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Home | Tag Archives: el paso zoo

Tag Archives: el paso zoo

El Paso Zoo to honor Sunny the Sea Lion Tuesday

The El Paso Zoo and the El Paso Veterinary Medical Association will commemorate one of the City’s most beloved and iconic animals, Sunny the California Sea Lion, with an induction ceremony to the Animal Hall of Fame.

“We are so happy that Sunny is receiving this honor that he so deserves as he was a joy to everyone who took care of him and everyone who came to visit him,” said El Paso Zoo Collections Supervisor Amanda Leverett.

“We still miss his endearing nature, his subtle mischievousness, and his obvious love of life. He was a special companion and an outstanding ocean ambassador for generations of people that were lucky enough to know him.”

Sunny passed away in 2012 and will be remembered with a plaque at the newly renovated interactive Animal Hall of Fame display that is located at the zoo and sponsored by the El Paso Veterinary Medical Association.

Sunny touched the lives of thousands of visitors from 1986 to 2012 through his lovable and friendly charisma.

Sunny is most notable for being the first Sea lion at any zoo to teach visitors about recycling by demonstrating how to put the correct items in a recycling bin.

The adorable sea lion served as an ambassador for ocean conservation by helping staff promote and distribute more than 100,000 seafood watch cards.

Established in 1998, the El Paso Animal Hall of Fame (AHoF) recognizes the outstanding contributions animals make to human lives in the El Paso community.

The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 21, at the zoo.

El Paso Zoo Raising Orangutan Awareness with M.O.M. Event Sunday

The El Paso Zoo invites the public to participate in the international Missing Orangutan Mothers (M.O.M) campaign that brings attention to the plight of orangutans in the world.

“Every day, orangutan mothers go missing due to poaching, the black market pet trade and palm oil farms that encroach on their living space,” El Paso Zoo officials shared via a news release. “Hundreds of orphaned baby orangutans are cared for in rescue centers in Sumatra and Borneo.”

Visitors will join El Paso Zoo staff and volunteers as they celebrate and honor the zoo’s orangutans and take action to help those in the wild.

There will be zookeeper presentations and animal enrichment at the orangutan exhibit, as well as activities and poster displays at the Asia Discovery Center.

This year, the Missing Orangutan Mothers (M.O.M) campaign features orphaned orangutans Valentino, Yutris, and Momot (pictured above.)

According to the M.O.M. website, the trio are but three of the hundreds of orangutans who attend the BOS Foundation’s jungle school at Nyaru Menteng in Borneo. They are learning skills that one day will enable them to live as wild orangutans.

All donations from our M.O.M. campaign will be allocated to BOS Nyaru Menteng for the continued rehabilitation of Valentino, Yutris, Momot and their friends.  For more information, visit the Orangutan Jungle School Facebook Page.

The event is scheduled on Mother’s Day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 12, at the zoo.

City of El Paso Selects New Director of El Paso Zoo

On Friday, officials with the City of El Paso announced the selection of Joe Montisano as the new Director of the El Paso Zoo.

“We chose Mr. Montisano to lead the El Paso Zoo because of his extensive experience in both animal care and high-level leadership,” said Deputy City Manager Cary Westin. “He is a visionary and enthusiastic to lead our zoo team, and we’re confident he will continue to provide world-class animal care and service to the El Paso Zoo.”

Montisano, who was selected following an extensive national search, will begin his new role as Zoo Director on May 13.

Montisano has 28 years of experience leading diverse, visitor-based, animal education and conservation-based institutions and has dedicated his career to the zoological industry.

Montisano served as the Executive Director at the Great Lakes Aquarium and Science Center in Duluth, Minnesota and previously served as Executive Director for Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick, Maine.

In addition, he served as the Chief Executive Officer at the Central Florida Zoo, Executive Director at the Oregon Wildlife Safari, and Director of Sales, Marketing & Promotions at the SeaWorld of Ohio.

Montisano holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Akron.

The El Paso Zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). AZA envisions a world where all people respect, value, and conserve animals and nature. With more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation.

El Paso Zoo welcomes birth of two baby Ocelots

The population at the El Paso Zoo grew by two, as officials announced Thursday the birth of two baby ocelots.

First-time mom, Lindy, gave birth to an unusually large litter of four kittens on March 2. Ocelots normally have litters of one to two kittens.

