S PRI NG 20 22
SP RING 2022
Fea tures 4
F RO M T H E PR E S I D E N T
N E W AT T H E Z O O Animal Arrivals
ARO U N D T H E GRO U N D S Animal Conservation & Science Development Facilities & Construction Guest Services
B E H I N D T H E S CE N E S Animal Conservation & Science
Spring Edition: April, May, June ZooNews is a seasonal publication of Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc., 6421 E. 36th St. N., Tulsa, Oklahoma 74115. Questions regarding ZooNews should be directed to Nick Walters, Community Engagement Manager 918.669.6639, firstname.lastname@example.org
TULSA ZOO M AN AG E M E N T, I N C . B OAR D O F D I R E CTO R S Jeff James Chairman Scott Vandergriff Vice Chairman Mike Miers Treasurer and Finance Chair Joel-lyn McCormick Secretary Ken Klein Building and Grounds Chair Suzanne Kneale Capital Campaign Chair Monty Butts Governance Chair Betty Pirnat Long Range Planning Chair Lisa Day Meghan Joiner Stuart Lamb Brad Mueller John Stava Tom C.Vincent II Jamie Wheeler
E XE CU T I V E S TAF F Lindsay Hutchison President/CEO Ellen Averill VP of Communications and Strategy Joe Barkowski VP of Animal Conservation and Science Don Hammons VP of Finance and Administration Pat Weisz VP of Guest Experience
FROM THE PR ESI D EN T L INDSAY H UT C HISO N
President/CEO Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc.
Your Tulsa Zoo has a lot to celebrate! This spring we have continued building a bigger, better Tulsa Zoo. Construction began on the new Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve. It will be one of the largest AZA facilities of its kind in North America and allow Tulsa Zoo to expand our world-class care for elephants at all stages of life. The current scheduled completion date is in 2024 for the new, 36,000 square foot elephant barn. Construction also began on our chimpanzee exhibit with a with new translucent roof and wall panels being installed. These updates have brightened the interior of the exhibit and allowed us to enhance both the animal and guest experience. Thank you for your patience as we work on these enhancements throughout our zoo. Zoorassic World, an immersive, temporary exhibit featuring more than 25 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs opened on May 9, 2022. The lifelike dinosaurs are the most accurate on the market and incorporate both movement and sound to give guests a realistic experience. To date, Zoorassic World has grossed more than $510,000 in ticket sales which has made this exhibit a huge success. We believe Zoorassic World is partially to thank for our record-breaking attendance in May, with 116,605 guests coming through our gates. This broke the previous onemonth record of 112,445 set in 2017. Conservation on Tap raised more than $18,000 towards giraffe conservation with the Wild Nature Institute. The Wild Nature Institute is a very progressive, grassroots organization that has helped commence land-use planning in part of its study area and has collected wildlife data in a collaborative effort with several NGOs, wildlife authorities, and village leaders. The result is comprehensive, connected protected areas among adjacent villages to allow for movement of wildlife and Masai pastoralists. Since 1997, the zoo has supported more than 360 conservation projects for creatures of all sizes and from all locales.Your Tulsa Zoo visits and memberships help directly support each and every one of our current conservation projects! Our hoofstock team has been busy introducing white rhino Sally and calf Hodari to the main yard in the Mary K. Chapman Rhino Reserve. Introductions began with the smaller animals, like warthogs and springbok antelope. Once Sally and Hodari were comfortable with the smaller animals, we began introductions to the rest of the rhinos. Introductions have gone well and guests can often see the entire crash (the name for a group of rhinos!) in the main yard. As you read through the remainder of this publication, you will see many other accomplishments that were made possible because of your continued support! Thank you for all that you do for your Tulsa Zoo! Sincerely,
N EW AT THE Z OO
ANIMAL ARRIVALS D I D YO U K N OW ? Animals are identified by using a code. The order indicates the gender and the number indicates how many.
2 . 2 . 2 # U N K N OW N # F E MAL E # M AL E * B I RT H / H AT C H
A MERICA N F LAMIN GO 0 . 0.2 Zucconi Conservation Center *
B L AC K T H ROAT E D FINC H 0. 0. 1 Life in the Desert *
B L U E-TONG U ED SKINK 2. 0. 0 Helmerich Discovery Center
FAT-TAILED SC OR PION 0. 0. 2 Life in the Desert
F O UR-TO E D H EDGEH O G 2 . 0.0 Helmerich Discovery Center
MAL AYAN T I GER 0. 1. 0 Lost Kingdom
MIDDL E EA STERN YEL L OW SC ORP ION 0. 0. 2 Life in the Desert
NA KED MOLE-R AT 0. 0. 6 Life in the Desert *
Y EL LOW- S P OTTE D A MAZO N R I VE R T URTL E 0 . 0.3 Rainforest *
ARO U N D TH E G RO U NDS
A ROUND T H E GRO U ND S 1
LE T THE SUNSH I N E I N Chimpanzee Connection indoor viewing is brighter than ever. Roof renovations and improvements include the replacement of 30+ year-old Kalwall Panels. These panels are the translucent windows and skylights that illuminate the indoor dayroom.
