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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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Ginger the Bison Walks Down Memory Lane With Early Morning Stroll Outside Of Primary Habitat

At approximately 10:15 a.m. on Saturday February 11 th the Oklahoma City Zoo’s 16-year-old American bison, Ginger, took a leisurely stroll beyond her primary enclosure to explore her old stomping grounds, not accessible to the public, a few yards away. Ginger, who’s well known for her mellow disposition, had no involvement with Zoo visitors and was led back to her primary habitat a short while later. The Zoo’s Animal Hoofstock and Guest Services teams were immediately... Read More
at Saturday, February 11, 2017
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Zoo Bears Enjoy Weather-Predicting Tradition

Grizzly bear brothers, Will and Wiley, have been predicting the weather on  Groundhog  Day at the Zoo since shortly after their arrival in 2003. Although not  groundhog s, bears are very in tune with the weather and upcoming seasonal changes because the presence of their food resources in the wild also changes with the weather. Interestingly, this celebration of changing seasons has ancient European origins in which a badger or a sacred bear were part of weather lore and held... Read More
at Thursday, February 2, 2017
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Zoo Supports Organization that Protects Only Thriving Ape Species

Founded on the ground-breaking research of one woman in 1967, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) celebrates its 50 th anniversary this year. Dian Fossey gained worldwide recognition for her work to protect and study mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Africa, before her untimely death. Her book, “Gorillas in the Mist,” published in 1983 gives an account of her years in the rainforest with the mountain gorillas and underscores the need for concerted conservation efforts. A... Read More
at Wednesday, February 1, 2017
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New Herpetarium Exhibits Promise Tropical Temps

New Digs and New Faces: Winter News from the Reptile and Amphibian Department While this time of year may have you reluctant to visit the zoo because of the colder weather, the warm and toasty environments of the Herpetarium, Island life, and Big Rivers buildings will encourage you to learn about and observe all of our cold-blooded and unique animal residents within. You’ve probably seen many changes to both our Herpetarium building and our animal collection over the past few months.... Read More
at Wednesday, February 1, 2017
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Birth of Endangered Kitten Brings "Ocelot" of Fun

New Endearing Ocelot Kitten also an Endangered Species This adorable, new ocelot kitten was born at the Zoo on December 27, 2016. Its birth was a “purr”fect start to a new year at the Zoo and a roaring addition to its species, namely because less than 100 ocelots exist in the wild, including some that have been spotted in south Texas. The Zoo keepers named the male kitten Ignacio (Igg-NAH-see-o), born to 12-year-old mom Pinga and 12-year-old dad Pitu. This birth celebrates... Read More
at Wednesday, February 1, 2017
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From Australia to Oklahoma: Negara’s 10,000-Mile Journey

After a two-year process, the Oklahoma City Zoo has welcomed home 23-year-old, female Sumatran orangutan Negara. The Zoo had to apply for permits from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, while Australia had to follow its government’s permitting protocol.  Almost a full year passed before both permits for Negara’s move were approved.  Laura Bottaro, OKC zoological curator, worked diligently with colleagues to write Negara’s permit and a company that specializes in... Read More
at Tuesday, January 31, 2017
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Not All Zoos are Created Equal

Imagine a world where all people believed in a better future for all living things. Now, envision yourself at the Oklahoma City Zoo, surrounded by passionate animal keepers, happy horticulturists and inspired guests who all respect, value and conserve wildlife and wild places. This ideal is the principal goal of the Zoo and its accrediting organization, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). What Does it Mean to be Accredited?  Accreditation is awarded through a stringent... Read More
at Thursday, January 26, 2017
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A Big Project in Search of Some Little Frogs

The following travel diary entries were 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 one of its conservation partner organizations, Jatun Sacha, in Ecuador. Read and be transported to the depths of the wet and wild rainforest where much is still undiscovered and unearthed.  Entry: 1/5/2017  Hello! I’m currently writing to you from the center of the world! I’m... Read More
at Saturday, January 21, 2017
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Zoo Pledges to Benefit Local Lands and Waters

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Oklahoma City Zoo recently formed a legacy conservation partnership to support scientific research conducted at TNC preserves in Oklahoma. The Zoo established a science and research fund with TNC that the Zoo will contribute to annually over the next five years. Funds for the partnership are primarily generated from the Oklahoma Zoological Society and the sale of ZOOfriends’ memberships.  “Oklahoma is a beautiful, unique state that is... Read More
at Thursday, January 19, 2017
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In Memory of Moe

