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Tag Archives: el paso zoo

El Paso Zoo Extending Hours for ‘After Howlers’ Event

The El Paso Zoo gives guests the chance to celebrate at the Zoo, while also getting out of the summer heat by hosting an After Howlers event.

Guests are able to get up close and personal with some of the Zoo’s animals, as well as meet zookeepers and witness animal enrichments. These enrichments provide the animals opportunities to exhibit their natural behaviors like climbing, digging, and even playing.

They are fun to watch and are a reminder of one of the Zoo’s goals—to act and communicate with the purpose of inspiring people to value wild animals, take responsibility for their safeguarding and action for their stability.

All attractions will be open for guests. The first After Howlers event will feature the 7th Ave Band, as well as two large inflatables for guests to enjoy and several animal programs.

WHO:          El Paso Zoo

WHAT:         El Paso Zoo is hosting late evening hours with its Zoo After Howlers event (three times this summer).

WHEN:         Saturday, June 17; Saturday, July 8; Saturday, August 19   

 (Zoo opens at 9:30 a.m., events start at 3 p.m., Zoo closes at 8:30 p.m.)

WHERE:       El Paso Zoo, 4001 E. Paisano Dr.

Video+Story: EPISD Young Women’s STEAM Academy Students Meet for First Time at Zoo

The Young Women’s STEAM Research & Preparatory Academy inaugural cohorts began their educational journey at the El Paso Zoo by signing a commitment letter.

“The signing ceremony is a commitment, a pact that we’re making with our students,” said principal Dr. Cynthia Ontiveros. “We’re committed to engaging our students in a rigorous curriculum, a safe and nurturing environment but also pushing our students and supporting them to be successful beyond their expectations and beyond their goals.”

The new academy, which will be housed inside Armendariz Middle School, opens this fall with 225 sixth and seventh graders. It will add a grade level each year until it becomes a 6-12 grade campus. The academy will focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics and will incorporate the New Tech Network model to give students an engaging, collaborative experience through project-based learning.

unnamed (38)The zoo perfectly set the tone for the historic occasion, celebrating the new academy and its focus on STEAM. Students and their families mingled in the indoor reception area overlooking the zebras and wandered around the nearby lion’s exhibit to take photos and selfies.

“We’re a STEAM academy, so we’re celebrating the significance of signing a commitment where STEAM is all around us – the zoo,” Ontiveros said.

Parent Cesar Martinez also enjoyed the venue and its significance.

“It’s a beautiful location and getting to see the zebras, that’s exciting,” he said. “It just another neat indication of the unique conceptualization of what’s going to be going on at this campus.”

Martinez’ daughter Paz Elena Martinez wants to be an engineer when she grows up. She’s looking forward to the educational opportunities the STEAM focus brings and the chance to work with her classmates to pick school colors and the mascot.

“It sounded like it would be fun,” said Paz, a Mesita Elementary fifth grader. “It has everything a girl could want to learn.”unnamed (52)

Students sat in rows in front, smiling and already making friends. One by one, they walked on stage to receive their commitment letter, a special pen and pose for a photo with Ontiveros.

“It’s going to be an amazing experience for all the girls around the District,” said Victoria Hernandez, a Bond Elementary fifth grader. “We’re going to experience new things, in a new way and hear different ideas from different girls and meet new people.”

During the ceremony, Ontiveros talked to the students about the experiences the new school will bring for service learning and project-based-learning.

“I want to assure parents that our students are going to have an amazing opportunity here at the academy,” she said. “Our curriculum will be rigorous but our students are going to feel a connection to our community. Through our service learning component, they’re going to see the value in what they’re learning.”

Pete Delgado, currently a GT teacher at Cooley Elementary, can’t wait to start the school year at his new campus.

“I feel passionate about empowering these young ladies and helping them to dream, design and deliver real world solutions,” said Delgado, reiterating Ontiveros’ message. “To me, it’s important for these young ladies to be in an environment that helps them grow, be creative, learn problem-solving skills and learn those crucial communication skills they need for career readiness and college readiness.”