C R A SH INTRO D U CT I O N S
Until now, Hodari and mother Sally have been separated from the rest of the rhinos. This was planned to allow Hodari time to grow and navigate the reserve. Introducing Hodari to the naturalistic exhibit involved meeting other mixed species such as warthogs, springbok antelope, African crowned cranes, white storks and the other adult rhinos. These carefully planned introductions proved successful with Sally setting boundaries for the other members of the crash.
SP R ING TIM E TR AD I T I O N Breakfast with the Bunny included two sessions and welcomed 500 guests to the zoo. This favorite family event included a scrumptious breakfast, up-close animal encounters and, most importantly, meeting the Easter Bunny.
SIP P ING TO SAV E S PE CI E S More than $18,000 was raised as 600+ guests sampled beer from 34 breweries at the fourth annual Conservation on Tap. All proceeds benefit The Wild Nature Institute to support the largest giraffe demography project in history. The data will be used in identifying and tracking wild giraffes by utilizing their unique spot patterns to understand individual movements and survival.
SA FE SUP P O RT Tulsa Zoo is expanding its conservation support of Asian elephants by increasing annual support to the AZA Asian Elephant Saving Animals from Extinction program and the IUCN’s Asian Elephant Specialist Group. These programs aim to improve the conservation prospect of Asian elephants across all 13 range states through assessment, conservation planning, conservation actions and policy interventions.
ZO O TE E NS R E T U R N Tulsa Zoo welcomed 37 Zoo Teens after a two year pause due to the pandemic. The Zoo Teen program at the Tulsa Zoo is for teens in grades 8-12 who are interested in animals and conservation. Among other experiences, it provides participants with opportunities to learn about working with animals, educating zoo guests and taking on leadership roles.
A ROAR I N G GO O D T I ME Nearly 100,000 guests have visited Zoorassic World since its opening on May 9, as of the end of June.
S TE P BAC K I N TIM E The immersive exhibit takes guests through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
L I F E AT I T S LARG ES T Zoorassic world features 25 lifesize animatronic dinosaurs.
AROUND T H E G RO UND S 1
VO LUNTE E R R E CRU I T S Since March, the Education department has onboarded 16 new volunteers. All volunteers completed guest services training and several others are working to complete training for horticulture or animal areas. These new additions bring our total volunteers to 166.
BIG M AY In May, we welcomed 116,605 guests to the zoo. This broke our previous monthly record of 112,445 set in June of 2017 when Lost Kingdom first opened. The BIG May membership sale, our largest membership sale of the year, also brought in over half a million dollars and pushed membership to prepandemic numbers with more than 19,000 households.
SP R ING C LEAN I N G The 100,000 gallon saltwater pool at Helmerich Sea Lion Cove was staff drained for a full cleaning. This is done at least once a year to remove dirt and algae that may build up on the rockwork as well as to completely change out the water. While our filtration system keeps the water clean throughout the year, it is best practice to completely change out the water annually.
C O LO NY E X PAN D S Our naked mole-rat colony, comprised of 26 individuals, has six new pups. Naked mole-rats are eusocial, so they cooperate to care for all the young and divide labor. However, their natural strategy only allows one female in a colony to produce offspring; this female is called the queen. She nurses the pups, but workers in the colony do the rest of the pup care.
D R E A M NIG H T The ninth annual Dreamnight welcomed 965 guests from eight parent organizations. This special after-hours event is exclusively open to families with children who have disabilities or special healthcare needs. Guests enjoyed keeper chats, free attractions and entrance into Zoorassic World.
ZO O NIG HT S The inaugural adults only summer series Zoo Nights: On the Rocks welcomed more than 2,600 guests to explore the zoo after-hours. The evening included free train rides, entrance into Zoorassic World, animal demonstrations and keeper chats, music, bars, and food for purchase. The response exceeded expectations and adjustments are being made for future events.
E L E PH A N T PR E SERVE
GROUNDBREAKING The Tulsa Zoo broke ground on the new Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve on June 22, 2022. It will be one of the largest AZA facilities of its kind in North America and allow Tulsa Zoo to continue providing world-class care for elephants at all stages of life. Additionally, the zoo will be adding 10 acres for the elephants to free roam. The facility will be completed in 2024. “We’re thrilled to begin construction on what will be one of the top AZA facilities in the country,” said Tulsa Zoo President and CEO Lindsay Hutchison. “We believe the new Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve is going to change the way people view elephant care by allowing us to meet the individual physical, mental, medical and social needs of our elephants.” The new state-of-the-art elephant barn will be more than 36,000 square feet and will include the addition of natural substrate flooring, which is ideal for foot care, as well as an indoor rain shower system, wet stalls and a full kitchen, which will give keepers and staff greater capabilities while preparing meals for the herd. Tulsa Zoo also plans to renovate the existing Elephant Interpretive Center to offer guests an up-close view and opportunity to learn about the importance of elephants in their enriching zoo environment. “We kept the promise we made when we started the public-private partnership and are creating a bigger, better Tulsa Zoo,” said Hutchison. “We’ve completed more than $36 million in master plan and infrastructure projects zoo-wide and we plan to complete almost $60 million more for the master plan’s second phase starting with the Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve.”
