OKC Zoo to host World Gorilla Day activities
In honor of World Gorilla Day, the Oklahoma City Zoo, invites Oklahomans to join millions in celebrating the beloved gorilla and taking a stand to protect this species in the wild.
Presented locally by Bob Moore Subaru, OKC Zoo guests will have the chance to participate in a variety of World Gorilla Day activities from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday.
All activities are free with zoo admission, according to a news release.
Gorilla fans can go above and beyond to help gorillas by donating old or used cellphones to the Zoo’s Gorillas on the Line Cellphone Challenge for an opportunity to receive a free general admission ticket to the zoo. 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.
People who donate a device through Thursday will get a voucher good for one general zoo admission ticket, according to the news release. One free admission voucher per donated device. Cellphones can be dropped off for recycling in the Zoo’s Guest Services office in the Entry Plaza.
Masks are required for entry into Guest Services.
World Gorilla Day activities will happen near the zoo’s gorilla habitat and include a matching game handout with prizes for kids 11 and younger, a special animal enrichment activity at 11:30 a.m. with the zoo’s gorilla family troop, photo opportunities presented by Bob Moore Subaru, Facebook Live videos, an information station and more.
Created by The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, World Gorilla Day, is a global celebration that connects people to gorillas while raising awareness for the conservation of these great apes and their habitat. The gorilla fund is one of the OKC Zoo’s conservation partners and funds provided by the zoo are used to support operations at the Karisoke Research Center. Established by Dian Fossey, Karisoke is the longest running gorilla field study site dedicated to the conservation, protection, and study of gorillas and their habitats in Africa.
The OKC Zoo is home to two troops of Western lowland gorillas, a family and bachelor group. The family troop includes seven gorillas – Togo, Emily, Ndjole, Mikella and youngsters, Rubi, Azinza and Finyezi (Fin) – ranging in ages from 35 to 2 years old. Within the family troop, Emily, Mikella and Azinza represent three generations of gorillas who were all born at the zoo. Bachelor troop members include George, Bo and Bakari.
The zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Gorilla Species Survival Plan, a collaborative effort among accredited AZA members that helps manage gorillas in human care to ensure the population remains healthy, genetically-diverse and self-sustaining, according to the news release.
Native to the lowland forests of Central and Western Africa, Western lowland gorillas are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Commercial hunting for meat, habitat loss and disease are contributing factors to their status in the wild.
WORLD GORILLA DAY FACTS
- Gorillas are the largest of all primate species in the world.
- The OKC Zoo is home to 10 Western lowland gorillas.
- Gorillas communicate by using a number of vocalizations, body language and facial expressions.
- Known for being very social apes, gorillas live in groups called troops with multiple females and one dominant male leader or a bachelor troop consisting of multiple young males.
- Male gorillas and adult females play different roles in gorilla society and in parental care.
- Gorillas are primarily herbivores, eating leaves, shoots, stems, fruits and other plant materials.
- An adult male gorilla may consume up to 50 pounds of vegetation per day.
- Gorillas are among the longest studied primate species. Research began in the 1960s with the pioneering work of George Schaller and Dian Fossey studying the behavior and ecology of wild mountain gorillas.
- The OKC Zoo provides financial support to The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, which studies and provides daily protection for gorillas in Africa as well as supports local human communities.
- Help save gorillas and their habitat by recycling your old cellphones! The Zoo donates used cellphones to ECO-CELL, which resells or refurbishes old electronics. This creates less demand for coltan, a mineral used in cellphones that is mined out of gorilla habitats.
The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members and can be purchased at www.okczoo.org/