Oklahoma City Zoo is thrilled to announce the recent birth of a rare clouded leopard kitten. Following an approximately 90-day gestation period, the OKC Zoo’s female clouded leopard, Rukai, gave birth to a male kitten on Tuesday, July 18, at the Zoo’s Cat Forest habitat.
The OKC Zoo is a proud participant in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA's) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for clouded leopards. Because this is such a significant birth and the first birth of 2023 for this vulnerable species, the SSP recommended the Zoo’s animal care experts hand-rear the kitten to ensure he thrives. Immediately following the kitten’s birth, the Zoo’s carnivore caretakers stepped in and began providing round-the-clock care for this little cloudie.
Get ready for double the cuteness! Beginning Friday, September 9, OKC Zoo guests will have an opportunity to view the Zoo’s critically endangered Sumatran tiger cub siblings, Luna and Bob, along with their mom, Lola, at their Cat Forest habitat. Mom and cubs will be viewable from 9 to 11 a.m. daily.
Tiger twins update! OKC Zoo’s Sumatran tiger cubs receive first wellness exam, the newborn siblings are in good health and meeting milestones.
The Oklahoma City Zoo’s newest additions, 19-day-old critically endangered Sumatran tiger twins, received their first wellness exam on Wednesday, July 20 during which the Zoo’s veterinary care team determined the sex of each cub and it’s a girl and a boy for tiger mom, Lola!
Double the stripes, double the delight! OKC Zoo’s Sumatran tiger, Lola, gives birth to two healthy cubs, a momentous occasion for the conservation of this rare species.
Summer is off to an exciting start for the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden with the recent birth of critically endangered Sumatran tiger twins. Lola, the OKC Zoo’s 11-year-old female Sumatran tiger, gave birth to two cubs on Saturday, July 2 at the Zoo’s Cat Forest habitat. The first cub was born at approximately 4:31 p.m. and the second soon after at 4:49 p.m.
Sumatran tiger, Lola, is pregnant, expected to give birth this summer. OKC Zoo participates in AZA breeding program for this critically endangered species to ensure its survival as there are less than 500 Sumatran tigers in the wild.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is proud to announce that its female Sumatran tiger, Lola, 10, is pregnant and due to give birth this summer. The OKC Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for Sumatran tigers which made the recommendation for Lola to breed with mate, Kami, 14. The Zoo is committed to helping protect Sumatran tigers and sustain their population through its participation in the AZA’s SSP for this critically endangered species. This is Lola’s second pregnancy with Kami. The pair welcomed male triplets in July 2017.
It’s a boy! Both mother, Asha and newborn calf are healthy, spending time together bonding.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is proud to announce that Asian elephant, Asha, 26, has given birth to a healthy, male calf. Wildlife fans around the world have been anticipating the arrival of the OKC Zoo’s newest elephant calf since Asha’s pregnancy was announced in 2020 and now, the wait is over – he’s here! Rama, Sanskrit for pleasing, was born on Thursday, January 20, 2022, at 8:26 p.m., inside the Zoo’s elephant barn at Sanctuary Asia. The Zoo’s veterinary and elephant caretaker teams report that Asha’s delivery went smoothly and she and Rama are in good health and have been spending time together bonding. Rama is the fourth calf to be born at the Zoo and the fourth offspring for Asha, bringing the total number of Asian elephants at the Zoo to eight.
Worth the wait! Zoo’s giraffe, Julu, delivers her first calf, second giraffe birth this summer.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is thrilled to announce another addition to its animal family, a giraffe calf born to six-year-old, Julu. First-time mom, Julu, gave birth to a female calf on Wednesday, September 15 at 8:21 a.m. at the Zoo’s giraffe habitat barn. The yet-to-be-named calf is the second to be fathered by four-year-old, Demetri, and the second calf born at the Zoo this summer following the arrival of Kioni, born on June 3, to mom, Ellie, 21. The Zoo’s newest youngster stood up in less than an hour after birth and began nursing shortly after. The calf weighs approximately 130 lbs. and stands at five-foot seven. She will continue to spend time bonding with Julu and her herd mates behind the scenes.
“Watching Julu grow from a young calf to becoming a mother herself has been a rewarding experience for the Hoofstock team,” said OKC Zoo’s Curator of Hoofstock and Primates, Tracey Dolphin. “We’re proud to welcome these two calves to our animal family as part of the Zoo’s commitment to preserving giraffes for generations to come.”
