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News,

Tulsa Zoo Announces Passing of American Alligator

TULSA, Okla. (July 17, 2019) – The Tulsa Zoo mourns the loss of female American alligator Alli, 27, who passed away last week from a severe reproductive infection that had spread throughout her body.

Prior to her passing on Wednesday, July 10, Alli had been behaving normally and gave animal care staff no indication that she was ill.

Alli arrived at the Tulsa Zoo June 30, 2009, from Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot, ND. For the past 10 years she and male American alligator Gus have lived together inside WildLIFE Trek. The pair was moved to a newly renovated outdoor yard with attached winter holding in 2017. Gus can be viewed from the bridge between the Life in the Forest and Life in the Water buildings.

Zookeepers cared for and respected Alli, who they fondly remember as a feisty animal. She commanded attention from her caretakers, and even from nature. During spring storms, she would bellow back at the thunder. Alli proved to be a quick learner, readily picking up new behaviors and adjusting to changes in routine. She was always the first to shift into the winter holding, and always the first to come out.

Alli served as an animal ambassador for a conservation success story. Once on the verge of extinction, American alligators were listed as endangered under the law that proceeded the Endangered Species Act and granted further protection in 1973. Strict conservation measures including monitoring programs and a prohibition on hunting allowed American alligator numbers to rebound. The Fish and Wildlife Service in 1987 pronounced the American alligator fully recovered and removed it from the endangered species list.

Today, American alligators can be found throughout the southeastern United States, from the Carolinas to Texas and north to the southeast corner of Oklahoma.