Tulsa Zoo spotlights elephants for Elephant Awareness Month

Asian elephants take center stage at the Tulsa Zoo in August, as facilities nationwide raise awareness of the species.

They hope it will do something good to preserve them for future generations.

The Lost Kingdom elephants at the Tulsa Zoo are three of the world’s remaining 40,000, making them an endangered species.

Zoological chief Jessica Scallan said there are a few main reasons why the Asian elephant population is under threat. She said this includes poaching, habitat loss due to development and agriculture in elephant habitats.

She said elephants are considered a keystone species, meaning they help cultivate their land, in turn helping other species live there.

Sneezy, Sooky and Booper are the Asian elephants at the Tulsa Zoo.

Scallan said the average age of the species is 46½. The elephants at the zoo are all around 50 years old, so she said they were considered geriatric.

There are some differences regarding Asian elephants. For one, they are smaller than African elephants.

Scallan said the males weighed 13,000 pounds or less and the females weighed between 6,000 and 8,000 pounds.

“Throughout the month, we celebrate the second largest land mammal in the world. And they need a whole month because they’re pretty iconic. So when you’re little, you learn ‘E for elephant’, and from there elephants make a huge impression on your life,” Scallan said.

In June, the Tulsa Zoo opened the Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve, which will be one of the largest such facilities in North America. It is expected to be completed by 2024.

Robert M. Larson