If I had to choose just one animal at the Oklahoma City Zoo that stands out as giving joy to literally millions of guests through the years, it would be our California sea lion, Moe. Sadly, however, Moe passed away Tuesday, January, 17, due to age-related health conditions. Moe was 30 years old and lived well beyond a sea lion’s median life expectancy of 23 years. Early Life Born in May 1986, he came to the Zoo from the Tulsa Zoo at just nine months old, so I had known Moe since... Read More
at Tuesday, January 17, 2017
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More Than A Zoo

Although the Zoo takes pride in being the number one recreation destination in Oklahoma, the Zoo has a broader mission. As a conservation organization, the Zoo strives to help stop and reverse the rapid decline of species and habitats locally and globally. Ways the Zoo Helps: You might be wondering how the Zoo can really make a difference on such a big planet with big challenges? The Zoo focuses on several areas that have long-term impacts: 1) Participating in cooperative breeding... Read More
at Tuesday, January 10, 2017
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Zoo Animals Safe and Sound during Holidays

A common question we are asked this time of year is, “What happens to the animals when the Zoo is closed?” First, the Zoo is only scheduled to close three days each year: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days. However, just because the Zoo is closed to the public so our staff can enjoy some quality family time, a team still arrives at 8 a.m. and remains until noon to clean and feed the animals. Depending on the weather, some animals may choose to go outside for a few... Read More
at Thursday, January 5, 2017
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Birds of Many Feathers Will Flock Together

Anyone who has remodeled a house knows that you most always run into the unexpected. The recent remodel of the Zoo’s Dan Moran Aviary has been no exception. First, we carefully moved more than 30 birds to a Zoo holding area called overwintering, where the birds--from small passerines (or songbirds such as tanagers and cardinals), waterfowl, gamebirds, doves, turacos and shorebirds—can temporarily live during cold months. One of the projects included tearing out and rebuilding a... Read More
at Wednesday, December 28, 2016
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Breeding: A Natural Behavior that Supports Well-being

Breeding and reproduction are important, natural behaviors and normal aspects of the lifecycle for all animals. At the Oklahoma City Zoo, we support the natural breeding behavior of our Asian elephant herd, as it promotes the physical health of the animals and a quality well-being. This quality of life for elephants is best experienced in a natural social structure involving a mixed herd of several different generations. At the Zoo, the elephants engage in natural breeding behavior. The... Read More
at Monday, December 26, 2016
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Eat Your Vegetables

If your children find it hard to like and eat nutritious leafy greens, just tell them to act like a fish! The Zoo’s aquarium fish actually love leafy greens. In fact, romaine lettuce is their food of choice. They also enjoy bok choy, collards and kale. Most of the leafy greens are delivered to the Aquarium by the Zoo’s commissary team. But to encourage this passion for plants, the aquarium team custom built a small aquaponics system so the Zoo could grow some of its own leafy... Read More
at Tuesday, December 20, 2016
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The Biggest Feet in the Zoo

The Oklahoma City Zoo’s elephant program encompasses daily feedings, exercises, baths enrichment activities and health checks. As a part of the elephant team, I enjoy doing footwork on the elephants the most. Footwork is a very important part of keeping our elephants healthy. Everyday during each elephant’s morning bath, we hose off and inspect their feet for any problems. An elephant’s foot pad is like a giant shock absorber that enables them to walk, swim, climb, stomp on... Read More
at Sunday, December 18, 2016
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Winter on the Wild Side

Ever wonder where the animals go when the weather gets cold?  The Oklahoma City Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals which originate from all over the world.  These parts of the world experience different temperatures and climates. Oklahoma can get cold during the winter but, in comparison to some parts of the United States and the world, our state is considered to have usually mild winters.  Our caretakers ensure that the Zoo’s animals have structures or shelters... Read More
at Friday, December 16, 2016
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Phoenix Dives in Deep

Phoenix , our California sea lion pup, was born earlier this year on June 25, weighing in at a whopping 15 pounds. In only five months, she has more than tripled her weight. Sea lion pups usually gain one to two pounds per week, so she is right on track! Her parents, Xander and Pearl, were rescues, which is important to the zoological community because their genetics were not represented… until  Phoenix  was born! Pups are well developed at birth. They can see, vocalize... Read More
at Monday, December 12, 2016
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Partnership Works to Save Wild Populations in Africa

The wild populations of many iconic African species are declining rapidly because of habitat loss and poaching. The local communities that share space with these species are also struggling to survive. The OKC Zoo is helping these animals and people through a multi-year partnership with the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) in Kenya.  NRT is an umbrella organization that aims to establish resilient community conservancies that transform lives, secure peace, and conserve natural... Read More
at Thursday, December 8, 2016
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