EL PASO, Texas – The El Paso Zoo invites the community to say goodbye to the male Galapagos tortoise, Elvis, who will only be on exhibit at the zoo through Thursday, October 27, before moving to the Phoenix Zoo.
“We know that our community loves Elvis and we want to invite them to come and say goodbye. This is an important move for the conservation of his species and we are all going to miss him,” said El Paso Zoo Director Steve Marshall.
“Transfers like this one are critical to the long-term survival of our endangered species.”
Elvis is a 65-year-old Galapagos tortoise (subspecies vicina) who has been at the El Paso Zoo since 1991. The transfer of Elvis is a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Program® (SSP). Population scientists working with the SSP have discovered a potentially valuable breeding situation for Elvis with a female of matching subspecies at the Phoenix Zoo.
It was recently discovered that Ralph, the 100-year-old male Galapagos tortoise (subspecies vandenburghi) at the Phoenix Zoo, is not the same subspecies as the female. Ralph is coming to El Paso as a companion to the Zoo’s remaining Galapagos tortoise, Mr. Potato Head. Phoenix Zoo staff will transport Ralph to El Paso and will return to Phoenix with Elvis.
“Next week we will swap males with the Phoenix Zoo in order to provide them with the correct subspecies male and our remaining male will get a new buddy. Animal care staff are sad to see him go, but are happy he will be part of bringing future generations into this world, as they are a popular and rare creature,” said Collections Supervisor Tammy Sundquist. “They are also looking forward to getting to know Ralph, the oldest and newest member of the El Paso Zoo family.”
Ralph, the new tortoise arriving at the zoo, will be in quarantine for at least 30 days and will not be visible to visitors. After his quarantine, zookeepers will work to introduce him slowly to Mr. Potato Head before they go on exhibit together. Slow introductions are a common practice throughout zoos for the safety and well-being of the animals.
The SSP’s mission is to conserve species such as the Galapagos tortoise. These tortoises are currently listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species TM. There are about 10,000 to 15,000 tortoises living on the Galápagos Islands.

EL PASO, Texas – The El Paso Zoo’s male wolf, Zephyr, and female wolves Ivy and Ash are now together as one pack! This wolves are now sharing two exhibit spaces at the Zoo.

Improvements to the shared exhibit include a fallen log and railroad trestle run, and opening at the bottom of the arroyo in the exhibit. These improvements, which were constructed by Zoo staff, allow the wolves to freely run through the two spaces together as a pack.

A planned introduction process allowed Zephyr, who came to the El Paso Zoo in March, to join Ash and Ivy’s pack slowly. Zephyr was slowly be introduced to the females, first by smell, then sound then sight. He first me the female wolves through a mesh partition so he could see them and have protected interaction with them. After behavioral observations, research and creating specialized plans for the individual animals, the wolves are now together. 

This is National Wolf Awareness week, which highlights the vital role wolves play in our native ecosystems.

The Mexican gray wolf was one of the first animals on exhibit when the Zoo was founded in 1910. Mexican wolves hold a special place in the hearts of staff because they are native to the Chihuahuan desert. El Paso Zoo conservation efforts include putting boots on the ground in the Gila Wilderness repairing fence line to directly mitigate livestock and human conflicts, in addition to helping fund and support wolf recovery programs. When you come visit the new wolf pack at the Zoo, you directly contribute to conservation efforts. 

Though the Zoo will not breed Zephyr, Ash and Ivy, the Zoo remains an important holding facility for non-breeding wolves. The Zoo has contributed to reproductive research, including semen collection and egg vitrification, which prove promising for the future Mexican grey wolf population.

 “It is hoped the new, pending recovery plan that is due to be completed by November of 2107 will be able to more firmly establish the recovery of the Mexican wolf in the wild and help enhance the genetic diversity of the wolves in those packs,” said Animal Curator John Kiseda.

The Mexican gray wolf, or “lobo,” is one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in zoos. Because of populations in zoos, Mexican grey wolves were reintroduced into the wild on March 29, 1998 after being extinct for more than 30 years. 

See how the El Paso Zoo staff is helping save wolves in the wild! Click here!

EL PASO, Texas – The El Paso Zoo is offering advance tickets for its Boo at the Zoo event. This Halloween celebration is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday October 29 and 30 at the Zoo.

Come to the Zoo between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. before Oct. 27 to buy advance tickets for Boo at the Zoo!

During the event weekend, there will be a special window designated for advance ticket holders, so you can skip the lines! The Zoo is expecting more than 20,000 visitors to enjoy a fun-filled day with trick-or-treat stations, animal encounters, children’s activities, games, festive decorations and much more!

Advance tickets allow all guests coming to celebrate fall to easily enter the Zoo. Boo at the Zoo provides families a fun and safe recreational opportunity to celebrate Halloween – along with the Zoo’s exotic and wild residents, the animals!

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information on Boo at the Zoo advance tickets.