EL PASO, Texas – Each year on January 10, the United States celebrates Save the Eagles Day. For the El Paso Zoo, however, every day is an opportunity to care for and protect these majestic birds.

Over the past ten years, the El Paso Zoo has played an integral role in nursing injured and ill golden eagles back to health. According to Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Victoria Milne, each of these eagles would likely have died from illness or injury were it not for the efforts of the Zoo’s veterinary staff and rehab partners such as Last Chance Forever Bird of Prey Conservancy in San Antonio and Gila Wildlife Rescue in Silver City, New Mexico.

“Our vet team treats the eagles for injuries like fractures and gunshot wounds and infections like West Nile Virus,” explained Dr. Milne. “Once they are healthy, we send them to a wildlife rehabilitator where they prepare the eagles to be released. Like any athlete, the eagles have to get back in shape to fly in the wild after being in the hospital recovering and healing.”

Golden eagles are the national bird of Mexico and one of the largest birds in North America. Known to be impressive hunters, these powerful birds are able to dive at more than 150 miles per hour. When birds of prey such as golden eagles are removed from an area due to injury or illness, the impact on the ecology is profound, making rehabilitation efforts vital to ensure healthy ecosystems.

“We have worked with the El Paso Zoo to release hundreds of hawks, falcons, owls, and eagles,” said Dennis Miller, founder of Gila Wildlife Rescue. “This kind of success rate is almost unheard of in rehab work. The expertise and compassion of the Zoo’s veterinary staff is both impressive and heartwarming. We are so glad that we have developed this wonderful partnership with them.”

In addition to caring for golden eagles, the El Paso Zoo is now home to a male bald eagle named Patriot. Patriot is a rehabilitated bird who could not be released into the wild because of permanent damaged caused by a previous leg injury. Currently, he is working with The Birdman, Joe Krathwohl, to acclimate to his new surroundings before meeting the El Paso community during the Zoo’s daily Wings of the World bird show.

To learn more about the El Paso Zoo, visit elpasozoo.org. More information about Gila Wildlife Rescue can be found on the organization’s Facebook page. 

EL PASO, Texas – On Saturday, October 22, the El Paso Zoo said goodbye to its seven female Thomson’s gazelles, who began their journey to the San Diego Zoo. On May 17, 2016, the Zoo’s four male Thomson’s gazelles were also transferred and are now living at the North Carolina Zoological Park.

“We are very happy to know the gazelles all went to such highly-respected zoos,” El Paso Zoo Director Steve Marshall said. “As an Association of Zoos & Aquariums-accredited zoo, ensuring the animals’ continued welfare is one of our top priorities.”

The El Paso Zoo’s gazelle exhibit first opened in 2010. For six years, the African savannah exhibit was home to a healthy herd of Thomson’s gazelles. As herd dynamics changed with multiple births, the Zoo determined that the exhibit design was better suited to a more hearty type of African hoof stock.

With the departure of the gazelles, the Zoo will begin the process of determining which new animals to welcome to the African savannah exhibit. Some animals being considered are addax, eland and oryx.

For more information about the El Paso Zoo, visit elpasozoo.org. 

EL PASO, Texas – On Monday morning, photographer and journalist Christina Selby began a 2-day photo shoot with the El Paso Zoo’s Mexican wolves. These photos will be an important piece of Selby’s portfolio, which she is developing to support long-term Mexican wolf conservation.

“I am creating a portfolio of images that powerfully tells the story of Mexican wolves,” explained Selby. “I hope to be able to dispel myths about wolf behavior, shed light on the challenges the wolves face, and support the important recovery work that’s happening in our region.”

During her time at the Zoo, Selby will work with zookeepers to photograph the wolves inside their habitat. She will also set up a motion-triggered camera that will allow for closer, more intimate photos.

“The work that zoos do to protect endangered species is really important,” Selby said, “especially as the wild population is struggling. Zoos will play an increasingly important conservation role going forward and I’m excited to be able to document those efforts here at the El Paso Zoo.”

Supporting Selby’s work is one of the many ways that the El Paso Zoo is investing in Mexican wolf recovery. In October, Zoo staff members assisted conservation organizations in building boundary fences to protect wild wolf populations in the Gila Wilderness. In addition, during two separate trips in November, members of the Zoo staff helped round up wolves near Truth or Consequences for physical exams, vaccines, and parasite treatments that prepared them for being released into the wild in Mexico.

“It’s all about partnering,” said Zoo Director Steve Marshall. “No one organization can do it all on their own, but by joining together, we are actively saving animals from extinction. I am very proud that the El Paso Zoo is able to consistently support such important conservation and recovery efforts.”

To learn more about Christina Selby, visit christinamselby.com.
For more information about the El Paso Zoo, visit elpasozoo.org. 

Image used on homepage is © Christina Selby, 2016