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

EL PASO, Texas – Christmas came early at the El Paso Zoo with the highly-anticipated arrival of Brianna, the Zoo’s first female Przewalski’s horse. Brianna arrived on Tuesday, December 6 and will soon join Vitalis, the Zoo’s male Przewalski’s horse to become the Zoo’s first breeding pair of these endangered horses.

“In the 1960s, Przewalski’s horse were extinct in the wild,” explained Zoo Director Steve Marshall. “We are proud to join the important ongoing effort to preserve these magnificent creatures and reintroduce them to their natural habitats.”

Brianna came to the El Paso Zoo from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virgina. Born at the Bronx Zoo, she is eight years old and weighs approximately 775 pounds. The transfer comes as a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose Species Survival Plan®(SSP) works to conserve species such as the Przewalski’s horse through breeding and transfer plans. These plans are designed to empower accredited zoos, such as the El Paso Zoo, to protect and breed endangered animals in order to save them from extinction.

“Now that Brianna has arrived at the Zoo, she will go through a 30-40 day quarantine period,” explained Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Misty Garcia. “We just want to make sure she is healthy and has some quiet time to adjust to her new surroundings. So far she is doing very well.”

Muscular and stocky with light brown bodies and bristly black manes, Przewalski’s horses are the only wild, undomesticated horse remaining in the world. Their name, pronounced “shuh-VAL-skee” comes from Nikolai Przewalski, the 19th-century explorer who is credited with their discovery.

Through the collaborative efforts of AZA-accredited zoos and conservation partners, hundreds of Przewalski’s horses have returned to the wild. While there are still threats to the Przewalski’s horse’s survival, including climate change and encroaching private farms, active conservation strategies and breeding initiatives such as these will help ensure a stable, genetically-diverse population that will roam the wild for years to come.