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Candice Rennels | (405) 425-0298 | crennels@okczoo.org
 


OKC Zoo News Releases

OKC ZOO AND BOB MOORE SUBARU HOST WORLD GORILLA DAY ACTIVITIES

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is joining gorilla fans around the globe in recognition of World Gorilla Day on Friday, September 24. Presented locally by Bob Moore Subaru, this special animal awareness day being hosted at the Zoo will bring attention to how individuals can help endangered gorilla populations through interactive activities. In recent decades, wild gorilla populations have been facing extinction due to poaching and habitat destruction and by participating in World Gorilla Day activities you can help save them.

Marking its fifth anniversary, World Gorilla Day, is an annual event created by The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (DFGF), that inspires people all over the world to come together for one common goal – to take action for gorillas. Since its inception, DFGF has grown its impact through scientific research and education, as well as by providing daily protection for mountain gorillas and aiding local communities by supplying jobs and other resources to Rwandans. DFGF is one of the OKC Zoo’s legacy conservation partners and funds provided by the Zoo are used to support operations at the Karisoke Research Center, which is the base for DFGFI’s field activities. In 2019, the Zoo provided additional support by sending representatives to Rwanda to create a series of educational videos for DFGF that explains the organization’s conservation initiatives. To see the completed videos, click here.

On World Gorilla Day, Zoo guests will find activities happening at the Zoo’s gorilla habitat from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Event activities are free with Zoo admission and include:

  • Kids Activities with Prizes: Wildlife enthusiasts 11 and under will have opportunity to learn about gorillas through interactive activities: Whose Nose Matching Game, GOAL-rilla Cellphone Challenge and Get to Know Gorillas Trivia Wheel.

  • Photo Opportunities, hosted by Bob Moore Subaru.

  • Conservation Education Station

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

  • Facebook Live Chats: Tune in here, Facebook, for special livestreams featuring the Zoo’s expert primate caretakers.

Caretaker Conservation Chat, 9:30 a.m.: Learn how the OKC Zoo is involved in gorilla conservation and what you can do to help.

Caretaker Conservation Chat, 11 a.m.: Gorilla Enrichment Opportunity, guests will observe as the gorillas enjoy special enrichment.

Only found in the dense forests of central Africa, both species of gorillas are critically endangered, threatened by illegal poaching, civil unrest, disease and habitat destruction due to extractive industries such as mining. Conservation organizations around the world are collaborating to bring awareness to the plight of wild gorillas. According to DFGF, in the past 5 years, Zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, including the OKC Zoo, collectively contributed more than $7.2 million to gorilla conservation. Another win for gorillas, census data collected by DFGF revealed the number of mountain gorillas has increased, making them the only population of great apes known to be increasing in number. And, new survey data suggest the global population of Grauer’s gorillas is larger than previously thought.

Answer the call to save gorillas by donating old or used cell phones to the Gorillas on the Line Cellphone Challenge during the event and receive a free Zoo admission ticket! Small electronics frequently contain coltan and mining for this substance threatens the habitats of gorillas and other endangered species. When individuals donate used phones or other electronics, the coltan from those devices is re-used and reduces the need to mine for the compound in gorilla habitats. Gorilla fans who donate a cellphone through September 24, will receive a free general admission ticket to the Zoo. These items can can be dropped off for recycling in the Zoo’s guest services office in the Entry Plaza.

 

OKC Zoo World Gorilla Day Facts

  1. Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered. Their exact numbers are not known because they inhabit some of the densest and most remote forests in Africa.

  2. Western lowland gorillas can be distinguished from other gorilla subspecies by their slightly smaller size, their brown-grey coats and auburn crests.

  3. Gorillas can climb trees, but are usually found on the ground in communities of up to 30 individuals.

  4. A group of gorillas is called a troop. Troops are led by one dominant, older adult male, often called a silverback. Troops also include young males, females, and their offspring.

  5. Like us, gorillas are active during the day and need long periods of rest at night. Each night they build nests from branches and leaves for sleeping.

  6. When an alpha male is challenged, he may stand upright, throw things, charge, or pound his chest. Despite these powerful displays, gorillas are generally shy and nonaggressive unless they are disturbed.

  7. Gorillas’ vegetarian diets include roots, shoots, leaves, fruit, wild celery, and tree bark and pulp.

  8. In human care, gorillas have displayed significant intelligence and have even learned simple human sign language.

  9. The OKC Zoo is home to ten western lowland gorillas including youngest, Finyezi, the 27th gorilla born at the Zoo since 1974.

  10. Coltan is a substance frequently used in small electronics. Mining for coltan threatens gorillas and their habitats. You can help by dropping off unwanted smartphones, cell phones, MP3 players, handheld gaming systems, and tablets at the Zoo’s Guest Relations office for recycling.

 

Go the distance for GOrillas this World Gorilla Day! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Purchase advance tickets at www.okczoo.org/tickets and avoid the entry lines. 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 FacebookTwitterInstagram, Linktree and TikTok, 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 ZOOfriends.org 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 okczoo.org.

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