps its Animal Family Cool and Comfortable

When visiting the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden in the heat of summer, many Zoo guests wonder how the Zoo’s animals keep cool. From elephants to bears and tigers to turtles, the Zoo is committed to the health, enrichment and comfortability of every wild member of its animal family. The Zoo’s first strategy for keeping animals cool begins with the design of their habitats. Each of the Zoo’s animal habitats provide the animals consistent access to shaded... Read More
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Conservation Success Stories: Educating Oklahomans for the Future of Monarchs

Here at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens we believe in the importance of conserving the world’s wildlife and wild places. In 2020, the Zoo raised over $220,000 toward to benefit local and global conservation efforts as part of its  Round Up for Conservation  initiative. Through individual guest contributions, Round Up for Conservation funds helped cultivate 10 conservation success stories in 2020. Of those ten, the Zoo was able to strengthen its long-time commitment... Read More
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Conservation Success Stories: OKC Zoo Reaches New Heights to Conserve Giraffes

Here at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, we believe in the importance of conserving the world’s wildlife and wild places. In 2020, the Zoo contributed over $220,000 to benefit local and global conservation efforts as part of its Round Up for Conservation initiative. Through individual guest contributions, Round Up for Conservation funds helped cultivate 10 conservation success stories in 2020. Of those, the Zoo has contributed funds to support giraffe conservation. The Zoo... Read More
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Conservation Success Stories: OKC Zoo Provides Training to Mountain Gorilla Researchers

Here at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, we believe in the importance of conserving the world’s wildlife and wild places. In 2020, the Zoo raised over $220,000 to benefit local and global conservation efforts as part of its Round Up for Conservation initiative. Through individual guest contributions, Round Up for Conservation funds helped cultivate 10 conservation success stories in 2020. Of those ten, one success story focuses on supporting researchers who protect the... Read More
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Leaning on Each Otter this World Otter Day

In honor of World Otter Day, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden invited Ben Yoxon of the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) to write a guest blog about IOSF’s crucial conservation efforts to protect the world’s 13 species of otters. The Zoo is home to two North American river otters, Rocky and Pip, who reside at the Big Rivers habitat located inside Oklahoma Trails. Other otter species include sea otters, giant otters, Eurasian otters, Asian small-clawed otters,... Read More
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Conservation Success Stories: Increasing the Genetic Diversity of Guatemalan Beaded Lizards

Here at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, we believe in the importance of conserving the world’s wildlife and wild places. In 2020, the Zoo raised over $220,000 to benefit local and global conservation efforts as part of its Round Up for Conservation initiative. Through individual guest contributions, Round Up for Conservation funds helped cultivate 10 conservation success stories in 2020. One of those ten focused toward a goal of increasing the genetic diversity of... Read More
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Pups in Training: OKC Zoo’s African Painted Dogs Receive Voluntary Hand Injections

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is home to a pack of five African Painted dogs, consisting of our matriarch, Xena, 9, her mate, Dojo, 9, and their three offspring Tex, Back Slash and Spot, who are four years old. All of the Zoo’s painted dogs are involved in a behavioral training program here at the Zoo that allows caretakers to train new behaviors through positive reinforcement. Training works to mentally stimulate the pack, as well as present them with the opportunity to... Read More
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Conservation Success Stories: OKC Zoo is Batty for Conservation

Here at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, we’re batty about the importance of conserving the world’s wildlife and wild places. In 2020, the Zoo raised over $220,000 to benefit local and global conservation efforts as part of its Round Up for Conservation initiative. Through individual guest contributions, Round Up for Conservation funds helped cultivate 10 conservation success stories in 2020. Of those 10 stories, one effort focused on the study of bat biodiversity and... Read More
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Conservation Success Stories: OKC Zoo Contributes to Bird Conservation

Here at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, we believe in the importance of conserving the world’s wildlife and wild places. In 2020, the Zoo raised over $220,000 toward to benefit local and global conservation efforts as part of its Round Up for Conservation initiative. Through individual guest contributions, Round Up for Conservation funds helped cultivate 10 conservation success stories in 2020. Of those ten, the Zoo was able to contribute to North American bird research and... Read More
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Wild About the Earth: Six Ways to Help Wildlife this Earth Day

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s mission is to connect you to wildlife, as we strive to conserve wild places. This Earth Day, we want to share six actions OKC Zoo fans can take to protect endangered species. We challenge you to complete at least one before the day is through, but remember – every day is Earth Day! Donate a cellphone to the Zoo’s Gorillas on the Line Cellphone Challenge Join the OKC Zoo in its efforts to protect wild gorillas and... Read More
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Conservation Success Stories: OKC Zoo Contributes to Bee Research and Conservation

