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. 

EL PASO, Texas –On Wednesday, December 14 at 10:30 a.m., the El Paso Zoo will host the Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening of the highly-anticipated Wildlife Amphitheater, followed immediately by El Paso’s first Wings of the World bird show.  

This unique new venue, boasting 300-seats in a state-of-the-art amphitheater, is one of the several exciting Quality of Life Bond projects that has now been completed throughout the City of El Paso. The theater will be a place for guests to engage and learn in a whole new way through animal encounters, educational programs, concerts, and much more.

The El Paso Zoo is proud to welcome Wings of the World to the Wildlife Amphitheater stage, thanks to a generous sponsorship from Paul and Alejandra Foster and the El Paso Zoological Society. Wings of the World is a world-renowned free flight bird show and will be a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Zoo guests to experience the majesty of animals as they swoop, soar, and dive through the air. The show will be led by Joe Krathwohl – known as The Birdman – who has dedicated himself to the care and preservation of birds and has developed the largest free flight bird show in the world (and the only show featuring trained condors and cassowary!).

Public Wings of the World shows will begin Saturday, December 17. Shows will take place at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on weekends and 2 p.m. on weekdays. 

This project was made possible by the 2012 Quality of Life Bond, through which the El Paso Zoo was approved for $50 million to complete a 10-year master plan that will allow the Zoo to continue to be an engaging place of discovery, a respected center for informal environmental education, a contributor to stewardship-based conservation action – and a destination for great fun!

El PASO, Texas – Today, the El Paso City Council approved two donations totaling nearly $900,000 from the El Paso Zoological Society.

The first donation, part of a two million dollar gift from Paul Foster, will be used to purchase a Point of Sale (POS) system for the Zoo. This system will allow guests to purchase admission tickets online, RSVP for Zoo events, and reserve spots at scheduled zoo events.

“This system will make a big difference for Zoo guests,” said Executive Director of the El Paso Zoological Society Renee Neuert. “It will be a great way for families to be able to plan ahead and skip the lines!”

The second donation, $800,000 from the Hunt Family Foundation, will be used to purchase a 36-foot carousel and shade structure. The carousel will feature a wide variety of endangered species, including: lions, tigers, elephants, zebras, giraffes, gorillas, red pandas, sea otters, and even a triceratops. The carousel will also feature a bird’s nest spinning tub and a wheelchair-accessible swan chariot.

The endangered species carousel, built by Chance Rides, will be located inside the new Asia entrance, a project funded by the 2012 Quality of Life bonds. The entrance will feature a Southeast Asia Gateway, themed landscaping and lighting, and a shaded seating area around the carousel. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2017.

“The new carousel is an important part of our 10-year master plan and will be a wonderful addition to our Zoo,” said Director of the El Paso Zoo Steve Marshall. “We greatly appreciate the support of the El Paso Zoological Society and the generous donors.”

With the approval from City Council, the El Paso Zoological Society will now move forward with both projects, purchasing the POS system and putting a deposit on the carousel in early December.

“We are very thankful for the generous support of community leaders like Paul Foster and the Hunt Family who believe that building a great Zoo is building economic development for our City,” said Neuert. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Zoological Society to once again support our El Paso Zoo.”