The father of two girls also likes the opportunity it affords his youngest daughter, who will be in sixth grade this fall.

“She’s going to be graduating from here in seven years,” he said. “As a father, I’m going to watch her grow from the little fifth grader she is now to eventually the senior that will be ready to go out and conquer the world.”

After each girl received her commitment letter, Ontiveros talked to them about the pact they were making together. She promised her students would receive a rigorous and rich academic opportunity and, in turn, they promised to have an open mind and be ready to learn and ready for the challenges they’d face as middle and high school students.

“We are making history and I’m excited to take you on this journey,” she said. “You will be learning and developing skills that will make you strong, amazing leaders.”

“Are you ready for the challenge?” Ontiveros asked. A roaring “yes” echoed throughout the room.

In unison, the graduating classes of 2023 and 2024 signed their commitment letters with the special pen etched with the name of their new school.

“My first challenge for you is to save your pen,” Ontiveros told them. “I want to see it when you graduate.”

“How many years from now is that?” Ontiveros asked.

A student responded from the crowd: “A lot.”

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Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition Invites Public to Meet Houdini the Harris Hawk

This Saturday, the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition will sponsor a special presentation for the entire family at the Outdoor Resource Center (Garden Center) Memorial Park at 3105 Grant Avenue in El Paso.

Houdini the Harris Hawk from the El Paso Zoo will make a special appearance as part of a new series of family programs CDEC is planning on Saturday mornings. The presentations will start Saturday, June 17, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.

Each presentation will be 20 minutes in length and include a question and answer session.

According to the news release, “The Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition (CDEC)  is a group of people who care about our desert and want to help others understand it’s amazing natural and cultural history.”

CDEC helps to organize and sponsor educational and discovery events like the program at the Outdoor Resource Center, the Chihuahuan Desert Fiesta at Tom Mays Park, a Habitat Certification program that encourages people to landscape with native Chihuahuan Desert plants and the Chihuahuan Desert Club.

 For more information on upcoming events and how to become a member visit chihuahuandesert.org

El Paso Zoo Donates to Kickstarter Campaign to Save Penguins from Extinction

The El Paso Zoo has donated $500 to the Kickstarter Campaign that helps save penguins from extinction.

The campaign will run for 30 days, and the goal of this Kickstarter is to raise up to $150,000 to fund artificial penguin nests in South Africa. The donation was made through a Kickstarter campaign that was created by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

The artificial nests are built using special materials that ensure the optimal temperature for penguin egg gestation inside, and hold up to predators on the outside. Special materials make it impossible to fabricate the nests by machine, so each one is made by hand.

“Donating to this cause is a no-brainer for us,” said Zoo Director Steve Marshall. “We know these animals desperately need our help, and it is our job to step forward to help in whatever way we can—big or small. Our conservation committee came together, and it was an easy decision to give to this AZA Kickstarter.”

With only two weeks left for the campaign, the El Paso Zoo encourages the community to donate what they can.

El Paso Zoo to Celebrate Reptiles at Reptilia Event this Weekend

The El Paso Zoo will celebrate all things scaly, slimy, and slithery with the annual Reptilia event. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate wildlife and enjoy time with friends and family.

Guests will be able to get up close and personal with some of the Zoo’s snakes and lizards. Even the Zoo’s non-reptile animals will be celebrating with reptile-themed piñatas and other animal enrichments.

These enrichments provide the animals opportunities to exhibit their natural behaviors like climbing, digging, and even playing. They are fun to watch and are a reminder of one of the Zoo’s goals—to act and communicate with the purpose of inspiring people to value wild animals, taking responsibility for their safeguarding and action for their stability.

The Zoo will also celebrate reptiles of the past by screening all four Jurassic Park films and providing guests with an opportunity to look at some fossils. There will be a large inflatable obstacle course and live music from 7thAve Band.

