El Paso, Texas (January 31, 2013) – The El Paso Zoo is sad to announce the passing of its oldest Black-handed spider monkey, Angel. Angel was euthanized this morning due to old age related decline. Angel was 47 years old and had lived at the El Paso Zoo since November 1969. Angel is survived by three offspring and two grand-offspring currently living at the Zoo. 

Keepers and Veterinary staff had been keeping a close eye on Angel since October when she began showing signs of cognitive decline and weakness. Keepers were hand feeding Angel and were also providing her supplements because she was having trouble maintaining weight. Angel’s recent annual physical exam showed no particular organ failure. 

Angel was the second oldest female spider monkey in the world reported in International Species Information System (ISIS). ISIS provides information about living animals in zoological facilities around the world. Life expectancy for spider monkeys in a zoo setting is 40-50 years old. 

“She was a very sweet and kind soul, very gentle. Her absence will be deeply felt by all staff at the zoo and especially those of us that were really close to her,” said Jen Aydelotte, Senior Keeper. 

Black-handed spider monkeys are listed as “vulnerable” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. 

Keepers say the others will notice that she is gone and will feel her absence. She was the matriarch of the group but the zoo’s spider monkeys have a strong social group and are expected to do well. The spider monkey exhibit will remain open as usual. 

 

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 (February 4, 2013) - The El Paso Zoo has acquired a new portable digital radiography machine, Mark 1417 CW by Sound Elkin. The new machine, a rugged portable touch screen computer with wireless signal, allows veterinary staff to take necessary x-rays of the Zoo's animals in their holding areas as well as the medical center. 

The Mark 1417 CW has made a difficult task a much easier and faster for veterinary staff and zoo keepers meaning a faster and safer recovery for Zoo animals. In addition to the portability of the machine, instantaneous image transfer and superior images, the digital file allows veterinary staff to share x-rays with other veterinarians for case consultations. 

“This machine has already made a huge difference during our medical procedures. We have once again been able to increase the quality of care for our animals,” said Dr. Victoria Milne, Zoo Veterinarian. 

This new portable machine offers new technology being used by only a few zoos in the United States. The machine provides veterinary staff the opportunity to take quick x-rays and get instant images, minimizing risk to the Zoo's animals and staff. Prior to acquiring this machine, Zoo staff had the ability to take x-rays in the field but was required to take x-ray film to the animal hospital to be processed. Although this was an adequate process, it required animals to be under anesthesia longer than they are now. Prolonged anesthesia, like in humans, can be risky to animals. 

This machine has particularly made it easier for veterinary staff to take x-rays of large animals such as elephants, giraffes and even lions. To avoid the need of anesthesia, some animals receive training to present body parts that can be examined when necessary. Giraffes and elephants present body parts such as their feet and legs making it possible to take x-rays without anesthetizing them. In other cases, animals such as lions can be examined in their holding area without having to be transported to the animal hospital, which minimizes the risk for not only the animal, but staff. 

"We're so pleased to have the opportunity to donate these funds to the Zoo. This is important for our staff and our animals, alleviating unnecessary stress for both," said Renee Neuert, Executive Director of the El Paso Zoological Society. 

This new technology at the El Paso Zoo is possible due to a donation of $125,000 from the El Paso Zoological Society and a donation of $25,000 from the El Paso Veterinary Medical Association. The donations covered the cost of the machine, staff training and maintenance of the machine. 

“The EPVMA membership is very pleased that this project is complete, and our zoo animals are now benefiting from a state of the art radiology system," said Pete Koplos, DVM, EPVMA President, Co-owner of the El Paso Veterinary Specialty and the El Paso Animal Emergency Centers and Contract Veterinarian for the El Paso Zoo. "Our zoo's animals deserve the best technology available. We are proud to have been a part of making this goal a reality." 

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 (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).