Unfortunately, a male kitten was stillborn and a female kitten was not healthy enough to survive. The two remaining kittens, a male and a female, survived and are doing well.

The ocelot is a medium-size, short-haired cat with distinctive markings that serve as camouflage. The ocelot is listed as endangered by the State of Texas.

The birth of the baby ocelots are momentous because Lindy was artificially inseminated (AI) from semen samples that were collected and frozen in 2010 from a male ocelot, Principe, when he was housed at the Cleveland Zoo.

“These births are highly significant because this is the first time in 24 years that AI with frozen semen has been successful in ocelots. Because it was successful, it opens up the possibility for others zoos to increase genetic diversity using the same procedure,” said Zoo Area Supervisor of the El Paso Zoo Amanda Stansbury.

“This is great coordination effort between Species Survival Plan participants in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help preserve the species.”

Researchers at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) coordinated between the El Paso Zoo, the Houston Zoo and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to AI Lindy.

Principe is also father to another ocelot kitten that was born from frozen semen AI at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the day before Lindy gave birth.

To learn more about the El Paso Zoo, click here.

El Paso Zoo to Celebrate “Party for the Planet,” “Eggstravaganzoo” April 20-21

The El Paso Zoo will be celebrating two of the most popular events of the spring, Eggstravaganzoo and Party for the Planet, that will be held simultaneously at the zoo.

“The zoo is combining both events because this year Easter Sunday and Earth day are close in proximity,” zoo officials shared via an emailed news release. “Both family-friendly events provide a safe environment to have some fun while celebrating spring with the zoo animals. There will be spring-themed activities throughout the weekend.”

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 20 and 21, children ages 3 to 12 will be able to participate in seven special candy station activities such as hula-hoops, hopscotch, and more as they collect stamps to redeem for a special surprise.

The Easter Bunny will be available for photos for $10 inside the zoo’s event pavilion.

In addition to candy stations, animal enrichment sponsored by T-Mobile will be available all day. Guests can enjoy viewing some of the zoo animals receive an Easter or Earth Day-themed enrichment. El Paso community partners will be in attendance to inform guests about sustainability.

The zoo is also celebrating the birthday of female orangutan Khaleesi, who was born on Earth Day in 2015.

Guests can enjoy live entertainment at the Asia Plaza stage such as live bands, a magic show, loteria, and more.  Most activities, entertainment, and candy stations are provided at no cost with paid admission.

The only exceptions are Easter Bunny photos, face painting, giraffe feeding, and train and carousel rides.

For more information on both events, visit the El Paso Zoo online.

El Paso’s Inaugural Animal Advocacy Day is February 24

The El Paso Animal Collaborative, an initiative of the El Paso Community Foundation, is partnering with the Texas Humane Legislative Network (THLN) to host the first El Paso Animal Advocacy Day this weekend.

Organizers say the event will run from 1- 4 p.m. Sunday, February 24 in the El Paso Community Foundation Room, located at 333 North Oregon Street.

State Representative Joe Moody will share insights on how citizen advocates can best coalesce their voices for animals. Moody, the first Speaker pro tem from El Paso, has been endorsed by THLN.

Via a news release, officials shared that the public can “Learn what animal protection issues are at stake in the 2019 legislative session and how you can get political for animals. Exciting legislation has already been filed to advance the humane treatment of animals this session – critical protections for tied-out dogs, banning the predatory practice of “pet leasing,” enabling the adoption of retired research animals, to allowing good Samaritans to free dogs in hot cars.”

Laura Donahue Halloran, Executive Director for Texas Humane Legislative Network, will break down the critical elements of these bills and explain how to help both spread the word and make change in Austin.

This event is free and open to the public, however organizers are asking potential attendees to RSVP so they can ensure seats for all.

The El Paso Animal Collaborative was formed in 2018 by the El Paso Community Foundation. The group, which meets quarterly, addresses the issues faced by the animal community in our region.

Participating organizations include: Animal Rescue League of El Paso, Animal Shelter Advisory Committee (ASAC), Cat Rescue Corporation, El Paso Animal Services Shelter, El Paso County Sheriff Animal Control Unit, El Paso Veterinary Medical Association, El Paso Zoo, Enchanted Pass Animal Rescue, From The Heart Rescue, Horses Unlimited Rescue and Education Center Inc., Humane Society of El Paso, Paws for Love, Second Chance Wildlife Rescue, Stick House Sanctuary, Sun City Cats, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Therapy Dogs International.

