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At the OKC Zoo, Go Wild!

Category: Zoo conservation and science

Conservation Update: Field Report from OKC Zoo-Supported Turtle Research Project in Belize

Last month, the OKC Zoo received a field research update from University of Oklahoma graduate student Elyse Ellsworth who the Zoo is funding to study Central American river turtles (aka hicatee) in Belize. Elyse is capturing wild hicatee and placing radio-transmitters on them to track their movements. This is not easy to do considering these turtles spend most of their time underwater – making them hard to find and hard to track because the transmitter only sends data when... Read More
at Thursday, February 28, 2019
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Have You HERD Asha's Big News?

You are never supposed to have a favorite animal, but I have to admit some of us do. For me, it’s Asha, the OKC Zoo’s 23-year-old female Asian elephant. She has a sweet temperament, eager to train and socialize with caretakers. She is also a wonderful mother to Achara, 3, and will soon be raising a new calf, due this fall after a 22-month gestation! Rex, 48, will yet again be a proud papa fathering his second calf since he arrived at the Zoo.   You may be asking... Read More
at Monday, May 7, 2018
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New at the OKC Zoo: Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Now Active, Free to Guests

Guests visiting the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden can now charge their vehicles at no cost at one of three charging stations located along the northwest side of the recently renovated parking lot. These spaces are reserved for Zoo guests driving electric or e-assist vehicles and are located just a few steps away from the main entrance. In addition to the charging stations, the recently renovated parking lot features highly efficient LED lighting and native, drought-resistant... Read More
at Monday, April 23, 2018
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OKC Zoo Joins Global Effort to Save Giraffes

Giraffes are experiencing a “silent” extinction crisis. Until recently, they were considered common throughout much of their African range and their numbers were not being well-monitored. In the last five years, however, experts from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group compiled population data and discovered that the wild giraffe population has declined by 40 percent in the last 30 years. Habitat destruction and poaching... Read More
at Thursday, April 5, 2018
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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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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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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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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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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 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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Zookeeper Highlight: Josh Lucas

The Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden is celebrating National Zookeeper Week – taking place from July 16 through July 22. Our staff of zookeepers are hardworking, passionate and driven individuals who spend each day caring for the animals in their various departments! This week, we are highlighting six zookeepers; ranging from elephant to carnivore caretakers. First up is Josh Lucas! Keeper Josh cares for the reptiles and amphibians of the OKC Zoo.   How long have you... Read More
at Monday, July 17, 2017
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Looking Out for the World’s Tallest Animal

We celebrated World Giraffe Day at the Zoo on June 21, however, the Zoo’s commitment to protecting giraffes goes far beyond one day of celebration. Giraffes are one of the most recognizable animals in the world and a favorite of many zoo-goers. Despite this, they have not been well-studied and much remains to be learned about their social systems. The Zoo is supporting this important research through its Conservation Action Now (CAN) grant program. Until recently giraffes were... Read More
at Friday, June 23, 2017
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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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