REX, ASIAN ELEPHANT HAS MADE HIS TREK TO THE OKC ZOO - 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 13, 2011
Tara Henson, (405) 425-0219, (405) 919-9038, [email protected]
Candice Rennels, (405) 425-02998, (405) 412-6172, [email protected]
REX, ASIAN ELEPHANT HAS MADE HIS TREK TO THE OKC ZOO
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden got a big, early Christmas gift this week. Rex the Asian elephant arrived on Tuesday, December 13 to join the zoo’s two adult female elephants Asha and Chandra and 8-month-old female Malee, bringing the zoo’s Asian elephant herd to four.
The newest addition was born in India in approximately 1968 and is estimated to be 43-years-old. Weighing in at 8,000 pounds, Rex comes to the Zoo from Canada’s African Lion Safari. As with all new animals at the zoo, Rex will be in quarantine for at least a month before being viewable to guests and introduced to the other elephants. “We are very excited about Rex’s arrival, said Dwight Scott, Oklahoma City Zoo Executive Director/CEO. “We have been working with the Asian Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP) through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to find a compatible bull to breed with our adult female elephants and Rex was recommended. In time ,we hope to see our herd grow.”
Elephant bulls in the wild are semi-nomadic, they typically travel alone as adults and meet up with females to breed. Weather and a slow introduction process will help determine when Rex will be on view in an outdoor yard alone and when he will eventually, albeit very gradually begin to meet Asha, Chandra and Malee. There is no determination of how long this process will take. The elephants will help the animal management team decide when the time is right. Once that happens, the team hopes he will successfully court the female elephants and produce offspring. Rex has previously sired five offspring; three males and two females.
Asian elephants are critically endangered: An estimated 38,000 to 51,000 remain in the wild.
Elephant expenses are quite large, as you can imagine and transportation costs could run as high as $10,000.00 to bring Rex to the Zoo! Rex had a long trek to cover – over 1,500 miles and the Oklahoma Zoological Society along with Bank of Oklahoma have partnered to raise money for his transportation costs from Canada to Oklahoma City. To help with Rex’s Trek please go to www.zoofriends.com to make a tax deductible donation. For more information, call (405) 427-2461, ext. 612.
For updates on Rex and the elephant herd follow along on facebook atwww.facebook.com/okczoobg. The wild is calling you to the Zoo, Oklahoma’s #1 attraction and one of the top three family-friendly zoos in the nation. Located in the heart of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District, the Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with exhibit buildings closing at 4:45 p.m. All guests must leave Zoo grounds at closing time. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children ages three to 11 and seniors ages 65 and older. Children two and younger are free. Mondays in December, January and February are free admission days at the Zoo. The Zoo is closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.com.