PAWS for World Dog Day at the OKC Zoo to enjoy special activities, celebrate one of the planet’s most iconic predators, critically endangered African Painted Dogs.
Join the Oklahoma City Zoo and Bob Moore Subaru in celebration of World Dog Day on Friday, August 26, and take “paws” for a great cause as you connect with and help conserve one the OKC Zoo’s most popular wild dog species, the critically endangered African painted dog, and the importance of helping protect this species in the wild and its habitat.
Presented locally by Bob Moore Subaru, World Dog Day activities will occur at the Zoo’s Predator Pass exhibit from 9 a.m. to noon and include a kids’ interactive handout with prizes, a kids’ craft activity, animal enrichment, conservation information stations, caretaker chats, Facebook Live videos, event-themed photo ops hosted by Bob Moore Subaru and more – all free with regular Zoo admission. The OKC Zoo will also have its one-of-a-kind African painted dog conservation wristbands available for purchase during the event. Cost per wristband is $2 and all proceeds support the Zoo’s conservation efforts.
Make a pack to help African painted dogs and other wildlife by supporting the development of a wildlife tracking app. Currently the OKC Zoo and Oklahoma Zoological Society are partnering with the Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT) to raise awareness and funds for a wildlife tracking app, a critical tool needed to help save painted dogs and other wildlife. This app would allow users to report any wildlife they see, alive or dead, on main roadways throughout Zimbabwe and other African countries, providing essential data needed to monitor road traffic mortality. OKC Zoo has contributed $5,000 to this project through its Round Up for Conservation Fund and wildlife fans can donate by texting PDRT to 41444 or online at zoofriends.org/pdrt.
African painted dogs are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as there are less than 5,000 individuals left in the wild. Wild African painted dog populations are decreasing rapidly due to threats such as habitat loss, increased conflict with humans and diseases such as rabies contracted from domestic dogs. These familiar African animals are a highly intelligent and social species with packs ranging from two to thirty individuals. As a long-term home to painted dogs, the OKC Zoo partnered with PDRT in 2017 to provide direct funding and capacity building. Since 2017, the Zoo has contributed over $58,000 to PDRT’s conservation initiatives and sent six team members to Zimbabwe, Africa, to assist with conservation projects in the field.
The OKC Zoo also participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)’s Species Survival Plan®(SSP) for African painted dogs to help sustain their population through breeding recommendations. SSPs are collaborative population management programs of select species within AZA zoos and aquariums. As a supporter of AZA’s Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) program for African painted dogs, the OKC Zoo contributes to the sustainability of this species in each of its three regions, West and Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa, through collaborative efforts with other AZA members to increase conservation support and raise public awareness for African painted dogs.
African painted dogs have been part of the OKC Zoo’s animal family for the past 50 years. Currently the Zoo is home to two African painted dog packs. One pack of painted dogs including males Remy and Guy, both 3, plus, females River and Pele, both 3, reside at Predator Pass. A separate pack consisting of five individuals: Xena, 11, Dojo, 10, Tex, 5, Back Slash, 5, and Spot, 5, inhabit Lion Overlook on a rotational basis with the Zoo’s pride of African lions while construction on Expedition Africa, the Zoo’s 12-acre habitat transformation project, continues through summer 2023.
World Dog Day Facts
- African painted dogs are endangered mainly because of conflict with humans.
- OKC Zoo helps African painted dogs by supporting Painted Dog Research Trust based in Zimbabwe.
- African painted dogs range across areas as large as 900 square miles. They cross roads frequently and vehicle collision is a major threat.
- You can help African painted dogs by purchasing a conservation wristband. OKC Zoo uses money form wristband sales to support conservation projects.
- OKC Zoo staff have traveled to Zimbabwe to assist Painted Dog Research Trust’s conservation efforts.
- African painted dogs are highly social, living in packs ranging from 2 to 30 members.
- No two African painted dog coats are the same. Scientists and our caretakers use coat patterns to identify individuals.
- Painted dog pack members work together to hunt and care for pups. They also care for old, sick and injured pack members.
- African painted dogs have complex vocal communication, including twitters, rumbles and hoo calls.
- African painted dogs’ large ears help with cooling and also provide excellent hearing.
Be spotted at the OKC Zoo and Bob Moore Subaru’s World Dog Day celebration and help make a difference for African painted dogs. Continuing through Friday, September 2, the Oklahoma City Zoo is in its summer hours and open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the last entry no later than 2 p.m. While at the Zoo, connect to wildlife and tons of fun as you experience the all new BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise. Sponsored by Devon, BRICKLIVE features 45+ life-sized animal statues made with almost two million toy bricks! BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise is open daily during regular Zoo hours. Purchase advance tickets for general Zoo admission and BRICKLIVE at www.okczoo.org/tickets. 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 and TikTok, 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.