El Paso, Texas (February 11, 2013) - The El Paso Zoo will host a group of veterinarians and biologists this week as a part of the Bolson Tortoise reintroduction project managed by the Turner Endangered Species Fund. The project was created in an effort to grow the Bolson Tortoise population to a size that will allow release in the wild. 

The team, consisting of leading experts in the study and diagnosis of reptiles from the University of Georgia (Dr. Stephen Divers, DVM), the El Paso Zoo (Veterinarian, Dr. Victoria Milne, DVM), the Turner Endangered Species Fund (tortoise biologists Dr. Christiane Wiese, PhD, and Mr. Scott Hillard), the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson, AZ (Dr. James Jarchow, DVM), and private practice (Dr. Peter Koplos, DVM) will gather to examine the reproductive structures of young Bolson tortoises using an endoscopic technique. The specialized procedure involves inserting a tiny fiber optic camera into the belly of the tortoise to see whether the tortoise is male or female. Knowing the gender of the tortoises will assist the group’s effort to breed the species. 

"Once again, this collaboration demonstrates the conservation impact the El Paso Zoo has on a species under immense pressure in the wild. We're giving attention to an important species that only a handful of organizations are involved with," said Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Victoria Milne. 

The team assembling at the El Paso Zoo this week, will examine the sex of tortoises that were incubated at known and predetermined temperatures in order to establish the parameters of what is known as "temperature-dependent sex determination" for the Bolson Tortoise. By doing so, the team will make significant contributions to the study of the Bolson Tortoise and to the knowledge that will help optimize the management and recovery efforts for this endangered species. 

The gender study is part of a larger project that aims to establish free-living Bolson Tortoises in the northern portion of their prehistoric range – in this case, on ranch properties owned by Ted Turner near Truth or Consequences, NM. The Bolson Tortoise reintroduction project managed by the Turner Endangered Species Fund also includes the Living Desert Zoo in Carlsbad, NM and the El Paso Zoo. 

"We're really proud of our staff who are willing to assist. We also think it's important for the community to know that their continued support and attendance allows us to take part in important conversation projects like this," said Zoo Director Steve Marshall. 

Currently, the population of Bolson Tortoises in the wild is unknown. They are currently listed as "vulnerable" in the in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. 

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 elpasozoo.org. For news and exclusive content, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/elpasozoo) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/theelpasozoo).
El Paso, Texas (May 7, 2013) The El Paso Zoo announces the re-opening of the Animals of the Spanish Explorers exhibit at the Cisneros Paraje. The grand re-opening of the exhibit will take place on Saturday, May 11 which will include a live history presentation featuring various Spanish Colonial characters. Guests will also have the opportunity to participate in activities of the time and learn what paraje life was like from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday. 

The exhibit was originally opened in 1996 and has now received improvements including the addition of domestic breeds of livestock animals and artifact replicas from the 1600’s and 1700’s. The objective of the exhibit is to help guests imagine what life was like for early explorers traveling through El Paso along the Camino Real. Animals in the exhibit include five domestic breeds of livestock animals, some listed as a heritage breeds in danger of disappearing. Animals include Ossabaw Island hogs, Spanish goats, a Mexican burro, Navajo-Churro sheep, and Santa Cruz Island sheep. Learn more about our local history.



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 elpasozoo.org. For news and exclusive content, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/elpasozoo) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/theelpasozoo).
El Paso, Texas (May 1, 2013) The El Paso Zoo is excited to welcome 14-year-old LB, a California sea lion, to the Zoo family. LB is now on exhibit with his new companion, Sushi. He arrived at the Zoo on March 5 and has since been behind the scenes for the regular 30 day quarantine, getting to know his new exhibit and companion, and bonding with staff. 

“We really miss Sunny so we’re excited to see a male sea lion here. We’re glad LB and Sushi both have companions now and we’re looking forward to possibly having pups in the future,” said Area Supervisor Amanda Leverett. 

LB arrived in El Paso with two of his keepers from Gulf Word in Florida. His keepers worked with our staff to make sure that they knew all about him and that they learned all of his training commands- all of which are different than Sunny’s were. 

Keepers learned quickly that LB is very strong-willed, eager to participate in training and that he’s always hungry. LB’s diet currently includes 38 pounds of fish- the equivalent to over 15,000 calories a day. At his quarantine exam, he weighed in at 537 pounds and keepers are working to get him up to 600 pounds. 

LB came to the El Paso Zoo with a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Program. The Zoo hopes to have success in breeding LB and Sushi to sire pups. 

“We’re very happy to have LB at our Zoo. He is a wonderful addition and we’re excited for the opportunity to have a big male sea lion back at the zoo”, said Zoo Director Steve Marshall. 

Sushi, also 14 years old, has been getting to know her new companion and was excited to welcome him. Sushi has been striving to get LB’s attention by twirling, spinning and swimming rapidly by him in an attempt to get him to chase her. Keepers say it’s very entertaining to observe their dynamic. 

Sushi will continue with the daily sea lion presentations at this time. LB will be off exhibit during presentations. Daily presentations take place daily at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

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 elpasozoo.org. For news and exclusive content, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/elpasozoo) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/theelpasozoo).