El Paso Zoo: Name a Cockroach After Your Ex for Valentine’s Day

The El Paso Zoo is offering the chance to name a cockroach in honor of yours or your friend’s ex this Valentine’s Day through the “Quit Bugging Me” event at 2:15 p.m. on February 14.

“This is a fun way to get the community involved in our daily enrichment activities,” said El Paso Zoo Event Coordinator Sarah Borrego.

“The meerkats love to get cockroaches as a snack and what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by feeding them a cockroach named after your ex!”

People can submit the name of their ex by sending a direct message to the El Paso Zoo Facebook page by February 10.

On Valentine’s Day, zoo staff will decorate the meerkat exhibit with the submitted names and shortly after, in honor of those names, the meerkats will be fed cockroaches.

The public is invited to attend the “Quit Bugging Me” event. The zoo will also show the event on Facebook Live and the meerkat webcam available on the zoo’s website.

El Paso Zoo Elephants to Predict Super Bowl Winner Saturday

The El Paso Zoo‘s Asian Elephants Savannah and Juno will once again predict the winner of Super Bowl LIII between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots on Saturday.

“Providing this type of enrichment is fun for both the elephants and our visitors,” said El Paso Zoo Director Steve Marshall. “Not only is it fun, but it is an opportunity to discover nature and wildlife together.”

Juno will choose her pick at 12:15 p.m. and Savannah at 2:30 p.m.

Zookeepers will place two helmet-shaped piñatas in the elephant exhibit – one with the Rams’ logo and the other with the Patriots’ logo – and the elephants will decide which team wins.

They have been predicting the Super Bowl winners for the last nine years, and have correctly chosen seven out of the last nine Super Bowls.

Zoo visitors are encouraged to wear their favorite NFL jerseys for the event.

Zoo officials add that “animal enrichment activities, such as this one, provide animals at the zoo mental and physical stimulation in their daily lives.”

WHO:             El Paso Zoo Elephants Savannah and Juno and Zookeepers

WHAT:           Elephants to predict the winner of Super Bowl LIII

WHEN:           12:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., Saturday, February 2

WHERE:         Elephant Exhibit, Asia Section of the El Paso Zoo

El Paso Zoo Announces Arrival of Deja, the Baby Siamang

The El Paso Zoo is excited to announce the arrival of a 5-month-old baby female siamang from the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.

The infant named Deja will be foster-reared by El Paso zoo staff and introduced to the two female siamangs who are currently at the zoo, mother Suni and daughter Adina. Deja was born on August 5 and had been hand-raised by Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium animal care staff because her mother rejected her at birth.

Zoo experts decided that the best long-term outcome for Deja would be to integrate her into another siamang family.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums advisory group for this species recommended the El Paso Zoo to foster Deja because El Paso siamang Suni has successfully raised two of her own daughters at the zoo.

The plan is for El Paso zookeepers to take care of Deja as Suni and Adinda observe and get to know her. Zoo guests will be able to see Deja being cared for by zookeepers at limited scheduled times in a day room located in the Asia Forest Complex.

Once Suni and Adinda accept Deja and Deja accepts them, she will join the siamang family full time with supportive bottle feedings from zookeepers.

Siamangs are in the gibbon family, which is in the larger group of apes that include gorillas and chimpanzees. They live in small families composed of a mated pair and usually two generations of their offspring. Siamangs are declining in numbers as their habitat is destroyed for logging and expanding palm oil plantations and as poachers kill the mothers in order to capture the young for the lucrative pet trade.

The El Paso Zoo supports various conservation programs to help siamangs and other endangered species in Asia including the Species Survival Program and the Indonesia Species Conservation Program. To learn more about the El Paso Zoo visit their website.

El Dorado Teacher Earns Grant to Give IB Students Unique El Paso Zoo Experience

El Dorado High School students took a behind the scenes tour of the El Paso Zoo giving them the opportunity for project-based learning in their International Baccalaureate biology class.

The unique experience was made possible after their teacher, Amber Berestein, won the Innovative Teaching and Training grant by the Texas IB Schools Association (TIBS). The award recognizes outstanding IB teachers and programs, and provides enriching academic experiences for students.

