Celebrating National Zoo Month

with Conservation Partners

by Faith Humphreys

Houston Zoo

Tag Archive: zoo

  1. Celebrating National Zoo Month with Conservation Partners

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    When people who have never been to Texas think of what it might look like, they probably picture wide open spaces, dusty cowboys, huge herds of cattle, and pitch-black night skies. While some Texans do live Hollywood’s depiction of the Lone Star lifestyle, the reality is that more than two-thirds of Texans live in the four largest metro areas: Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.

    Most Texans are actually urban or suburban residents who drive on interstates, not gravel roads. This increasing urbanization has led to significant declines in biodiversity due to loss of habitat. Of the 107 statewide species federally listed as threatened or endangered, 56 species are found in the 33 counties that make up the four largest metro areas.

    Enter zoos! Zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums aren’t just fun places to visit. They are also integral to wildlife conservation as they provide safe habitat, facilitate scholarly research, and educate the public on the value of native wildlife in our ecosystems.

    The Fort Worth Zoo, for example, is home to 68 endangered and threatened species on the state and federal levels. Remember that lion’s share of Texans who live in metro areas? They probably don’t see these species very often. The zoo provides them with the opportunity to experience these species up close and learn about them at the same time.

    If that wasn’t enough, many zoos don’t stop at education. Each year, the San Antonio Zoo contributes over $935,000 on average through direct funds and research grants to programs geared toward species population status, habitat preservation, and potential causes for declines. Additionally, the Dallas Zoo galvanizes the public in community engagement projects to monitor and protect local wildlife populations.

    In celebration of National Zoo Month, here are our fantastic zoo Conservation Partners!

    Staff from Dallas zoo holding arms out to hold a black vulture during a program demonstration. Photo: Dallas Zoo

    Black vulture demonstration. Photo: Dallas Zoo

    Dallas Zoo: Located three miles south of downtown Dallas, the 106-acre Dallas Zoo is the oldest and largest zoo in Texas. The Zoo is open 364 days a year and welcomes approximately one million guests yearly. As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums since 1985, the Zoo provides a home for more than 2,000 animals representing over 400 species. Dallas Zoo’s mission is to Engage People & Save Wildlife by offering opportunities to engage, explore and learn through the Zoo’s robust schedule of events, education programs, and conservation initiatives.

    Green sea turtle recovering post-surgery. Photo: Houston Zoo

    Green sea turtle recovering post-surgery. Photo: Houston Zoo

    Houston Zoo: The Houston Zoo houses over 6,000 animal residents representing nearly 1,000 species and supports 49 wildlife conservation projects in 27 countries around the world. Their mission is to connect communities with animals, inspiring action to save wildlife. They strive for this vision by welcoming over two million visitors annually, making the Houston Zoo the second-most visited zoo in the country. The Houston Zoo is committed to exemplary animal care, environmental education, and global wildlife conservation. The Houston Zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, contributing to population management and conservation programs for several endangered species, including Texas natives such as the Houston Toad and Attwater’s prairie chicken.

    Texas horned lizard hatchling. Photo: San Antonio Zoo

    Texas horned lizard hatchling. Photo: San Antonio Zoo

    San Antonio Zoo: San Antonio Zoo is a non-profit organization committed to securing a future for wildlife. Through its passion and expertise in animal care, conservation, and education, the zoo’s mission is to inspire its community to love, engage with, act for, and protect animals and the places they live. The zoo welcomes more than one million visitors each year and is open year-round. Its Center for Conservation and Research seeks to fulfill the zoo’s mission through a variety of approaches, including fieldwork and captive husbandry of rare and threatened species. Currently, one project is focused on restoring populations of the state reptile, the Texas horned lizard, by working with private landowners to introduce zoo-hatched lizards in areas where it has disappeared in recent decades.

    Texan by Nature’s vision is for every business and every Texan to participate in conservation and for Texas to be a model of collaborative conservation for the world.

    Zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums do incredible work for our native wildlife and beyond. With the growing urban and suburban population of Texas, they are becoming even more important to bridge the gap between people and wildlife. When you visit one of our zoo Conservation Partners, you not only have a great time, but you also provide them with resources for research and conservation efforts.

    Click the links above and plan your visit today!

  2. Ocelot Conservation Day

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    Join the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, and Defenders of Wildlife to celebrate Ocelot Conservation Day on Sunday, March 17th at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX!

    This event will include family-friendly activities, games, and exhibits. There will also be a series of talks from ocelot experts throughout the day from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gladys Porter Zoo, Defenders of Wildlife, American Forests, the East Foundation, and the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, and the University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley.

    A 5k/ 1 Mile Fun Run will be held on Saturday, March 16, pre-registration is required.

    American Forests, Defenders of Wildlife, the East Foundation, and the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute are Texan by Nature Conservation Partners.

    The event is free, but attendees must pay entry to the zoo to attend. The first 250 kids will receive free entry to the zoo thanks to support from Defenders of Wildlife!

  3. Homeschool Day

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    Join us for an exciting adventure as we trek across Texas biomes during Homeschool Day. Explore how our very own backyard mirrors four out of the five biomes found across the globe. From arid deserts to lush forests, uncover the fascinating ecosystems right here in Texas.

    $10 non-members FREE for members Children 2 and under are free Pre-registration is required. Registration fee includes discounted admission to the Zoo (for non-members) but does not include parking.

  4. Destination: Dinosaurs Presented by Reliant Opening

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    Uncover the secrets of the dinosaurs this summer at the Dallas Zoo! Wander among the shadows of over 100 life-sized colossal giants in one of the largest immersive dinosaur exhibits in the country. Experience almost 40 animatronic dinosaurs that move, make sound, and bring these incredible beasts to life! Open March 2- Sept. 30 daily, 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.