EL PASO, Texas – The El Paso Zoo welcomed two peninsular pronghorn fawns to the herd. The mother, Martina, gave birth to one female (Cayenne) and one male (Pequin), and both are healthy and doing well. This is just three weeks after our pronghorn Princessa gave birth to a male fawn, Bowser.

“When it comes to protecting the peninsular pronghorn species, this fawning stage is monumental,” said Zoo Director Steve Marshall. “Bowser’s doing great, and we’re going to keep an eye on the two fawns and their mother so we can have the same success with them.” The two fawns and their mother are being monitored by Zoo staff, and all pronghorns at the Zoo will be observed closely throughout fawning season.

Peninsular pronghorns are currently listed as “critically endangered” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This makes this species one category before “extinct.” The El Paso Zoo is active in their home range conservation efforts. All of the El Paso Zoo’s peninsular pronghorn births are part of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) to aid in the species’ conservation. 

“The El Paso Zoo has over 20% of the managed peninsular pronghorn population in the United States,” said Marshall. “The births we have here are critical for the continuation of the species. I’m just incredibly proud of our team and our community for being able to play a pivotal role in saving these animals from extinction.”

The peninsular pronghorns at the Zoo serve as an example of the three things we want the community to know about the El Paso Zoo:

(1) The Zoo is actively saving wildlife from extinction through its conservation work at the zoo and in the field.

(2) The Zoo provides excellent and expert care for animals, prioritizing their welfare and wellbeing.

(3) The Zoo acts and communicates with the purpose of inspiring people to value wild animals, taking responsibility for their safeguarding and action for their stability.

 

El PASO, Texas – The El Paso Zoo staff is saddened over the loss of 14-year-old Mexican gray wolf, Ash. Ash and her sister Ivy were born at the Columbus Zoo, transferred to the Cincinnati Zoo, and both were later transferred to the El Paso Zoo.

“I’ve been at the Zoo for over 15 years, so I’ve watched Ash and Ivy grow as part of the Zoo family,” said Area Supervisor Tony Zydonyk. “Ash was a longtime resident, and I know all of us are going to miss her, especially the keepers in her area.”

Ash had a number of common age-related health issues, including arthritis in her knees and back, that were being managed by the Animal Care and Veterinary teams. Because medical intervention was no longer able to overcome her declining condition, the Zoo’s animal care team determined that euthanasia was the most humane option. Ash’s sister, Ivy, passed away last month, and pathology results are still pending to determine her cause of death. Both had exceeded the life expectancy for Mexican gray wolves under human care. Our 11-year-old, male Mexican wolf, Zephyr, appears to be in good health.

The El Paso Zoo has worked diligently in efforts to conserve the Mexican wolf. In addition to the wolves that currently live at the Zoo, the Zoo has sponsored various Mexican wolf conservation efforts, and recently, Zoo staff worked with the Turner Endangered Species Fund (TESF) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to vaccinate, examine and treat eleven Mexican wolves that were released into the wild.

The Mexican gray wolf in our care serves as an example of the three things we want the community to know about the El Paso Zoo: (1) The Zoo provides excellent and expert care for animals, prioritizing their welfare and wellbeing. (2) The Zoo is actively saving wildlife from extinction through its conservation work at the zoo and in the field. (3) The Zoo acts and communicates with the purpose of inspiring people to value wild animals, taking responsibility for their safeguarding and action for their stability.

El PASO, Texas – (March 3, 2017) The El Paso Zoo has chosen a treatment protocol for Juno, our 49-year-old Asian elephant. She was diagnosed with a malignant mass in her right mammary gland in January, and the El Paso Zoo team discussed her case with elephant experts and veterinary specialists around the United States to determine the best course of action. Cancer is rare in elephants, and this type of tumor has never been previously reported.

With the assistance of Dr. Joe Impellizeri of Veterinary Oncology Services in New York and Dr. Lisa DiBernardi of Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, TX, Juno will receive a new tumor treatment that involves localized chemotherapy enhanced with electro-stimulation to the site, known as electrochemotherapy. This procedure will take place later this month. Juno will be put under general anesthesia for a short time. The tumor will then be infused with a chemotherapy drug and then treated with a small electric pulse to make it more susceptible to the chemotherapy drug.

This advanced procedure requires a much smaller amount of the chemotherapy drug and reduces the side effects that come with chemotherapy drugs in her system. “We’re encouraged to have found a treatment option that is more aggressive than monitoring but without the risks that come with an invasive surgery or traditional chemotherapy,” said Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Victoria Milne.  “There is less risk with this treatment, but we’re still tackling this tumor.“ Given Juno’s size and age, there is always a certain level of risk when going under general anesthesia. This less invasive treatment also minimizes her time under anesthesia compared to surgery.

Dr. DiBernardi is double board-certified in veterinary medical and radiation oncology. “I am enthusiastic and honored to participate in Juno’s care at the El Paso Zoo,” DiBernardi said. “We are all optimistic the nontraditional approach will control her cancer while offering an excellent quality of life.” Dr. Impellizeri, a board-certified veterinary oncologist, echoed her sentiments. “I am privileged to be involved in Juno’s cancer treatment. We are hopeful that this advanced, targeted cancer treatment with electrochemotherapy will control Juno’s cancer and provide a shorter recovery period.”

 “We are fortunate to be working with Dr. DiBernardi and Dr. Impellizeri”, said Zoo Director, Steve Marshall. “They are incredibly experienced veterinary oncologists, and we are glad they are available to provide Juno with this kind of care. Juno’s a member of our Zoo family, and this is just what we do when one of our animals needs treatment. We use our means and resources to provide care.”

Asian elephants are endangered according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the classifying authority for species worldwide. Both Asian elephants at the El Paso Zoo are elderly, with ages beyond the average life expectancy for Asian elephants. Asian elephants are also one of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) SAFE species. SAFE stands for “saving animals from extinction,” and the program focuses the collective expertise within AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and leverages their massive audiences to save species.