Funding, Space Determine If Zebras Return To Tulsa Zoo

Monday, December 29th 2014, 10:28 pm
By: News On 6

For the last two years a zoo staple, the zebras, have been absent from the exhibits and it looks like it is going to stay that way for now.

The change is not sitting well with some of the visitors.

The zoo moved the animals to make room for a new exhibit, and there just isn't enough space to bring them back at this point.

It's an animal that you can bet on seeing at most zoos around the country; but if you're determined to get up close and personal with a zebra, the Tulsa zoo isn't the place to visit.

Six-year-old Devin had a list of sights to see Monday.

"Tigers, zebra, rhino, giraffe," he said.

The land that used to be home to Tulsa's zebras, however, is now a playpen for rhinos; the brand new Mary K. Chapman Rhino Reserve just opened last month.

11/13/2014 Related Story: Rhinos Get Upgraded Home At Tulsa Zoo

For now, there is no immediate plan to bring zebras back to the Tulsa Zoo.

“Everyone loves zebras, but at the zoo our focus is about conservation, so we want to make sure we are working with species we can help, and, ultimately help save them from extinction," said Sarah Floyd with the Tulsa Zoo.

The zoo said the zebras that used to roam there are doing well from a conservation standpoint and were moved to zoos out of state.

"We actually work with SSP, which is the Species Survival Plan, when it comes to transfers and things like that. They actually help us to make those recommendations whenever we transfer animals," said Floyd.

The rhinos and all other animals, like the Malayan Tiger, are endangered. There are only a few hundred of them left in the wild.

"We are interested in bringing zebras back, but that depends on funding along with availability of zebras through conservation breeding programs," Floyd said.

In addition to the zebras, the pair of lions will be leaving in the next couple of years as well while their pen gets a makeover; they, unlike the zebras, will return.

While the species of zebra that was there will most likely not be come back, the zoo said there is one type that is endangered, the Grevy's Zebra.

If they can find a way to get that species there, along with more funding and space, the zoo will work to make it happen.