Berestein was one of six Texas educators to earn the $1,000 TIBS grant for her unit of study IB Biology HL Zoological Cooperative. The program is the first of its kind in El Paso. It allowed students to learn about wild animals, their habitats, conservation issues, and the ways in which they can contribute to their preservation.

“Ecology and conservation are a very important part of our curriculum,” Berestein said. “It’s one thing to talk about it in the classroom, but I wanted to bring the kids to ecology and conservation, and what better way than at the El Paso Zoo.”

Students appreciated the two-day hands-on approach to zoological preservation. Aside from seeing the exotic animals, they signed petitions to help the critically endangered Mexican Wolf, visited the medical facility, and the commissary where the animals’ diets are prepared.

“I really enjoyed the firsthand experience,” said Riley Perez, a senior at El Dorado. “I was never aware of the conservation project that the El Paso Zoo is a part of, and the role they play in conserving different species and animals.”

Another student, Kaitlyn Rodriguez, said her favorite part was touring the medical center, seeing the equipment they use on animals, and how they care for them to keep them healthy.

“This has been a really cool,” Rodriguez said “It’s relatable to what we learn in school. It’s like we get a visual of what we are learning.”

The program will help students become better ambassadors for environmental protection and conservation, Berestein said. 

“My students were impressed with the conservation programs,” she said. “They couldn’t believe how big behind the scenes is. It’s important to expose them because a lot of them haven’t been to the zoo since they were small and some of them haven’t been at all.”

The El Paso Zoo will work with Berestein to leverage the opportunity as a pilot for future high school programs with a science focus, said Zoo Director Steve Marshall.

“(Berestein) is an example of innovative teachers all over this region that think creatively and see the zoo as a powerful classroom resource,” Marshall said.

To view a gallery, courtesy SISD, click here.

El Paso Zoo, Big Bend National Park Partner for Wildlife Conservation

The El Paso Zoo will be piloting a Zoo-Park Partnership with for America’s Keystone Wildlife with Big Bend National Park to coordinate efforts to conserve wildlife.

“The natural recolonization of the black bear to Big Bend National Park from the cross border population in northern Mexico is one of the most important conservation stories in Texas,” said El Paso Zoo Education Curator Rick LoBello. “I was very fortunate to help document and launch current conservation efforts in Big Bend when I worked there many years ago.”

“Big Bend National Park has incredible diversity, including its wildlife. And the story of black bears in the park is unique among National Parks as it was the first of its kind of wildlife recolonizing a park area,” said park Resource Management Chief David Larson. “Bears are important to the ecology of the park, and we look forward to furthering their story and conservation.”

The zoo successfully worked with Big Bend National Park to create the Black Bear Habitat Improvement in Big Bend National Park Project to apply for the grant.

The project focuses on three components: (1) remove non-native invasive vegetation, (2) place food storage boxes in backcountry, and (3) bear-proof power poles in park.

This winter, the zoo will send a group of “citizen steward” volunteers and staff to work in the park to help complete the project.

Funding was made possible for this partnership when the El Paso Zoo and Big Bend National Park were awarded the $10,000 Winter 2018 America’s Keystone Wildlife Project Grant (AKW) from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

The Project partners zoos with National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges to help America recover the wildlife legacy lost during the fur trade and westward expansion era of the United States, and was founded by Julie Anton Randall, Project Leader.

The El Paso Zoo is among a small inaugural group of accredited zoos selected that meet certain criteria, including AKW Field Conservation, Reciprocal AKW Interpretation, and AKW Citizen Stewardship engaging communities in ensuring park sustainability.

El Paso Zoo, Big Bend Park Awarded Zoo-Park Partnership Grant

Silver Spring, Maryland – The El Paso Zoo, in partnership with Big Bend National Park have been awarded the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) America’s Keystone Wildlife (AKW) grant recipients for 2018.

“The collaborations between AZA, our member zoos and aquariums, and government entities enable us to protect our nation’s native wildlife and wild places,” said Dan Ashe, president and CEO of AZA. “These partnerships have led to the successful recovery and reintroduction of American bison, black-footed ferrets, and other species once on the verge of extinction in our own backyards.”

Made possible by a Thoresen Foundation gift to AZA, these five $10,000 grants will be used to conduct conservation activities benefitting North American species on public lands as a part of Zoo-Park Partnerships, an initiative designed to unite zoos and National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, and National Forests and Grasslands (“parks”) in restoring sustainable habitats and wildlife populations.

