Media Contact

Candice Rennels | (405) 425-0298 |

OKC Zoo News Releases


The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is excited to partner with Bob Moore Subaru and come together in celebration of one of the world’s most beloved species, Asian elephants, this World Elephant Day.

Thursday, August 12, is World Elephant Day, and the OKC Zoo is hosting activities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at its elephant habitat, Sanctuary Asia and near the ZooZeum. Presented locally by Bob Moore Subaru, this is a special day to raise attention and awareness to the issues facing Asian elephants through event activities and #ThumbsUpTrunksUp, a global social media campaign. Event goers will be able to participate in a “trunk” load of event activities, all free with Zoo admission, including:

  • Kids Activities with a Prize: Participants 11 and under will have opportunity to learn more about Asian elephants, including the Zoo’s seven herd members, through the Herd Member Activity Card. These cards will be available at the Conservation Education Station table. Young Zoo goers will also enjoy a spinning wheel interactive, plinko game and Trunk Wash activity!

  • Conservation Flag Creation Station: Guests can decorate their own conservation flag with artistic messages and designs.

  • Facebook Live Chats with the Zoo’s elephant caretakers (10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.): Tune in here, Facebook, for these informative chats.

  • Story Time with an Elephant Caretaker (11:15 a.m./Elephant Presentation Pavilion): Little ones will be all “ears” for this fun activity.

  • Conservation Education Station: View bio-facts while learning what the Zoo is doing to help wild elephant populations and their habitat, and how you can help.

  • #ThumbsUpTrunksUp For Asian Elephants:

    • Wildlife fans are also encouraged to take a “thumbs up” social photo while at the Zoo with #ThumbsUpTrunksUp and share why they love Asian elephants in their captions. Remember to tag @okczoo.

    • Show your love for Asian elephants by adding your “thumbprint” signature to our event banner.

  • Elephant Enrichment Presentation (Elephant Presentation Pavilion, 2 p.m.)

  • ZOOfriends’ Asian Elephant Animal Adoption Option: In honor of World Elephant Day, you can symbolically adopt a member of the Zoo’s elephant family. Adoption packages are $20 and include a personalized adoption certificate, fact sheet and name recognition on the ZOOfriends website for a year. Visit the animal adoption table located in the ZooZeum to purchase an adoption package for yourself and the elephant fan in your life! 

  • Elephant Conservation Wristbands: These OKC Zoo exclusive wristbands will be available at the event for $2 each and proceeds support the Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation program.

  • Photo Opportunities sponsored by Bob Moore Subaru.


To keep the World Elephant Day momentum going, the OKC Zoo is partnering with Chicken N Pickle (8400 N Oklahoma Ave) and hosting a fundraising event, “Evening for Elephants,” on Thursday, August 12. Join the herd at Chicken N Pickle from 6 to 8 p.m., for a night of fun, good food and games in support of elephant conservation. Chicken N Pickle will donate 10% of all food and beverage sales to support Asian elephant EEHV, elephant herpesvirus, treatment and monitoring. Participants can meet members of the Zoo’s elephant care team and try their hand at playing a game of giant yard pong for a $3 donation per person to elephant conservation, a chance to win an elephant Wild Encounter experience. For additional details, check out the Zoo’s Facebook.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Asian elephants are an endangered species with many threats to their survival. The biggest threat includes human-elephant conflict as a result of habitat loss and poaching for ivory tusks, skin and meat. Asian elephants live in a very densely populated section of the world. As habitat decreases, they come in contact with people causing conflict because elephants raid food stores and crops. Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV), a fast-moving elephant herpes virus, with an approximately 60% fatality rate, and habitat destruction due to palm oil plantations are other major threats to their populations.

The OKC Zoo is dedicated not only to educating wildlife fans about the plight of Asian elephants, but also conserving their wild counterparts through global partnerships. In 2020, the Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation funds supported EEHV vaccine development. Additionally, these funds contributed to the development of a PCR laboratory for a nature conservancy located in Nepal, home to more than 200 elephants. The Zoo has supported the Northern Rangelands Trust since 2009, which protects elephants and other native species in Kenya, the Zoo partnered with the Rainforest Trust to purchase and preserve 13,000 acres of forest in central Sumatra and 18,000 acres of forest in Borneo, both of which are natural habitats for Asian elephants. The Zoo also backed a number of other elephant conservation projects, including the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Rakhine Yoma Elephant Range Project in Myanmar and International Elephant Foundation’s conservation efforts in Sumatra. These projects support boots-on-the-ground teams that work to protect forests, prevent poaching and habitat encroachment, as well as mitigate human-elephant conflict. In the last decade, the Zoo has contributed more than $400,000 to elephant-related conservation. OKC Zoo proudly participants in the Asian Elephant Species Survival Plan®(SSP), developed by the AZA.

Through AZA SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction, experts from around the world are working together to implement strategic conservation and engagement activities, measure conservation progress and build on established recovery plans, all in an effort to solve problems facing vulnerable and endangered species, including Asian elephants. In 2020, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums reported taking part in a variety of field conservation projects, investing nearly $25 million to help save animals from extinction with $270,000 invested in projects benefitting Asian elephants, including work with the International Elephant Foundation.

The Zoo is currently home to a multi-generational herd of seven Asian elephants – Asha, 26; Chandra, 25; Bamboo, 54; Rex, 52; Kandula, 19; Achara, 6; and Kairavi, 2. Plus, Asha is pregnant and expecting her fourth calf in February 2022.

OKC Zoo World Elephant Day Facts

  • Elephants keep their thick skin healthy and protected from sunburn by taking dust and mud baths. ​

  • Within the last three generations, the Asian elephant population has declined at least 50% with only around 45,000 left in the wild. ​

  • Elephants use their trunks to suck up water to drink and as a snorkel when swimming.

  • The biggest threats to Asian elephants include human conflict as a result of habitat loss and poaching for ivory tusks, skin and meat. ​

  • As a survival technique, elephant calves can stand within 20 minutes of being born. ​

  • More than 500 organizations around the world are dedicated to the conservation of Asian elephants. ​

  • Elephants communicate with low-pitched sounds that are barely audible to humans. These infrasonic rumbles can be heard by other elephants more than 2 miles away. ​

  • EEHV, an elephant herpesvirus, is the leading cause of death in Asian elephants in North America and Europe. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University are working to develop a vaccine. ​

  • U.S. Congress signed the Asian Elephant Conservation Act of 1997, creating a financial fund to help with wild Asian elephant conservation in their native range. In 2018, $1.8 million in grants were distributed to different conservation groups. ​

  • Known to be highly intelligent animals, an elephant’s brain can weigh between 9–13 pounds. Much of their behavior is learned rather than instinctive behavior. ​


“Ears” to World Elephant Day and being an ele-friend to amazing animals each and every day! Now in its summer hours, the Oklahoma City Zoo is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Purchase advance tickets at and avoid the entry lines. A summer deal just for you, the Zoo is offering free general admission for guests, weekday afternoons the weeks of August 9-13 and 16-20. Advance reservations are required at for all guests and ZOOfriends members wanting to visit, capacity is limited to six people per reservation.

Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay connected with the Zoo on FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokLinktree and by visiting our blog stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a ZOOfriends member. Starting at $45, memberships can be purchased at and provide access to the OKC Zoo for an entire year plus, additional benefits and discounts. To learn more about Zoo happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit



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