Tink, the Texas horned lizard, celebrates conservative efforts on base
By Alyssa Dalley-Schofield
Tinker Air Force Base has their very first official mascot, the Texas horned lizard named Tink.
“It represents the ingenuity of our airmen, the courage, the strength, horned lizards also have a unique ability to be very cryptic or they blend in their background so they’re very stealthy just like our air force,” said Raymond Moody, a natural resource scientist.
The Texas horned lizard is an endangered species with a population located right on base. The main habitat of these lizards is located at a hiking trail called Scissortail Trail.
This project began in 2003 and Tinker partnered with the Oklahoma City Zoo in 2007. Members of the zoo take a trip to Tinker about once a week to gather more information and transfer some of the lizards from base to the zoo and back.
“We had to learn how to best care for the lizards so we tried to make things as natural as possible for them,” said Rebecca Snyder, Senior Director of Conservation, Education, and Science at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
The research team placed trackers on the horned lizards around base and tracked where they moved. Once the females laid eggs, the zoo team would take the eggs and raise the lizards in a habitat at the zoo.
“They’re basically in aquarium tanks at the zoo. We use natural substrates so we use Oklahoma dirt because that’s what they would live on and we also had to learn what temperature they had to be kept at, how to keep them well hydrated, all those kinds of things,” said Snyder.
Tuesday morning, Tinker’s Youth Center presented Tink to the children attending the center. Moody and Snyder presented Tink and educated everyone on the research process over the past 20 years.
“That’s really been the key to our success is working with the community and working with organizations,” said Moody. “We found that it kind of creates this energy, it makes it to where your resources are expanded, you have other ideas that come in and it just creates an environment that’s positive and I think it’s really been the key to our success.”