WHO:          The El Paso Zoo |  4001 E. Paisano Drive

WHAT:         The El Paso Zoo will have reptile encounters, photo opportunities, candy giveaways, and animal enrichments for Reptilia. They will also be showing all four Jurassic Park films throughout the weekend.

WHEN:         10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, and Sunday, June 4

Video+Story: El Paso Zoo Takes a Pie to Save Vaquita Porpoise

The El Paso Zoo has donated $500 to help save the vaquita porpoise and has participated in the “Pied4APorpoise Challenge.”

The El Paso Zoo’s Conservation Committee unanimously made the decision to donate $500 to the emergency rescue plan: VaquitaCPR (Conservation, Protect and Recovery). In addition to this donation, the Zoo has also made a “Pied4APorpoise” challenge video to help spread awareness of this vaquita situation.

“The Mexican government pledged up to $3-million already, but we know we have to do our part as well,” said El Paso Zoo Director Steve Marshall. “More than 100 members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums have pledged well over $1-million in emergency efforts to recover this endangered marine mammal, which is currently in a population freefall.”

The vaquita is on the brink of extinction, and scientists have estimated that the entire population has declined to just 30 living animals.

Guests of the Zoo are encouraged to help by signing letters to the President of Mexico, thanking him for his efforts to help the vaquita and to encourage him to continue. “Take Action” letter-signing stations are located at the Zoo in the California Sea Lion underwater viewing gallery and at the Wildlife Amphitheater.

The El Paso Zoo’s participation and efforts to save the vaquita from extinction serve as an example of the three things we want people to know about the Zoo:

  1. The Zoo provides excellent and expert care for animals, prioritizing their welfare and wellbeing.
  2. The Zoo is actively saving wildlife from extinction through its conservation work at the zoo and in the field.
  3. The Zoo acts and communicates with the purpose of inspiring people to value wild animals, taking responsibility for their safeguarding and action for their stability.

El Paso Zoo Tiger Loses Battle with Kidney Disease

This morning the El Paso Zoo staff lost its 18-year-old Malayan tiger Belahat. Yesterday he was confirmed as being in the final stages of age-related kidney failure.

Recently, Belahat had been eating only his favorite foods and appeared to be losing weight. He was moved to the Zoo’s Animal Medical Center yesterday for diagnostics. The animal care team confirmed through blood and urine tests that his kidneys were in critical condition due to his advanced age and progressing degenerative kidney disease.

The veterinary staff gave him intravenous and subcutaneous fluids in order to provide some relief to his kidneys and keep him hydrated, and hoped to try additional medications this week to continue managing his kidney disease.

Belahat was approximately 18 years old and was first diagnosed with kidney disease two years ago. He had a kidney and bladder infection making his kidneys worse at that time, but he responded well to antibiotics and multiple recheck exams, and his kidney function improved.

However, degenerative kidney disease is a common and irreversible problem in older cats, both domestic cats and exotic cats like tigers, and Belahat had exceeded the life expectancy of Malayan tigers under human care, which is in the mid-teens.

“We knew it was a likely outcome given his age, but it’s still sad when we have an animal with an illness that can’t be reversed,” said Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Victoria Milne. “We thought we could provide him a bit more time so we are all really sad, but we’re glad we were able to make him comfortable in his final moments.”

“Belahat was a geriatric tiger, so we know what’s to be expected as we take great care in our animals and they get older—that’s our job,” said Zoo Director Steve Marshall. “But that doesn’t mean it makes this any easier. He was with us for five years, and in those short five years, he became a member of our Zoo family. It’s just a tough time for all of us at the Zoo.”

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has a Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program that oversees the population management of select species at AZA member institutions throughout the United States. Belahat was born in the rainforests of Malaysia where he came into conflict with humans and was rescued by a zoo before he came to the US to help with SSP conservation efforts.

In 2012, the SSP program called for Belahat to be sent from the Bronx Zoo to the El Paso Zoo. Although he has been at the El Paso Zoo for five years, the Bronx Zoo is the current owner of Belahat. Over his lifetime, Belahat contributed to his species’ surival by siring four male and three female cubs.

