El PASO, Texas – Today, the El Paso City Council approved two donations totaling nearly $900,000 from the El Paso Zoological Society.

The first donation, part of a two million dollar gift from Paul Foster, will be used to purchase a Point of Sale (POS) system for the Zoo. This system will allow guests to purchase admission tickets online, RSVP for Zoo events, and reserve spots at scheduled zoo events.

“This system will make a big difference for Zoo guests,” said Executive Director of the El Paso Zoological Society Renee Neuert. “It will be a great way for families to be able to plan ahead and skip the lines!”

The second donation, $800,000 from the Hunt Family Foundation, will be used to purchase a 36-foot carousel and shade structure. The carousel will feature a wide variety of endangered species, including: lions, tigers, elephants, zebras, giraffes, gorillas, red pandas, sea otters, and even a triceratops. The carousel will also feature a bird’s nest spinning tub and a wheelchair-accessible swan chariot.

The endangered species carousel, built by Chance Rides, will be located inside the new Asia entrance, a project funded by the 2012 Quality of Life bonds. The entrance will feature a Southeast Asia Gateway, themed landscaping and lighting, and a shaded seating area around the carousel. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2017.

“The new carousel is an important part of our 10-year master plan and will be a wonderful addition to our Zoo,” said Director of the El Paso Zoo Steve Marshall. “We greatly appreciate the support of the El Paso Zoological Society and the generous donors.”

With the approval from City Council, the El Paso Zoological Society will now move forward with both projects, purchasing the POS system and putting a deposit on the carousel in early December.

“We are very thankful for the generous support of community leaders like Paul Foster and the Hunt Family who believe that building a great Zoo is building economic development for our City,” said Neuert. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Zoological Society to once again support our El Paso Zoo.”

On Wednesday, November 2, the El Paso Zoo will prepare to receive a female Przewalski’s horse from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C.

The female horse will join Vitalis, one of the El Paso Zoo’s two male Przewalski’s horses, and they will become the zoo’s first breeding pair of Przewalski’s horses.

In anticipation of the arrival of the female horse, the El Paso Zoo will transfer Vladimir, the zoo’s other male Przewalski’s horse, to the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he will also become part of a breeding pair.

The transfer comes as a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose Species Survival Plan® (SSP) works to conserve species such as the Przewalski’s horse through breeding and transfer plans. These plans are designed to empower accredited zoos, such as the El Paso Zoo, to protect and breed endangered animals in order to save them from extinction.

Przewalski’s horses, also called Asian wild horses, are the only truly wild horses remaining in the world. Muscular and stocky, these horses were declared extinct in the wild in the 1960s due to over-hunting and encroaching human settlements. Through the collaborative efforts of AZA-accredited zoos and conservation partners, hundreds of Przewalski’s horses have now begun returning to the wild.

While there are still threats to the Przewalski’s horse’s survival, including climate change and overgrazing by domestic animals, active conservation strategies and breeding initiatives such as these will help ensure a stable, genetically-diverse population that will roam the wild for years to come.

El PASO, Texas – The El Paso Zoo invites the public to El Paso’s WILDEST trick-or-treat in town as it hosts its annual “Boo at the Zoo” from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, and Sunday, October 30.

Boo at the Zoo features pumpkin bowling, a creepy crawly glow in the dark bug room, an alligator alley haunted house, Zoo-rassic park, an inflatable bounce house and slide, a Halloween maze, live entertainment, and more! Watch the animals enjoy special Halloween enrichment treats, including pumpkins and piñatas! Guests are invited to wear costumes and enjoy trick-or-treat candy stations and fun fall activities.

The first 2,500 children each day will receive a recyclable trick-or-treat bag. Activities and candy stations are provided at no cost with paid admission (with exception of giraffe feeding, train and carousel rides). This family-friendly event provides a safe environment to have some ZOO-rrific fun while celebrating Halloween.Tickets for the event may be purchased in advance by visiting the zoo between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. until Friday, October 28.

Boo at the Zoo provides only certified sustainable palm oil candy and palm oil free candy at each candy station, provided by Walmart, to bring awareness to wildlife habitat destruction worldwide. As an ingredient, palm oil is found in at least four out of 10 household products. Worldwide palm oil consumption is doubling every 10 years. This oil is produced from palm oil plantations that are cutting down critical wildlife habitat to expand operations, mainly in Malaysia and Indonesia. More than 85 percent of all palm oil globally produced and exported is from Indonesia and Malaysia, where the palm oil industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat loss, climate change, animal cruelty and human rights abuses. Large-scale deforestation linked to unsustainable palm oil practices is pushing many species to extinction.

Many animals species worldwide connected to the animals at our Zoo- including Asian elephants Savannah and Juno, Sumatran orangutans Ibu, Khaleesi and Butch, and Malayan tigers Seri, Belahat, Melor - could go extinct in the wild if the palm oil industry continues its current practices.

This event is made possible by: Subway, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Neighbors Emergency Center, Banes General Contractors, MetroPCS and El Paso Family Orthodontics.

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