March 23, 2023

OKLAHOMA City — Spring is the time in nature when almost everything wakes up and receives back again to outdoor functions and soaking up the sunlight.

And that is specifically accurate of the animals at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

As temperatures warm and the times get for a longer period, both equally the guests and the resident animals occur out to get pleasure from every thing that the zoo has to offer.

This calendar year, that involves a new condition-of-the-art digital attraction, a glimpse into the sprawling new “Expedition Africa” growth project, and of study course tons and heaps of infant animals.

Cubs, calves, and an toddler chimp

“We experienced a actual little one increase not too long ago,” reported Candice Rennels, the OKC Zoo’s Director of Community Relations.

Beginning with the large information of Asian elephant cub Rama’s start in January 2022, the zoo has found a remarkable number of notable births amongst their animal population.

This is specially superior information for the zoo’s many vulnerable and endangered species.

Two Sumatran tiger cubs, Luna and Bob, ended up born in July of final year, giving positive news for the figures of the endangered species, and they’ve been growing even more rapidly and healthier than zoo staff members predicted.

“They’re undertaking excellent, and just acquiring so large,” Rennels explained. “Any time anyone right here goes on family vacation and comes back, it is like the tiger cubs have tripled in dimension.”

Additional recently, this past September, the zoo welcomed four brand new African lion cubs: ladies Neema, Zahara, and Makena, and boy Mshango.

OKC Zoo lion cubs with mom Dunia (Jennifer D./Oklahoma City Zoo, delivered)

They are the very first lion cubs born at the OKC Zoo in fifteen many years.

The OKC Zoo participates heavily in the Species Survival System (SSP) by way of the Affiliation of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) which tracks genetic information to find the most appropriate matches for breeding between vulnerable and endangered species. 

Which is how 7 12 months-old Dunia and 11 calendar year-outdated Hubert had been paired for breeding, which turned out to be a ideal match.

“Huey is these a wonderful father,” Rennels claimed. “He plays with them and just allows them climb all about him.”

In addition to the cats, there’s also a new okapi calf and an toddler chimp that the zoo is presently hand-rearing behind the scenes with the hope that she can make her general public debut shortly.

As for Rama, she’s nonetheless growing.

“Rama continue to in fact appears to be modest,” Rennels explained. “But that is only in contrast to her multi-thousand pound mom.”

Gorilla trek VR

A single of the more cutting-edge additions that the zoo has seen in years arrives in the kind of the new Gorilla Trek VR experience, featuring state-of-the-artwork digital actuality headsets and “pod” chairs with sound and movement.

“It’s definitely amazing,” Rennels reported. “The film is narrated by Dr. Tara Stoinski, who was the Govt Director of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. She usually takes you as a result of Volcanoes Countrywide Park in Rwanda to truly comply with a mountain gorilla troop, and she tells you about the dynamics of the relatives. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is a single of our “legacy conservation” associates. We have worked with them for decades and supported their perform and almost everything they’re accomplishing for mountain gorilla study.”

“Expedition Africa” coming quickly

For any customer to the zoo suitable now, it’s extremely hard to pass up the significant building get the job done taking place smack in the middle of the park.

The moment done, this will be the household of “Expedition Africa,” a sprawling new habitat set to more prominently feature lots of African species now housed by the zoo, but also a host of new species that will quickly contact OKC home.

“We’re going to provide in honey badgers, and bring hyenas and meerkats back again to the zoo, and a lot of seriously neat new reptiles and amphibians,” Rennels described. “And then we’ll move over the giraffe herd, and we’re likely to have a multi-species ‘Savannah’ space.”

Zoo
Expedition Africa beneath building at the Oklahoma Metropolis Zoo (B.FIELDCAMP/Okla Town No cost Press)

At twelve total acres, “Expedition Africa” will be the one greatest expansion undertaking the zoo has at any time carried out.

There will even be an location for right away “glamping” for luxurious-minded guests that want to commit the night time inside the zoo’s African habitat.

“Fingers crossed, it’ll all open this June,” mentioned Rennels. “We’re truly energized about it. It is all appropriate below in the coronary heart of the zoo.”

Spring awakening

The OKC Zoo is kicking off the warming season with a bang, internet hosting “enrichment” routines for several of the animals all through the Spring Break interval of mid-March, bringing camel rides again starting up March 11th, and opening their freshly expanded Children’s Zoo Barnyard this weekend.

Throughout the thirty day period of March, all healthcare employees and emergency responders can enjoy free of charge admission.

For additional data, which includes ticket charges, functioning hrs, and a complete listing of impending and ongoing attractions, go to okczoo.org.


Brett Fieldcamp has been covering arts, enjoyment, news, and tradition in Oklahoma for approximately 15 many years, producing for numerous regional and state publications. He’s also a musician and songwriter and holds a certification as Expert of Spirits from The Society of Wine Educators.