Do you bee-lieve in conservation?   Here at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, we believe in the importance of conserving the world’s wildlife and wild places. In 2020, the Zoo contributed over $220,000 to benefit local and global conservation efforts. Much of this funding was raised through the Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation initiative, a grant from the Kirkpatrick Foundation, as well as donations through the Oklahoma Zoological Society (OKC ZOOfriends) and the... Read More
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Zoo’s Historic Grottos Transformed into New Raptor Ridge Habitat

Recently, a historical part of the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden was renovated to create a new home for the Zoo’s raptor species. Raptors are large birds of prey and includes species like, eagles, owls, condors and vultures. Originally built in 1938, the grottos, located near the Zoo’s sea lion habitat, was a must-see stop for anyone visiting the Zoo. The grottos were originally built to house the Zoo’s big cats and were considered top-of-the-line animal... Read More
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Mush(room) to Grow: Mycology 101

It is spring here at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. The ground is warming, birds are singing, and it’s mushroom season! These fragile organisms are often overlooked or viewed as a pest, but we at the Zoo have a pension for these slimy, little marvels. The vast collection of flora upkept by the Zoo’s horticultural team is host to a few hundred of the over ten thousand known mushroom species, and they can be split into four basic categories – saprophytic,... Read More
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Conservation Success Stories: Providing Texas Horned Lizards a Head Start

Here at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, we believe in the importance of conserving the world’s wildlife and wild places. In 2020, the Zoo raised over $220,000 to benefit local and global conservation efforts as part of its Round Up for Conservation initiative. Through individual guest contributions, Round Up for Conservation funds helped cultivate 10 conservation success stories in 2020. Of those ten, one success story focuses on Oklahoma's beloved lizard,... Read More
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Neck and Neck: Update on OKC Zoo Giraffes Ellie and Julu’s Pregnancies

Two of the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s giraffes, 20-year-old, Ellie, and five-year-old, Julu, are pregnant and each due to give birth between late April and early May 2021. Caretakers have enjoyed watching the mother-daughter duo experience their pregnancies together. This will be Ellie’s sixth calf to be born at the Zoo and Julu’s first offspring. Three-year-old, Demetri, is the father of both calves, which are also his first offspring. The average gestation... Read More
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Blooms and Butterflies: Signs of Spring at the OKC Zoo

  Out with the old and in with the new! As we say goodbye to winter at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, we begin to welcome spring with open arms. Though the Zoo is filled with over 500 different animal species, guests can also experience over 5,500 plant species within the Zoo! As an accredited botanical garden, the Zoo is home to a large collection of flora that is native to the United States and various other countries to enhance the Zoo’s landscape. The... Read More
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The Ultimate Spring Break Guide to a Wild, Wonderful OKC Zoo Visit

What better way to spend spring break than a trip to the Zoo? Spring into action, stretch your legs, and experience the unique attractions and experiences the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has to offer. This wild guide provides information on must-do attractions, shares how you can directly contribute to the Zoo’s conservation efforts and includes helpful tips to know before your visit. The 10 Wildest Things to Do at the OKC Zoo: ... Read More
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How to Train a Baby Rhino

At just over 550 pounds, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s youngest Indian rhino is growing up quickly! Yabi was born on October 23, 2020, weighing in at approximately 154 pounds. She is the second calf born to mom, Niki, but she more closely resembles her late father, Arun. Never far from mom, Yabi gains a little more confidence and independence every day as she continues to explore her habitat in Sanctuary Asia. Guests can often find her wallowing in the mud or napping in... Read More
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Enriching Your Pets at Home, Lessons from an Animal Behaviorist

Have you ever wondered what your pets do all day when you’re at work? Have you come home to a chewed-up shoe or re-arranged living room? If so, these may be “tail” tell signs that your pet needs some daily enrichment! Many people aren’t aware just how crucial enrichment is for animals in human care. Behavioral enrichment is as fundamental to animal welfare as proper nutrition and veterinary care.  At the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical... Read More
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WHAT A WILD WINTER

A mere two weeks ago during the Oklahoma City Zoo’s annual Groundhog Day event, Will and Wiley, our guessing grizzlies, predicted an early spring. While there are still several weeks to gauge the accuracy of the bear’s forecasting abilities, it is hard to fathom spring conditions forthcoming as we are currently experiencing heavy snow, gusting winds and record lows temperatures. This winter season arrived early in Oklahoma with a rare ice storm occurring in late October 2020.... Read More
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