EL PASO, Texas – There are not many instances where building a barrier bridges a community. But for Mexican grey wolves denning in the Deep Creek Allotment of the Gila Wilderness, a fence is exactly what isneeded.

Staff from the El Paso Zoo, along with Defenders of Wildlife, WildEarth Guardians and New Mexico State University students helped build wolf boundary fence in the Gila Wilderness over the weekend. The fence ensures cattle do not trespass on the Deep Creek Allotment. This part of the Gila National Forest’s Reserve Ranger District was retired from livestock grazing in 2014. Reducing cattle and wolf conflicts is vital to wild wolf recovery, as encounters usually end badly for wolves, with wolves being removed from the wild or even shot.

“This is why we do what we do. We take care of animals every day, and even though you think you may not be making a difference, you have to look at the big picture,” said senior keeper Kristilee Kodis. “Field conservation work isn’t just about building a fence – it’s about building relationships between the community and all the people who love the land and the animals who live there.”

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. 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.

Read more in our field notes on the Take Action blog thanks to Enrichment Coordinator Carrie!

EL PASO, Texas –The El Paso Zoo and El Paso Rhinos Hockey are teaming up to help save wildlife worldwide with Round Up. Round Up allows guest who purchase concessions or gifts to donate their change to the nearest dollar to help save wildlife, both at the Zoo and the Rhinos games.

When you round up your purchase, you round up support to make a difference! Your Round Up change has raised more than $18,000 to help wildlife since 2015.  Now, when you round up at the Zoo or the Rhinos Hockey games, you can continue to support field conservation efforts for bolson tortoises, African lions, Sumatran orangutans and black rhinos – both at the Zoo, and at the Rhinos hockey games.

“Every time you visit the Zoo, you help save wildlife,” Zoo Director Steve Marshall said. “This program and this partnership guests another way to directly make a difference by contributing to saving wildlife worldwide.”

The El Paso Zoo has supported worldwide conservation efforts through the Round Up program, including bolson tortoises, African lions, Sumatran orangutans and more in addition to funding wildlife conservation projects for almost 15 years.

“World Rhino Day is the perfect opportunity to share with the community how their support helps us save wildlife,” said Rhinos Hockey Coach and General Manager Cory Herman. “No matter who you are, or how small your contribution, you can help make a difference.”

El Paso Rhinos Hockey “adopted” Tatenda, a black rhino in the care of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, in 2008. The Rhinos have also contributed and sponsored the El Paso del Norte American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) Bowling for Rhinos fundraiser, which is a national effort to help with rhino conservation. 

EL PASO, Texas – The El Paso Zoo is welcoming a new baby into the South American Pavilion. The porcupine was born on September 16 to mom Flower and dad Vito. This is first offspring for the 4-year-old prehensile tailed porcupines – and the first baby prehensile tailed porcupine born at the Zoo.

Zoo staff is waiting to name the baby porcupine, or porcupette, under the sex of the baby can be determined in a few weeks. The porcupette weighed .95 pounds when it was born. The face of a prehensile tailed porcupine is irresistible – two dark round eyes and a curiously large, bulbous, whiskered nose set in a soft ball of speckled spines. The baby’s quills will turn from soft and orange colored to hard about 1-2 weeks after the baby’s birth, so resist the urge to cuddle!

“Animal care staff were excited getting ready for the first prehensile tailed porcupine birth at the Zoo since they confirmed the pregnancy,” said Collections Supervisor Tammy Sundquist. “It’s always a joy getting to watch a baby grow and the animal care staff is monitoring Flower and baby closely.”

Flower and the baby are bonding behind the scenes and will be on exhibit next month.

This 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.  Prehensile tailed porcupines are not listed as threatened or endangered, but are pressured by habitat loss and are killed in parts of their range by hunters.