The H-snake, one of our most secretive neighbors

by Rick LoBello, Education Curator Very little is known about the Trans-Pecos rat snake, another rare species found here in the Chihuahuan Desert.   It is often called the “H snake” because of the h-like pattern along the entire body of the snake.   This snake lives in dry, rocky terrain dominated by desert plants like mesquite,…

A most incredible flower

by Rick LoBello, Education Curator I first came to know what today I believe is the most beautiful and incredible flower of the Chihuahuan Desert, when I worked in Big Bend National Park as a park ranger.   Just days after I arrived, right outside the front door to the Panther Junction Visitor Center, was a…

Conservation Spotlight: Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme

The El Paso Zoo is supporting conservation efforts around the world The Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme would not be possible without the support and commitment of donors, collaborators and partners. A recent donation from the El Paso Zoo is a valuable contribution and will cover all expenses for a complete health assessment of one…

Only about 100 survive in the wild!

In 2012 the El Paso Zoo joined a small group of zoos in North America working to help save the critically endangered peninsular pronghorn (Antilocapra americana  peninsularis), a subspecies of the only American antelope.  About 100 remain in the wild and not long ago the El Paso Zoo was holding 25% of the zoo population….

Meet Fido, our rhinoceros iguana

Our keepers love taking care of our rhinoceros iguana.  In a way he acts like a friendly dog, thus the name Fido, a common name for a dog.  When they approach to pick him up and move him outside for some important sunshine, he picks up his head, stands up high and raises his tail…

Is it a pig or an anteater? No, it’s a tapir!

by Rick LoBello, Education Curator When visitors walking through the Asia area of the Zoo see our tapirs for the first time, they can sometimes be heard making comments like “Is it a pig?  No it’s an anteater”.  These large cow-sized animals weighing up to 800 pounds are actually more related to horses and rhinos…

Celebrate giraffes

Giraffe populations are dwindling and they are currently being considered for ‘endangered’ status. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has taken a major step towards protecting giraffes under the Endangered Species Act saying that their protection by the law may be warranted after conservation groups petitioned for their inclusion. Last year the International Union for the Protection of…

Celebrate giraffe day on June 21

The El Paso Zoo is actively supporting giraffe conservation efforts in Africa.  Giraffe populations are dwindling and they are currently being considered for ‘endangered’ status. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has taken a major step towards protecting giraffes under the Endangered Species Act saying that their protection by the law may be warranted after conservation groups petitioned…

Fewer than 3,900 tigers remain in the wild

By Rick LoBello, Education Curator Here in El Paso we are very fortunate to have living within our city a very important wildlife ambassador, a critically endangered Malayan tiger.  Most of us know very little about these amazing animals, yet alone give them much thought. But when you visit the El Paso Zoo all it…

Bolson tortoises are found only in the Chihuahuan Desert

By Rick LoBello, Education Curator Critically endangered bolson tortoises live in two locations at the Zoo, in the grassland area of the new Chihuahuan Desert exhibit where they live with our peninsular pronghorns and javelinas, and across from the entrance to the El Paso Water Discovery Education Center. The bolson tortoise is an endemic species…

Three species of fox live in our area

by Rick LoBello, Education Curator Rarely seen by even the most avid desert hikers, three species of fox live in the Chihuahuan Desert, the gray fox, swift fox and kit fox. The larger gray fox is more commonly seen within city limits.   Watch for them at dawn, dusk and at night, but good luck in…

Who cooks for who?

By Rick LoBello, Education Curator If you have ever taken the time to learn bird calls, one of the things you learn right away is how some calls are easier to remember if you can compare the call or song to a word phrase.   For example, one of the first bird calls I learned here…

The truth about bats

By Grethel Capistrán There are a lot of myths about bats and I have heard so many. For instance, many believe that bats become vampires at midnight, attack people for their blood, all transmit rabies and that guano is extremely dangerous. Lately, bats have suffered a lot of backlash because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but…

Our Franklin Mountains are rich in biodiversity

by Rick LoBello, Education Curator Everyone of us living on the planet needs biodiversity and ecosystem services to function. Biodiversity provides the world’s supply of oxygen, clean air and water, pollination of plants, pest control, wastewater treatment and many other ecosystem services. As a result we need to be informed and inspired to protect wild…

Wildlife from the Congo River Basin: Red River hogs

Most of the animals in the African area of the Zoo are from the grassland savanna of the Kalahari Desert.  Our Red River hogs are an exception, they are from the Congo River Basin, the second largest rainforest in the world.   In the wild they live in the same forests with some of Africa’s most…

Seen any horned lizards lately?

By Rick LoBello, Education Curator Most children growing up in El Paso have never seen one and for those older folks, many remember the days when horned lizards, commonly called horned toads, were much more common than they are today.  I have always been fascinated by these dinosaur-like little creatures.  Whenever I see one I…

What do you want to know about the Zoo?

Ever since the Zoo closed almost three months ago, the Zoo Education and Marketing teams have been posting all kinds of information and stories about our animals and conservation programs on social media and our conservation education blog at elpasozoo.home.blog.   On our blog this week we are planning stories about our Red River hogs, horned…

Watch this Vaquita documentary

by Rick LoBello, Education Curator As we go about our daily lives during this challenging time, a days drive from El Paso a beautiful marine mammal and one of the world’s smallest porpoises, the Vaquita, is going extinct. As a matter of fact it may already be extinct, no one knows for sure if there…

Zoo conservation programs in the Chihuahuan Desert

One of the most important things the El Paso Zoo wants you to know is how we are actively involved in saving endangered species not just in far away places like Indonesia and Africa, but right here in our backyard.   Many of the projects we have been working on for years benefit animals in our…