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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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From Headstart to Release: Texas Horned Lizards Return to Tinker Air Force Base

  The Texas horned lizard is an iconic reptile species in Oklahoma. Once common in the state, these lizards have experienced population declines since the 1960s, resulting in their listing as a species of special concern in Oklahoma. Threats to this species include habitat loss, the spread of invasive red imported fire ants, loss of their primary food source (harvester ants) and overcollection for the pet trade, particularly in the early and mid-1900s. Funded by the National... 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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OKC Zoo Saddened to Announce Passing of Geriatric Ocelot

The Oklahoma City Zoo is saddened to announce that male ocelot, Pitu, 17, was humanely euthanized Thursday, March 18, 2021, at the Oklahoma City Zoo’s Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital. Pitu was in the final stages of renal (kidney) failure, a common disease in both domestic and wild felids. At 17 years old, Pitu was considered a geriatric animal. He lived beyond the median life expectancy for ocelots, which is 15.7 years according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a testament to... 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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Wild About Love: OKC Zoo Love Connections

At the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, we love connecting our guests to wildlife and wild places! This Valentine’s Day, we asked our Zoo fans all over social media to share their love stories and special connections to the Zoo. We want to thank everyone who shared the love! Take a look at these wild, wonderful love stories: From Sara Rowe on Facebook: “My husband and I were married at the Zoo in September 2018.” From Donna Belles on Facebook: ... Read More
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Bison Footcare: Mary Ann’s Hooves Are Made for Walking

The American bison is North America’s largest and heaviest land mammal. The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is home to three bison – two-year-old Verbena and Yarrow, and 19-year-old, Mary Ann. To ensure the health and wellness of the Zoo’s bison herd, each individual receives an annual wellness exam from the Zoo’s veterinary team, which includes a full body exam, bloodwork and a hoof trim.  Much like human feet, bison hooves also experience the effects of... Read More
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Beaks and Binoculars: Birdwatching for Beginners

The Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizens-science project in its 24 th year, is hosted annually in the month of February. This project calls on bird enthusiasts all over the world  to come together and assist with identifying, counting and learning about different bird species. In past years, the Zoo has partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife (ODWC) to host a Backyard Bird Count event on Zoo grounds, consisting of guided tours from local, bird experts. However,... Read More
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Howdy Deer: Fawn Sisters Meet the Zoo’s Adult Deer Herd

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has been home to white-tailed deer since its founding in 1902. Currently, the Zoo’s Oklahoma Trails habitat is home to three female deer; Ruby, 16, Cher, 15 and Chaz, 12. At the end of July 2020, the Zoo welcomed two, six-week-old deer fawns, Tiva and Tula. Since their arrival, the sisters have spent time growing together in one of the Zoo’s okapi habitats. Now, at seven months old, Tiva and Tula, are ready to join the adult deer herd. ... Read More
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Playing with Your Food Can Give You Food for Thought

How much effort do you put into preparing or acquiring your meals? Do you take a few steps to the fridge or place a call to the local pizza place? For the animals at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, the behavioral effort behind meal time is an important part of their daily, enriched feeding experience. One way we encourage our animal family to use their natural skills and diligence when gathering and eating their food is through items known as puzzle feeders. You may be wondering;... Read More
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Appreciate a Dragon Day

Happy Appreciate a Dragon Day! While dragons are technically mythical creatures, the Komodo dragon, known as the world’s heaviest lizard, is without a doubt the most similar-looking living creature. Hi, I’m Rae Karpinski, and as the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s primary caretaker of Komodo dragons and lead caretaker of herpetology, I know there is a lot to appreciate about these unique animals! Here at the Zoo, we’re home to two adult Komodo dragons,... Read More
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Prime-mates: Meet New Chimp Nia

Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s seven chimpanzees recently welcomed a new troop mate Nia (Nigh-ya), a 12-year-old female, joined the Zoo’s animal family in August 2020 from Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas.  Nia is the half-sister of beloved 10-year-old chimpanzee, Siri, who joined the Zoo’s chimpanzee troop in 2011 as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan™ for Chimpanzees (SSP).   The SSP also... Read More
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OKC Zoo Announces the Death of Geriatric Bobcat, Cody

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is saddened to announce that 19-year-old male bobcat, Cody, was euthanized Sunday, January 3, 2021. According to caretakers, Cody was alert Sunday morning and his behavior and routine were normal. He received his morning diet then went outside to explore his Oklahoma Trails habitat. Later that afternoon, Zoo guests alerted caretakers that Cody had started seizing. Caretakers immediately contacted the veterinary care team, which rushed to the habitat... Read More
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A Swanderful Pair

The trumpeter swan, recognized as North America’s largest and heaviest waterfowl, is a charming avian species, named for its distinctive, trumpeting vocalizations. While there are a plethora of fascinating facts about swans, perhaps the most compelling relates to their tendency to form monogamous, long-term partnerships. Because of this observed behavior, swans are considered a rarity among other feathered species. When the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s female... Read More
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OKC ZOO BABY NEWS: OUR GIRAFFE HERD IS GROWING BY TWO!

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s gift to you this holiday season – we are excited to announce that our giraffe herd is growing by two! The Zoo’s female giraffes, Ellie, 20, and Julu, 5, are pregnant and due to give birth in May 2021. Demetri, 3, is the father of both calves, which are also his first offspring. This will be Ellie’s sixth calf to be born at the OKC Zoo and Julu’s first offspring. The OKC Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and... Read More
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Chilean Flamingo Chick Fostered by American Flamingo Pair

This year, the Oklahoma City Zoo welcomed a new flamingo chick to the Zoo’s animal family. Over the past several years, Zoo guests have been introduced to several American flamingo chicks through the Zoo’s social media platforms and public viewing opportunities at the Island Life flamingo habitat. This adorable little flamingo chick, however, is the first Chilean... Read More
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Providing Texas Horned Lizards Populations, a Headstart

The Texas horned lizard, an iconic reptile species in Oklahoma, has been experiencing population declines since the 1960s. Threats to this species include overcollection for the pet trade, particularly in the early- and mid-1900s, the spread of invasive red imported fire ants, loss of their primary food source, harvester ants, and habitat loss. Since 2003, scientists have been studying a particular population of these remarkable lizards on Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma,... Read More
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