It’s time to make plans for the fall migration

Here in El Paso and a few hours away to the north, there are some great places to see migratory waterfowl, places like Rio Bosque Wetlands Park in the Lower Valley and Bosque del Apache in New Mexico.   At the Zoo you will see a number of ducks in the various pools in Africa and…

Botanical Garden Snapshot – Desert Willow

Desert WillowChilopsis linearisCommon small desert tree. Some plants can grow up to 30 feet tall. Habitat: Arid grassland/desert scrub. At the El Paso Zoo: Along the pathway in the Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit.  Desert willow responds to heavy rains 2-3 times each year with pink flower clusters.  The Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition recommends it as a…

Zoo Snapshot – Addax

AddaxAddax nasomaculatus Critically Endangered:  fewer than 100 in the wild Male addax average in weight at 210 pounds and are 41 to 45 inches at the shoulder. Habitat: Deserts, native to Chad and Niger in North Africa. At the El Paso Zoo: Upper Savannah in Africa  A recent decline of the population in the wild…

How are we doing on climate change?

Climate change may be the single greatest threat to the survival of not only millions of plant and animal species, but to humanity as well.  All around the world the state of the environment is growing increasingly bad.  This week scientists are gathering for a Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources Convention. According to one…

Consumer impact on the environment

by Pam Agullo As Mrs. Texas Earth, I am delighted to formally introduce myself as the El Paso Zoological Society Board President for the upcoming 2 year term. My driving passion is working in animal conservation, habitat preservation and it’s relationship to the ongoing climate crisis. For the past four years, I have collaborated with the…

The mysterious ring-tailed cat

I’m sure that many of you will recall the fictional “Cheshire Cat” in the “Alice and Wonderland” adventures made popular by Lewis Carroll and later, by Walt Disney Productions.  Naturally, that particular cat became very popular in the world of fiction and film production. However, there are a number of other cats just as mysterious…

Botanical Garden Snapshot – Apache Plume

Apache PlumeFallugia paradoxaCommon desert shrub Some plants can grow up to 6 feet tall. Habitat: Arid grassland/desert scrub and dry woodlands. At the El Paso Zoo: Along the pathway in the Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit.  Apache plume was named for its seed pod clusters which resemble the headdress of an Apache Chief.  Native Americans of the…

Seen any cuckoos lately?

Did you know that we have cuckoos living in El Paso?   The answer is yes and most of them can run very fast up to 20mph.  They can fly, but normally not very high, preferring to glide from a high spot.   Most of you probably guessed right, we’re talking about the Greater Roadrunner, the State…

Zoo Snapshot – Przewalski’s Horse

Przewalski’s HorseEquus ferus Endangered:  Numbers are increasing in the wild – 178 (IUCN, 10.9, 2014) Adult horses weigh between 550 to 850 pounds and are 48 to 58 inches tall at the shoulder. Habitat: Grasslands and Deserts. At the El Paso Zoo: On the left adjacent to the Grasslands Café in Asia  Back from the…

Meet Tina, an Amazon Parrot

The Panama Amazon Parrot, also known as the Panama Yellow-headed Amazon, is a subspecies of the Yellow-crowned Amazon, and is endemic to Panama and northwest Colombia. Tina is 35 years old and is one of El Paso’s ambassadors for rainforest conservation. To meet Tina and have an informal chat about the Zoo sign up for…

For the love of elephants

No doubt because they are so big and fascinating to look at, and have been a favorite at the Zoo for almost 70 years, I would say that everyone in El Paso working at the Zoo and visiting the Zoo would rank our elephants as one of their favorites. In earlier blogs I have told…

Conservation on the border

One of the crown jewels of America’s national park system, Big Bend National Park along the Mexican border in Texas, just turned 76 years old on June 12th.   For three quarters of a century, the National Park Service has preserved America’s best example of the Chihuahuan Desert.   More than 463,832 visitors travel to this remote…

The truth about Gila monsters

The largest lizard in North America has a largely undeserved reputation of being a very scary creature.   It is true that Gila monsters are one of only two venomous lizard species in North America. But are they scary and should you be worried when hiking in Gila monster country?   I would say definitely no.   Most…

Have you seen any flying clowns lately?

Not every city in the United States can say that they have flying clowns.   But if you look closely and put in a little effort, you may be able to find an Acorn Woodpecker, also called the clown-faced woodpecker because of all the colorful markings on its face.  There are twenty-five species of woodpeckers living…

Meet one of the desert’s rarest inhabitants, the mud turtle

By Jennifer Smith The Rough-footed mud turtle (Kinosternon hirtipes), also called the Chihuahuan Desert mud turtle or Big Bend mud turtle, lives in a very remote area of the Chihuahuan Desert in far west Texas in Presidio County. This is the only known place in the United States that they reside. They are extremely rare,…

Remembering the last grizzly bear in Texas

When I travel through the various mountain ranges of the western U.S. I often think about grizzly bears.   When I worked at Yellowstone National Park there were grizzly bears living all around us and when I was a zookeeper at the Buffalo Zoo I would visit our grizzly bears every morning before the zoo opened…

Beavers live in El Paso!

Not everyone you talk to in El Paso goes fishing in the Rio Grande or pays much attention to native wildlife living in our irrigation canals.   As a result few of us have ever seen an American beaver in El Paso.   When I started talking about a beaver that a friend of mine found dead…

Sharing the earth with nature and surviving pandemics

When we build new streets and neighborhoods and new business areas, why can’t we find better ways to save more of the habitat being destroyed so that native plants and wildlife still have a chance of surviving? More people need to care about what is happening to desert animals like mule deer, roadrunners, rock squirrels,…