In February, The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden announced that its female Indian rhinoceros, Niki, is eating for two!
Niki, 13, one of the OKC Zoo’s adult, female Indian rhinos–also known as the greater one-horned rhino–is expecting a calf with the Zoo’s male, Indian rhino, Arun, 29. This will be the first offspring for this breeding pair.
“Rhino births are significant events at the Zoo so we are thrilled to share news of Niki’s pregnancy and cannot wait to welcome this new addition to our herd,” said Rachel Emory, OKC Zoo curator of pachyderms. “The Zoo is committed to the conservation of this amazing species and recognizes the vital role this calf plays in helping ensure our world’s rhino populations survive for future generations.”
The good news kicked off the OKC Zoo’s 2020 year, and in addition to an expecting mother, the zoo has a full slate of news and activities.
The Oklahoma City Zoo supports and helps expand the conservation of imperiled species, habitats and their surrounding communities. One small, but wide-ranging, way to fulfill this mission is through the Zoo’s annual Conservation Action Now (CAN) small grant program.
The Zoo awards these competitive small grants each December in amounts up to $2,500 each. The selected projects span the globe and are based on the conservation ideals of education, scientific research and species preservation.
“Last year we raised $175,000 that went to our initiatives globally and locally for 2020. We have two major projects and we'll be supporting. One is the International Elephant Foundation and we'll be supporting EEHV research,” said Candice Rennels, director of Public Relations. “EEHV is the herpes virus that elephants in the wild and in care can actually get. We’re also supporting the North American Bird Conservation project. We will work here in Oklahoma on some projects for that.”
Other new happenings include the introduction of the Galapagos tortoise barn and turtle habitat and large bird habitat, allowing such avian giants as condors and vultures to have space to fly. The Zoo is also bringing back Zoo Keys. Visitors can get a key as they buy tickets that unlocks educational boxes that have pre-recorded messages about animals and habitat in partnership with Oklahoma’s Own News 9.
Events for 2020
All Year - OKC Zoo continues its statewide literacy program, “Read for Adventure.” Presented by OGE, Oklahomans can check out the program’s brand-new book from any of the state’s 247 public library locations to receive four general admission ticket vouchers to the OKC Zoo.
April 9 - If you think you know animals, then the Brainy Beasts Trivia Night on April 9 is your chance to prove you are the King of the Jungle. This event is hosted by ZooTroop.
April 24 - Safari Soirée on April 24 is the ZOOfriends’ signature fundraising event in support of the OKC Zoo. This nighttime event features food, exotic drinks, rare animal experiences and live music! Must be 21 or older to attend. Visit zoofriends.org.
May and June - The wildly popular Date Nights are back at the OKC Zoo. This 21 and older event is held on Thursdays in May and June, and couples and singles are invited. Almost the entire Zoo will be open for couples or friends to explore together.
May 9 - On May 9. rise and shine for the Zoo’s most anticipated family event, Ostrich Egg Breakfast. Enjoy early hours at the Zoo and feast on all-you-can-eat breakfast treats. Tickets range from $10-15 per person plus, special event T-shirts available. To learn more, visit zoofriends.org.
July - Help endangered rhinos during the Bowling for Rhinos Fundraiser in July. This annual conservation fundraiser helps save wild rhino populations with the roll of a bowling ball!
Sept. 12 - OKC Zoo’s Monarch Madness 5K/Fun Run and Monarch Festival is Saturday, September 12. The fundraising run benefits local monarch butterfly conservation. The officially timed course simulates the migration monarchs make from Canada to Mexico for the winter.
Sept. 25 - ZOOfriends’ ZOObrew on September 25 lets you sample beer to save animals. ZOObrew is the Zoo's most anticipated fundraiser that combines food and beverages with music and fun for a wild cause–the OKC Zoo! Patrons will enjoy tasting over 200 beers, great food and live music. To learn more, visit zoofriends.org.
Don’t forget about Haunt the Zoo in October and dozens of other events that help the Zoo’s mission toward conservation!
Starting this summer, the OKC Zoo will also have new summer hours, opening at 8 a.m. to allow ZooFriends members to visit early to beat the heat. In 1954, the Oklahoma Zoological Society (OZS/ZOOfriends), a nonprofit organization, was created to help support the Oklahoma City Zoo in its mission.