The Malayan Tiger qualifies for listing as Critically Endangered (CR) under criterion C1 because the best available evidence indicates that the number of mature individuals is likely less than 250 animals and has declined by more than 25% in one generation.

Belahat and the other Malayan tigers at the El Paso Zoo, Seri and Melor, serve as an example of the Zoo’s three-pillars of wildlife conservation.

  1. The Zoo provides excellent and expert care for animals, prioritizing their welfare and wellbeing.
  2. The Zoo is actively saving wildlife from extinction through its conservation work at the zoo and in the field.
  3. The Zoo acts and communicates with the purpose of inspiring people to value wild animals, taking responsibility for their safeguarding and action for their stability.

El Paso Zoo Seeking Volunteers

The El Paso Zoo is seeking enthusiastic volunteers who will be an integral part in helping keep the Zoo operable year-round.

“It’s been an incredible experience here at the Zoo,” said current zoo volunteer Tom Marsden. “When I retired, I enjoyed my time off, but I still wanted to contribute somewhere. I started volunteering with the Zoo, and I’ve had so much fun. I’ve had the opportunity to provide tours, help with education presentations, and help Zoo staff with event projects. I love it.”

The volunteer program is open to people ages 18 and older who are available year-round. Dedicated volunteers, including retired and senior volunteers, who have a flexible schedule, can work throughout the week, have year-round availability, and can volunteer a minimum of eight hours a month are needed.

The zoo continually seeks enthusiastic, friendly, dependable individuals that care about animals and environmental conservation.

The Zoo is open 362 days a year, closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

For more information on how to volunteer, call the El Paso Zoological Society Volunteer Department at (915) 212-0244. A volunteer application is also available online.

El Paso Zoo Welcomes Two Peninsular Pronghorn Fawns

The El Paso Zoo is proud to announce the birth of two peninsular pronghorn fawns to the herd.

The mother, Martina, gave birth to one female, Cayenne, and one male, Pequin; both are healthy and doing well. The birth comes three weeks after the pronghorn Princessa gave birth to a male fawn, Bowser.

“When it comes to protecting the peninsular pronghorn species, this fawning stage is monumental,” said El Paso Zoo Director Steve Marshall. “Bowser’s doing great, and we’re going to keep an eye on the two fawns and their mother so we can have the same success with them.”

Version 2Zoo staff is monitoring the two fawns and their mother and all pronghorns at the Zoo will be observed closely throughout fawning season.

Peninsular pronghorns are currently listed as “critically endangered” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This makes the species one category before “extinct.” The El Paso Zoo is active in their home range conservation efforts. All of the El Paso Zoo’s peninsular pronghorn births are part of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) to aid in the species’ conservation.

“The El Paso Zoo has more than 20 percent of the managed peninsular pronghorn population in the United States,” said Marshall. “The births we have here are critical for the continuation of the species. I’m just incredibly proud of our team and our community for being able to play a pivotal role in saving these animals from extinction.”

The peninsular pronghorns at the Zoo serve as an example of the three things we want the community to know about the El Paso Zoo:

  1. The Zoo is actively saving wildlife from extinction through its conservation work at the zoo and in the field.
  2. The Zoo provides excellent and expert care for animals, prioritizing their welfare and wellbeing.
  3. The Zoo acts and communicates with the purpose of inspiring people to value wild animals, taking responsibility for their safeguarding and action for their stability.

El Paso Zoo: Mexican Gray Wolf Dies, Staff Saddened

The El Paso Zoo announced Wednesday  the loss of Ash, a 14-year-old Mexican gray wolf.

The animal care team at the zoo determined that euthanasia was the most humane option because medical intervention was no longer able to help her declining condition. Ash had a number of common age-related health issues, including arthritis in her knees and back, that were being managed by the animal care and Veterinary teams.

