Double animal day! Celebrate red pandas AND cassowaries Saturday, September 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is celebrating both World Red Panda Day and World Cassowary Day on Saturday, September 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Presented by Bob Moore Subaru, Zoo guests are invited to enjoy a day of fun and learning with games, crafts, bio-facts, enrichment activities and more at the red panda and cassowary habitats, both located in Sanctuary Asia. These global events bring attention to how individuals can help conserve and protect these beloved animals. All World Red Panda Day and World Cassowary Day activities are free with Zoo admission.
Guests can connect with cassowary and red panda animal experts and learn about the animals they care for each day at four “Ask a Keeper” sessions on Saturday. Cassowary enrichment activities will coincide with two special “Ask a Keeper” sessions at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. A third “Ask a Keeper” session is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will not include an enrichment activity. The red panda “Ask a Keeper” session is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
Also on Saturday, those visiting the red panda habitat will have the opportunity to see the Zoo’s three-month-old red panda cubs, male, Ravi and female, Khyana. The twins and their mom, Leela, 5, have recently moved to an indoor day room at their main habitat at Sanctuary Asia where guests can see them daily. The cub’s father, Thomas, 6, continues to have access to the habitat’s outside area to allow Leela quiet time with her little ones.
Red pandas are listed as an endangered species. Only an estimated 10,000 remain in the wild, and their habitats in remote areas of the Himalayan Mountains, from Nepal to central China, are being threatened by deforestation, agriculture, cattle grazing and competition for resources. In addition to a taste for bamboo, red pandas consume many other types of food including fruits, acorns, roots and eggs. Their bushy, ringed tails add about 18 inches to their length and serve as a type of blanket, keeping them warm in cold mountain climates. Though previously classified as a relative of the giant panda, and also of the raccoon, with which it shares a ringed tail, red pandas are currently considered members of their own unique taxonomic family—the Ailuridae.
The Zoo is home to two two-year-old cassowaries: male, Seram and female, Aru. Both are adolescents and won’t achieve maturity for a few more years. Native to New Guinea and parts of northeastern Australia, cassowaries are large, flightless birds that can grow to five-and-a-half feet tall, weighing up to 128 pounds. Cassowaries are the second heaviest bird species in the world, just behind its cousin, the ostrich. Females are taller and heavier than males, and display brighter colors than males. A cassowary’s call is low and booming, the lowest of any known bird species and barely within the spectrum of human hearing. To communicate, they also hiss and whistle; clap their bills or rumble threateningly. A large dagger-like claw on their inner toe, which can grow to be up to four inches long, allows the bird to subdue a potential threat with a swift single kick.
Double the animal days means twice the fun at the Zoo! Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the Oklahoma City 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. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $11 for adults and $8 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 and Instagram and by visiting Our Stories. To learn more about other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.