Kitchen Talk – Join the Zoo for Meatless Mondays

It’s time for some kitchen talk about climate change and its impact on our environment and what all of us can do to help.  Right before the Zoo closed in March we installed an interactive exhibit about Meatless Mondays in the Grasslands Café.    When we re-open check it out.   Something funny happens when you lift…

The ocotillo, easy to see and well adapted to the desert

Ocotillo is a common plant here in the Chihuahuan Desert. This blog post is courtesy of Big Bend National Park. The El Paso Zoo has been working with the staff of Big Bend for many years in advancing conservation on the border. Big Bend is home to many unusual plants. Many of them lie unnoticed…

A rat for your “backcountry bucket list”

Whoever heard of putting a rat on a bucket list?  There is a first for everything right, so mark it down that you read it here first.   You may not be a member of Southwest Naturalists or the The Mammals of Texas group on FaceBook, but no matter what your interest is in the wildlife…

Meerkats live in family groups

One of our more interesting animals in the Africa area of the Zoo are meerkats, living at the Kalahari Research Station across from the radiated tortoises and the Upper Savannah.  When our lions are sleeping and our painted dogs are resting in the shade, our meerkats can be pretty active in their little corner of…

The one bird I wish you could see

If there was one bird I wish you could see in the wild, it would be the Elf Owl, the smallest owl in the world.   The size of a sparrow weighing only 1.4 ounces and standing just 5 inches tall, it has a wingspan of only 9 inches!  When I worked at Big Bend National…

Conservation Highlight – Amur leopard conservation efforts in Russia

The Amur leopard is found only in Far East Russia and northeastern China. They inhabit coniferous and deciduous forests and prefer areas with vast vegetation, steep hills, rocky outcrops and aquatic areas.  Over the past twenty years five leopard cubs have been born at the Zoo to help with conservation education efforts. The Amur leopard…

The Zoo is a great place to learn about the land where we live

One of El Paso’s best kept secrets has been in the works and evolving completely on its own for thousands of years. Today, biologists call this unique eco-region the Chihuahuan Desert, an area of North America covering the surface of our planet for nearly 400,000 square miles. During the Pleistocene, not long after the last…

Conservation Highlight: Painted Dog Research Trust

Distant relatives of the wolf and the domestic dog, African painted dogs live in highly cooperative groups called packs.  Painted dogs rely on the collective hunting skills of their pack to survive and they are some of the most efficient mammal predators on the African continent.  The success rate of painted dogs hunting as a…

Our Nicobar Pigeon is related to the extinct Dodo

In the Asia Forest Exhibit at the Zoo living alongside endangered Bali Mynahs, Metallic Starlings and Rhinoceros Hornbills, we have a special Southeast Asian bird called the Nicobar Pigeon.  Nick, our 21-year old male has a special claim to fame; his kind is the closest living relative to the Dodo, a well-known flightless bird from…

Nature club needs volunteers

The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Club is a collaborative effort between the Zoo, local parks and the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition. The goal is simple, to help people connect with our desert and to encourage people to get outside and enjoy nature. Register as a member by liking us here – Nature Club on FaceBook. If you…

Tapanuli orangutan endangered by hydropower scheme

The Tapanuli orangutan survives today in less than 1,200 km2 of rainforest in northern Sumatra, Indonesia, in an area known as Batang Toru, where it was scientifically discovered in 1997. Teeming with endangered fauna and flora, the Batang Toru forest has been partially felled and fragmented and parts of the remainder allocated to agriculture, mining,…

Can we learn to share El Paso with burrowing owls?

Here in the Chihuahuan Desert life is not always what it seems. Take a hole that you find in the desert for example, ever wonder what creatures live inside? One day you decide to investigate and suddenly jump back when you hear the sound of a rattlesnake. But low and behold after a long period…

Elegant looking fruit-eaters, the lion-tailed macaque

The lion like features of this vanishing primate with its large ruff of golden gray fur surrounding an all-black face, make the lion-tailed macaque look very elegant.  These tree dwelling monkeys live in a very restricted range in the Western Ghat Mountains of southern India.   Of the 16 species of macaque, the lion-tailed is the…

Plants of the Chihuahuan Desert: creosote bush

The creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) is emblematic of the American southwest and Mexico, occurring in vast monospecific (one species) stands across thousands of square miles of the Chihuahuan, Sonoran, and Mojave Deserts. The Mexican common name for the plant is “gobernadora” and is sometimes referred to as chaparral in the US. Creosote bush is a…

Chihuahuan Desert Birds: Cave Swallows

As the audience awaits the rising curtain on the big bat flight show, vociferous Cave Swallows fly overhead in search of a final evening meal.  These dive-bombing acrobats must know that they will be forced out of the way by a barrage of Mexican free-tailed bats taking over their air space above the cave.  …

Ocelots in Texas need our help

Lindy is a 9-year-old female ocelot who was born at the Dallas Zoo, moved to El Paso and made headlines in 2019 she gave birth to four kittens.  Why the headlines?   First off ocelots in Texas are critically endangered and Lindy was artificially inseminated from semen samples that were collected and frozen in 2010!   The…

New walking tour will help you plan your next visit to the Zoo

The El Paso Zoo has launched a new walking tour that when the Zoo reopens will help guests learn more about our animals as they read the tour on their phone. While our country continues to react to all the challenges of the pandemic, we can’t say when the Zoo will reopen, but greatly appreciate…

Raccoon, monkey or coati?

Some say that coatis look like they are related to raccoons. Others say they resemble a monkey, perhaps because of how they walk with their tails up in the air like a spider monkey.  Coatis are actually in the racoon family and there are three major species.  At the El Paso Zoo we have the…

The El Paso Zoo is helping to save endangered species

Over the past 12 years the El Paso Zoo has been working to increase its conservation impact in support of field conservation projects.  Funds raised by the El Paso Zoological Society combined with round up revenues at Service Systems and Associates gift shops and restaurants, have helped us to support projects to save endangered species…