OKC Zoo Recognizes Animal Fathers (Plus One Father-To-Be)

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is home to 1,186 animals, all of whom have a father. While it would be nearly impossible to profile each individual dad, in honor of Father’s Day, allow us to introduce a few of the Zoo’s best known and most prodigious parents. 

 Photo: Andrea Johnson

Togo, Western Lowland Gorilla

Togo, a 29-year-old silverback Western lowland gorilla, has fathered three offspring, including Ruby and Azinza, who remain at the OKC Zoo’s Great EscApe habitat. He previously fathered Kamina, who now resides at the Columbus Zoo, in 2014. Togo will be soon a father to another offspring: Ndjole is pregnant and expected to deliver later this summer. Togo arrived at the Zoo in 2012 from the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory as part of a breeding recommendation made by the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP). SSP programs oversee the population management of select species within Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) member institutions.

Photo: Andrea Johnson

Rex, Asian Elephant

Rex, 49, is proud papa to Achara, 3. He and Asha, 23, are expecting offspring number two in October. Rex came to the OKC Zoo from Canada’s African Lion Safari in 2011 as part of a breeding recommendation by the Elephant Species Survival Plan. Rex is generally a hands-off parent. While he and Achara will sometimes interact, Rex is not actively involved in raising her. This is common for the species, as calves in the wild are raised by the females of the herd. Rex spends his time soaking in our various habitat pools and enjoys snacking on elm trees and other treats from our caretakers.

Photo: Andrea Johnson

Kami, Sumatran Tiger

Kami, 10, has sired three cubs: Eko, Ramah and Gusti. He is adopted father to Amur tiger, Zoya, who came to the OKC Zoo at 11-days-old after being neglected by her birth mom. Kami came to the OKC Zoo from Akron Zoo in 2015 as part of a Species Survival Plan breeding recommendation. Stay tuned to the Zoo’s social media for information on the cubs’ upcoming first birthday celebration next month.

Xander, California Sea Lion

Xander, 15, arrived at the OKC Zoo in 2003. He fathered Cash, 1, and Phoenix, 2. Both remain at the Oklahoma City Zoo’s Noble Aquatic Center. Xander was rescued off the coast of California and arrived at the Zoo from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach. Zoo guests can see Xander in the Sea Lion presentations daily at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Sir David Pigglesworth, Red River Hog

Sir David Pigglesworth, 11, has sired an astonishing 22 offspring since he arrived from the Bronx Zoo in 2009. It was at this previous home that Sir Pigglesworth earned his unique moniker from Prince William, who “knighted” the animal during a visit to the United States. David’s most recent litter of three piglets, two males and one female, arrived last month and are located at the red river hog habitat at the OKC Zoo.

Max, Galapagos Tortoise

The most prodigious father at the OKC Zoo is also one of the oldest. Max, 73, has sired anywhere from 40 to 82 offspring since arriving at the Zoo in 1974! For much of Max’s time at the Zoo, there was another male Galapagos tortoise sharing his habitat at Island Life, making it difficult to discern which animal fathered which offspring. Now, Max shares his habitat with three adult females: Ellie, Isabela (Isa for short) and Mrs. B. Surprise dad with a Wild Encounter experience this Father’s Day and he’ll have an opportunity to meet Max! Other encounters available in various animal areas. Call Guest Services at (405) 425-0262 to make reservations.

Photo: Andrea Johnson

Thomas, Red Panda

Thomas, 5, is not yet officially a dad, but he is a father-to-be. Thomas and Leela, 4, will welcome their first offspring next month. He came to the OKC Zoo from the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk in December 2017 as part of a Species Survival Plan breeding recommendation. Since the Zoo began its red panda program in 1988, it has experienced 15 (soon to be 16) red panda cub births.

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