“I’ve been at the Zoo for over 15 years, so I’ve watched Ash and Ivy grow as part of the Zoo family,” said Area Supervisor Tony Zydonyk. “Ash was a longtime resident, and I know all of us are going to miss her, especially the keepers in her area.”

Photo credit (© Christina Selby, 2016)
Photo credit (© Christina Selby, 2016)

Ash and her sister Ivy were born at the Columbus Zoo, transferred to the Cincinnati Zoo, and both were later transferred to the El Paso Zoo.

Ash’s sister, Ivy, passed away last month, and pathology results are still pending to determine her cause of death.

Both had exceeded the life expectancy for Mexican gray wolves under human care. Zephyr, an 11-year-old male Mexican wolf, appears to be in good health.

The El Paso Zoo has worked diligently in efforts to conserve the Mexican wolf.

In addition to the wolves that currently live at the Zoo, the Zoo has sponsored various Mexican wolf conservation efforts, and recently, Zoo staff worked with the Turner Endangered Species Fund (TESF) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to vaccinate, examine and treat eleven Mexican wolves that were released into the wild.

El Paso Zoo Hosts Party for the Planet this Weekend

The El Paso Zoo invites the community to celebrate Earth Day with a Party for the Planet from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, at the zoo.

The family-friendly celebration will include live entertainment, piñatas for the animals, games and fun activities. There will be Earth Day-related arts and crafts, interactive activities, booths, and kid-friendly yoga classes all weekend.

Part of the celebration incudes animal enrichment for Zoo animals like the elephants, meerkats, and orangutans.

Party for the Planet reminds the community about three things regarding the El Paso Zoo:

  1. The zoo provides excellent and expert care for animals, prioritizing their welfare and wellbeing.
  2. The zoo is actively saving wildlife from extinction through its conservation work at the zoo and in the field.
  3. The zoo acts and communicates with the purpose of inspiring people to value wild animals, taking responsibility for their safeguarding and action for their stability.

Party for the Planet Graphic

Junior League’s Eco Garden & Education Area at El Paso Zoo set to Open on Earth Day

The Junior League of El Paso’s Eco Garden Committee and the El Paso Zoo invite the community to the Grand Opening of the Eco Garden and Education Area at the El Paso Zoo.

The community is invited to stop by and see all the hard work that the committee has put in to the existing gardens and the expansion of the educational area this Saturday, April 22 (Earth Day) from 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m.

The Eco Garden project fosters a culture of sustainability within the El Paso community. The Junior League of El Paso and the El Paso Zoological Society have partnered to develop, plant and grow an eco-community garden and provide educational opportunities for the community. The

Eco Garden will provide a platform for Junior League of El Paso volunteers to educate zoo visitors on how sustainability practices can be applied by citizens in their everyday lives.

WHO: Junior League of El Paso and El Paso Zoo

WHEN: Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. – 2 p.m.

WHERE: El Paso Zoo 4001 E. Paisano Dr., El Paso, Texas 79905

El Paso Zoo Welcomes Male Pronghorn Fawn

The El Paso Zoo has welcomed a new male peninsular pronghorn fawn to the herd.

Bowser weighed-in at approximately 8 pounds when he was born on exhibit March 31 to parents Princessa and Tabasco. It is fawning season, and there are at least two other pregnant peninsulBaby Pronghorn (3)ar pronghorns at the Zoo.

Two weeks ago, the El Paso Zoo staff was saddened over the loss of 2-year-old peninsular pronghorn, Peach. Peach was pregnant, but unfortunately the delivery required veterinary intervention, and the fawn did not survive. Peach also died during the night due to complications from the difficult labor and delivery.

“Fawning season is a critical stage in protecting the peninsular pronghorn species,” said Zoo Director Steve Marshall. “Losing Peach and her fawn was incredibly difficult for the entire staff, but we know situations like that can happen. We’re all just glad Princessa and Bowser made it through the birth without any complications.”

Zoo staff are monitoring Bowser and Princessa, and all pronghorns at the Zoo throughout fawning season.

