The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is less than three months away from the official opening of its new Galapagos tortoise habitat on Valentine’s Day 2020! Barring any unforeseen obstacles, the entire project will be completed in less than a year, proving less “slow and steady” than “efficient and well-planned”.
The state-of-the-art facility, located just inside the Zoo’s entry, will feature almost 9,000 square feet for the tortoises to roam.
The habitat consists of one indoor and two outdoor spaces, plus a new walkway for Zoo guests. The climate-controlled 900 square foot indoor habitat consists of a nesting area, an indoor pool, natural substrate floors, a vestibule for animal caretakers with a sink and utility space. It also features an open-air viewing area for Zoo guests. The spacious 8,000 square foot outdoor habitat offers plenty of room for the tortoises to roam with natural boulders, a log wall and lush landscaping.
The Zoo is home to four Galapagos tortoises ranging from 70 to 110 years old including male, Max and females, Ellie, Isabela (Isa for short) and Mrs. B. Galapagos tortoises are animals with one of the longest life spans on earth and the OKC Zoo’s group of four are the Zoo’s oldest inhabitants.
Galapagos tortoises were on a rapid decline towards extinction, going from over 200,000 individuals in the 1600s all the way down to 3,000 in the 1970s. Due to rigorous conservation efforts, their population is on the rise! There are now about 20,000 Galapagos tortoises in the wild.
Galapagos tortoises have been a favorite at the Oklahoma City Zoo since 1966. By building this larger, modern habitat, the Zoo is continuing to its commitment to conserve, care for and connect future generations of guests to these magnificent creatures.
The Zoo’s current Galapagos tortoise habitat at Island Life will be going away when construction begins on the Zoo’s next major expansion project, Africa.