VIDEO: Tulsa Zoo Elephants Take Center Stage on World Elephant Day

Aug 12, 2014

Tulsa Zoo elephants Gunda and Sooky devour a meal their caretakers hid in pouches and hung from cables to help the animals work their trunk muscles.
Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Zoo staff worked to raise awareness about poaching on World Elephant Day.

Sneezy, Gunda and Sooky took on caretakers’ physical and mental challenges for them in front of the crowds. Zoological Manager Mike Connolly said 96 elephants a day are killed by poachers, and they’re trying to draw attention to that.

"I can't imagine a world without elephants, and I don't know about you but I imagine you'd like your children and your grandchildren to grow up knowing what an elephant is," Connolly said. "We don't want them to go the way of the dinosaur, and if we don't act more on their behalf, we very well could be heading that way."

The Tulsa Zoo is among dozens of organizations supporting 96 Elephants, a group working to raise awareness about the impact of poaching, though Connolly said staff didn’t necessarily do anything special for World Elephant Day.

"We just did a little bit more of the stuff we do every day, but we put it on times and we highlighted it in front of our guests so that they could get an appreciation for the care that these animals get out here at the Tulsa Zoo."

Connolly said the easiest way to help save elephants is not to buy ivory, which is the main reason poachers kill wild elephants.