The El Paso Zoo is active in their home range conservation efforts. Bowser’s birth is part of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) to aid in the species’ conservation. Peninsular pronghorn are currently listed as “critically endangered” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This makes this species one category before “extinct.”

Bowser and the other peninsular pronghorns at the Zoo serve as an example of the Zoo’s three-pillars of wildlife conservation.

  1. The Zoo is actively saving wildlife from extinction through its conservation work at the zoo and in the field.
  2. The Zoo provides excellent and expert care for animals, prioritizing their welfare and wellbeing.
  3. The Zoo acts and communicates with the purpose of inspiring people to value wild animals, taking responsibility for their safeguarding and action for their stability.

El Paso Zoo: Juno’s Cancer Treatment Procedure Successful

Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Lisa DiBernardi of Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, Dr. Joe Impellizeri of Veterinary Oncology Services, and the El Paso Zoo animal care team successfully performed electrochemotherapy on Juno, one of the zoo’s Asian elephants.

“We broke the tumor down into four quadrants and treated each quadrant with the electrochemotherapy,” said Dr. Impellizeri. “This is an extremely large tumor, the largest I’ve ever treated, but if you break it down into quadrants, you can treat it like four or five smaller tumors.”

“We are all glad the procedure was completed without any complications,” said Zoo Director, Steve Marshall. “Because Juno is a geriatric elephant, we were careful in selecting a course of action that minimized both risk and recovery time. This is a cutting edge procedure and is a great example of an accredited zoo’s capacity to provide professional and compassionate care for the well-being of its animals.”

Juno was put under general anesthesia for approximately an hour and a half. During the procedure, the tumor was infused with a chemotherapy drug and then treated with a small electric pulse that draws the chemotherapy into the cancer cells. Juno is alert and walking and will be monitored closely as she recovers from the procedure. The Zoo’s short term follow-up will be to monitor the site of the procedure.

Dr. Victoria Milne, El Paso Zoo veterinarian, says the next steps of Juno’s treatment will be dictated by her response to the electrochemotherapy. “Depending on how she reacts to this procedure, she may undergo another round of electrochemotherapy. This type of procedure, unlike invasive surgical procedures, allows for multiple treatments, so for now, we’ll monitor her and see how she does over the next few weeks.”

Juno is one of two Asian elephants at the El Paso Zoo. Asian elephants are endangered according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the classifying authority for species worldwide. Both of the Asian elephants at the El Paso Zoo are elderly, with ages beyond the average life expectancy for Asian elephants.

Juno was diagnosed with a malignant mass in her right mammary gland in January. After careful consideration due to her diagnosis and age, the Zoo decided working with Dr. DiBernardi and Dr. Impellizeri on this procedure was the best course of action for Juno.

El Paso Zoo Celebrates International Eagle Day by Debuting Bald Eagle at Bird Show

The debut of “Patriot” is to celebrate International Eagle Day. Patriot is a non-releasable eagle who came to the El Paso Zoo from the Dickerson Park Zoo. He was found injured but has recovered, thanks to the help of dedicated caregivers.

Unfortunately, he has nerve damage in his foot, which makes him unable to hunt on his own in the wild.

Patriot is a juvenile bald eagle, which means he does not have the recognizable bald, white head. He will develop that over the next two or three years as he matures.

Patriot serves as an example of the Zoo’s three-pillars of wildlife conservation.

  1. The Zoo provides excellent and expert care for animals, prioritizing their welfare and wellbeing.
  2. The Zoo is actively saving wildlife from extinction through its conservation work at the zoo and in the field.
  3. The Zoo acts and communicates with the purpose of inspiring people to value wild animals, taking responsibility for their safeguarding and action for their stability

WHO:          The El Paso Zoo

WHAT:         The El Paso Zoo is debuting its young bald eagle “Patriot” at the daily Wings of the World bird show as part of International Eagle Day

WHEN:         Today, March 20, 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.

WHERE:       El Paso Zoo, 4001 E. Paisano Dr.Bald Eagle 1

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