Julu was born at the Zoo in 2015 to herd matriarch, Ellie. The calf’s father, Demetri, arrived from the Fossil Rim in Glen Rose, Texas, in 2018, as part of a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Giraffe Species Survival Plan® (SSP). SSPs are cooperative, long-term management programs designed to maintain genetically viable and geographically stable populations of specific species. Giraffes have been part of the Zoo’s animal family since 1954 and the first giraffe calf was born in 1967, making this new calf the 58th giraffe to be born at the Zoo. In addition to Julu, Ellie, Demetri and the two calves, the Zoo is home to three-year-old female, Mashamba.
Female giraffes give birth standing up, meaning the calves fall about six feet to the ground at birth. Giraffe calves are able to stand up within the first hour of life, and are able to run around 10 hours after birth!
Native to East and South Africa, giraffes are currently listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. There are approximately 111,000 giraffes remaining in the wild, an almost 40% decline since the 1980s. This population decline is caused by illegal poaching and habitat destruction. The Zoo has contributed to giraffe conservation for decades by supporting the Northern Rangelands Trust and the Giraffe Conservation Fund, as well as becoming a member of AZA’s Giraffe Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) partner organization in 2018.
This significant birth contributes to the conservation of this vulnerable species.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden announces the birth of a rare clouded leopard kitten. Following approximately a 90-day gestation period, the OKC Zoo’s two-year-old female clouded leopard, Rukai, gave birth to a female kitten on Friday, August 6, 2021, at the Zoo’s Cat Forest habitat. This is the first successful birth of an offspring for Rukai and her mate two-year-old male, JD.
Because this is such a significant birth, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for clouded leopards recommended the Zoo’s animal care experts hand-rear the kitten to ensure she thrives. Immediately following the kitten’s birth, the Zoo’s carnivore caretakers stepped in and began caring for this little cloudie. She was moved to a climate-controlled incubator to help regulate her body temperature and caretakers started round-the-clock bottle feedings of a specialty felid formula and continuous monitoring. Caretakers report the kitten is healthy and doing everything a newborn should be doing – eating, sleeping and growing! Additionally, her eyes are now fully open. Clouded leopards are born with their eyes closed and begin to open them at two weeks of age.
“The kitten appears very strong and healthy, and we are thrilled by the progress she’s making,” said Tyler Boyd, OKC Zoo’s curator of carnivores. “For myself and entire team, the opportunity to care for this offspring, who is incredibly valuable to the conservation of this critically vulnerable species, is a career highlight.”
Clouded leopard parents, Rukai and JD, arrived at the OKC Zoo in December 2019, after being paired together as part of a breeding recommendation through the clouded leopard SSP and the hope is they will continue to breed and their offspring, including this kitten, will contribute to the growth of a genetically diverse population.
The mission of an AZA cooperatively managed SSP Program is to oversee the population management of select species, including the clouded leopard, within AZA member institutions like the OKC Zoo and to enhance conservation of this species in the wild. Each SSP Program coordinates the individual activities of participating member institutions through a variety of species conservation, research, husbandry, management and educational initiatives.
Native to Nepal and Bangladesh, clouded leopards are the smallest of the big cat species. Adult clouded leopards weigh between 30 and 50 pounds and are about five feet long, with approximately half that length being their tail. They are the world’s strongest climbing cats, which gives them an advantage over the other big cats sharing their territory. The species is listed by the IUCN as vulnerable to extinction due to deforestation, poaching and the pet trade. Clouded leopards are protected in most range countries although enforcement in many areas is weak. Precise data on clouded leopard population numbers is not known (they are among the most elusive cat species) but researchers estimate there are around 10,000 clouded leopards in the wild.
As part of the clouded leopard SSP, this kitten will eventually relocate to another AZA-accredited organization to be paired with a mate. This is an important part of the breeding process and making this introduction at an early age is necessary as clouded leopards are often bonded for life. While being cared for at the Zoo, the kitten will remain off public view but we will share updates about her on social media.
Now in its summer hours, the Oklahoma City Zoo is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Purchase advance tickets at www.okczoo.org/tickets and avoid the entry lines. A summer deal just for you, the Zoo is offering free general admission for guests, weekday afternoons, August 16–20. Advance reservations are required at www.okczoo.org/tickets for all guests and ZOOfriends members wanting to visit, capacity is limited to six people per reservation.
Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay connected with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Linktree and by visiting our blog stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a ZOOfriends member. Starting at $45, memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org and provide access to the OKC Zoo for an entire year plus, additional benefits and discounts. To learn more about Zoo happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.