Zoo-Park Partnerships (ZPPs) help America recover the wildlife legacy lost during the Fur Trade and Westward Expansion era of U.S. history and improve wildlife population health, genetic integrity and habitat in ways that also benefit local communities on public lands today.

Zoos and parks also provide opportunities for inspired visitors to participate in “citizen stewardship” volunteer work that directly improves habitats and quality of life for AKW animals.  The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) is a primary AKW Project partner.

The 2018 Grant Recipients include:

  • El Paso Zoo, partnering with Big Bend National Park
  • Blank Park Zoo, partnering with Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
  • Dakota Zoo, partnering with Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  • Naples Zoo, partnering with Big Cypress National Preserve
  • Red River Zoo, partnering with Wind Cave National Park

“Wildlife are a vital part of the historical landscape our National Parks and Refuges sustain and interpret. Partnerships with AZA zoos build capacity for restoring healthy wildlife populations and habitats and provide a key platform to share this important story of stewardship with zoo and park visitors alike,” said Julie Anton Randall, ZPPs for AKW Project Leader.

All AZA-accredited facilities are eligible to receive funding. Successful grant recipients demonstrate ZPP plans centered on field conservation, interpretation, and/or citizen stewardship in line with the goals of the America’s Keystone Wildlife™ (AKW) Project.

To learn more, visit www.aza.org

El Paso Zoo to Host Final After Howlers Event Saturday

The El Paso Zoo invites the public to the final “After Howlers” event of the season from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., on Saturday, August 18.

The event will feature a “Zoo-per Heroes” theme where all guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite superhero or movie character. Additionally, the event includes a Meet the Keeper program and animal enrichments.

There will be live music by 7TH Ave Band, Last Train Home, and DJ Kid Notorious, and an evening bird show.  Visitors can also enjoy a special high flying Aerial Acrobatic Show by Odd-Lab.

Families will be able to enjoy their favorite’s spots like the Hunt Family Desert Spring, Foster Tree House Playground, the new Hunt Family Endangered Species Carousel, or grab some delicious food at Passport Café or the Beastro.

The zoo will be open from 9:30 a.m. 8:30 p.m. with the “After Howlers” event starting at 5 p.m.

For more information about the El Paso Zoo, call (915) 212-0966 or visit the zoo’s website.

El Paso Zoo Hosts $3 Thursdays in August

With summer starting to come to a close, the El Paso Zoo is inviting residents to come out and celebrate with $3 Thursdays held every Thursday in August.

Officials the the El Paso Zoo say, “The promotion is a great way for the community to come out and enjoy the last days of summer at the zoo.”

$3 Thursdays means for every purchase of a regular priced adult, senior or active duty military/spouse ticket one child or teen ticket will be discounted by $3 (regular price $7.50 or $9.00).

The zoo will also offer special pricing on those days, two people can ride for $3 on either the African Star Train or the new Hunt Family Endangered Species Carousel. Other special deals include $3 purchase of a regular drink and popcorn, or an ICEE, or a hot dog.

Additional information is available on the El Paso Zoo website.

El Paso Zoo to Install Giraffe Shade Structures

On Monday, the El Paso Zoo announced crews would begin replacing and increasing the number of shade structures to the giraffe exhibit starting August 1.

”We are excited to be able to begin this project to provide more shade for the Giraffes. The new shade structures will be wider and taller than the existing ones and thus will provide a larger area of shade for the Giraffes,” said El Paso Zoo Africa Collections Supervisor Amanda Leverett.

The zoo will be installing four new structures that will be 24 feet in height and retrofitted with 20 foot canopies. The two existing shade structures are approximately 18 to 20 feet in height and have a 12 foot diameter umbrella.

Construction will require zoo staff to take the giraffes off of exhibit. The giraffes will return on exhibit August 12 through August 26 then taken off exhibit until installation is done in September.

“The construction of these large structures requires contractors to have full access to the exhibit, so for everyone’s safety we will be unable to let any of our hoof stock roam the Upper Savannah during construction,” said Leverett.

In addition to providing shade, the structures will have a crank and pulley system that keepers can hang enrichment at the height of giraffes. The structures will also cast more shade for the smaller animals, including the Kudu and Addax.

This project demonstrates the commitment that the El Paso Zoo has to meet and exceed the standards of care set by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The project is expected to be finished in early September.  For more information residents can visit the zoo’s Facebook page.

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