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The Elephants Return!

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On June 12, 2008, the Oklahoma City Zoo’s elephants, Asha and Chandra, started their two and a half year “date” with Sneezy, the elephant who lives at the Tulsa Zoo.  But there as more than just an attempt to have the elephants mate (although that was successful—Asha is pregnant!).  During the time Asha and Chandra have been gone, the Oklahoma City Zoo was renovated and redesigned the elephant habitat, and now it’s ready to be opened.

Spring 2011 will see the new 9.5 acres of elephant space open to the public.  While the previous habitat wasn’t big enough to house a male elephant (they’re bigger and stronger than the females), this new area will be large enough for two males, four females, and even some baby elephants to call home. 

This new area has an elephant barn, a bull yard for the males with a 30,000 gallon pool, a cow yard for babies, and an elephant demonstration pavilion and amphitheatre for shows and educational programs.  There’s also an additional yard that can house additional elephants as needed. 

One thing the OKC Zoo has been notorious about is going over budget or missing their opening deadlines.  However, zoo officials have assured residents that the elephant area will open on time and will meet its $22.7 million dollar budget.  Zoo officials truly hope to have Asha deliver her baby in Oklahoma City, although they have prepared for her to give birth in Tulsa if necessary. 

I love all the new changes at the OKC Zoo, and I’m really looking forward to the new elephant area joining the new lion exhibit and the new children’s section.  I know what I’ll be doing later this spring!

Blogs about the elephants:

April Black has written about the different exhibits at the OKC Zoo.

Ray Roman also talks about the exhibits at the zoo and has a video of the bears.

The Topix blog has a very short entry announcing Asha’s pregnancy.

LJCANNON’s blog recounts a visit to the zoo.

Tags: Events · Only in OKC       

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