Sooky’s Dirt Turn
The Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve is possible due to the help of the following project partners: The Oxley Foundation, City of Tulsa taxpayers, Vision 2020, Nabholz Construction, ONEOK, Selser Schaefer Architects and WDM. Special thanks to the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation for the generous grant that made the 20-year Master Plan possible.
Elephant Preserve Rendering
BE HI N D T HE SC E NES
CE L E BRATIN G
Tulsa Zoo is home to two species of apes including six chimpanzees and two siamangs. Given the aptly named month of APEril, the zoo chose to highlight the individuals that make up our beloved chimpanzee troop. Chimpanzees were first introduced to Tulsa Zoo in the 1950s and moved to their current home at the Chimpanzee Connection in 1977. The troop includes multiple generations with each chimp having their distinct role in the troop’s overall hierarchy. In celebration of these amazing primates, learn about each chimpanzee in our troop from zookeeper Mo O’Leary.
CHIMPANZEE TROOP 2022
S US IE b. 1971
M OR RIS
B ER NS EN
b. 1 9 8 6
b.19 7 4
ENL O E
22 Zoo Keeper Mo O’Leary
AG E 51
Susie has been at the Tulsa Zoo since 1973. She was the first chimpanzee to have offspring in Tulsa and has had more offspring than any other chimpanzee at the zoo. Of those five offspring, sixteen grandchildren have been born across the country. Turning 51 this year, Susie is most recognizable by her silver/grey hair. As a fiercely protective mother, she has quite the challenge juggling her two sons still at Tulsa Zoo, Morris and Bernsen. Now both adults, her two sons are testing each other’s status as alpha male. Staff has observed both males looking to Susie for support well into adulthood and she has been seen comforting both of them. Susie is a character and is always up for a drink from the hose or a mouthful of Crystal Light during training sessions. Staff has spent decades caring for Susie and her legacy at Tulsa Zoo is cherished by all.
JODI AG E 48
Jodi has the reputation for stealing the hearts of staff and guests alike as she tends to pay attention to human behavior more than other chimps in the troop. Residing at the zoo since 1977, Jodi has maintained alpha female status for most of her life at the zoo. Currently, she is our highest-ranking female and has developed a bond with our newest chimp, Leia. As interactions become tense within the troop, many chimps look to Jodi for reassurance and approval. At 48 years old, Jodi is no longer of breeding age. Her latest offspring, Enloe, was born in 2015 and is the latest chimpanzee to be born into the troop.
MORRIS AG E 36
Morris, born to Susie in 1986, has been the residing alpha male of our troop for the past 21 years (200021). His personality is slightly apprehensive; however, he shows his strength, confidence and silly nature often. He is still up for a game of wrestling with Enloe and enjoys relaxing with mother Susie. Morris is always eager to investigate enrichment devices that frequently incorporate his favorite foods.
AG E 22
Leia is our newest addition to the troop. Joining us in 2020, Leia previously lived at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo. Her arrival marks nearly 40 years since an adult female has been assimilated into the troop. Currently 22 years old, she has never had offspring and is the only female of breeding age at the zoo. Her bonds with the troop have strengthened and it is hoped that she will breed with Bernsen or Enloe in the future.
ME E T
BERNSEN AGE 1 5
Bernsen is the youngest son to Susie at age 15. He has recently become alpha male of our troop, deposing Morris of his long-held status. He is still working to solidify his status as the top-ranking male by displaying his strength and dominance to the troop. As alpha, he shows his dominance through vocalizations, body language and sometimes impressive leaps from high above to show his confidence and power.
ENLOE AG E 7
Our youngest troop member, Enloe, is the son of Jodi and Bernsen. At age 7, he is testing boundaries with the adult chimps and keepers alike to see how much he can get away with. The adult chimps are no longer letting him get away with antics like they did when he was younger. Enloe is an energetic character with a big personality. We are all looking forward to seeing how his role with the troop will evolve as he gets older. Enloe was named in honor of a beloved volunteer Joe Enloe. Joe volunteered at the zoo for more than 20 years and spent much of her time here helping with the chimpanzee program through research and enrichment activities.
Enloe at under 1 year old
Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. 6421 East 36th St. North Tulsa, Oklahoma 74115-2121