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El Paso Zoo Employee Travels to Malaysia and Indonesia

Education Specialist Attends Conference and Conducts Field Work in Asia

In November, 2011 El Paso Zoo Education Specialist, Antonia Alvarado traveled to Malaysia and Indonesia. Alvarado attended the 9th Annual Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil and visited sites significant to the palm oil crisis.

"We believe this kind of investment in our staff and in our message is what separates the good zoo from the great zoo that we are. Antonia represented El Paso as one of five zoos in the United States attending this international meeting and we're very proud that we were represented," said Zoo Director Steve Marshall.

Alvarado's trip to Asia allowed her to experience the crisis firsthand and helped her to create better programming at the zoo to educate our community about the effects of Palm Oil. Part of the zoo's mission is to educate people in order to make them better stewards and her field work while in Asia will allow her to gain valuable experiences that she will be able to share with others in El Paso.

"The Palm Oil crisis is an environmental problem that is reversible and it is important that we share this valuable information with our community so that they can make choices that will promote a better and healthier environment, for us and for animals. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am looking forward to learning about the changes we can make to help save critically endangered animals," said Education Specialist Antonia Alvarado.

The Palm Oil crisis negatively impacts tropics and areas in Southeast Asia- it is the main threat to rainforests and the survival of critically endangered animals such as Sumatran Orangutans and Sumatran Tigers. During Alvarado's trip, she visited certified and uncertified palm oil plantations, areas of deforestation, areas of reforestation projects, animal rehabilitation centers as well as take part in meetings with leaders in this field.

Palm oil is used in many foods and household products. Its production destroys valuable rainforest habitats. Consumers can help by buying food and other products that do not contain palm oil. For more information on shopping palm oil free.

Read about Antonia's journey. She posted blog updates here:

Locally recognized as the Best Place to Take the Kiddos, the El Paso Zoo sits on 35 acres of fun and adventure. Bigger and better than ever, the El Paso Zoo is an expansive green space that is home to exotic animals from around the world and features family attractions such as the African Star train and the Hunt Family Desert Spring. Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the El Paso Zoo celebrates the value of animals and natural resources and creates opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature. For more information, visit For news and exclusive content, follow us on Facebook ( and YouTube (



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Our mission is to celebrate the value of animals and natural resources and to create opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature.