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Saving Gorillas and Wildlife

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Our 7th annual Conservation Gala was the most successful to date: guests helped raise over $615,000 for the protection of gorillas and other animals in the wild!  Jack Hanna shared his passion for wildlife, related his experiences with gorillas in the wild, and enthusiastically praised our upcoming gorilla exhibit.

The funds Gala guests raised will save gorillas in the wild by providing:

• Vital medical supplies to treat sick and injured eastern lowland and mountain gorillas
• Equipment for 3 staff members who track and monitor gorillas
• Motorbikes to transport sick or injured local community members to receive medical care
• Support for community projects that educate local communities about living with gorillas
• Support for rescuing and caring for orphaned gorillas
• Medical treatments for ill or injured gorillas
• Support to build an educational trail around rehabilitating gorillas in Central Africa so local school children can see their wildlife
• Vehicles for gorilla rescues

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Thank you to all of our Zoo friends and supporters for helping to make this year’s Gala such an incredible success. With your help the Houston Zoo has been able to continue wildlife saving efforts and bring them to a forefront in our Houston community.

If you still want a chance to help our animals in the wild or would like to provide that option as a holiday gift to your friends or family, you can donate to Houston Zoo conservation efforts.

Donate now to help animals in the wild:

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Wipe for Wildlife

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When you visit the Houston Zoo, did you know that you’re helping save wildlife just by using the toilet?!

It may seem like an odd place to be protecting your natural environment, but at every bathroom stall in the zoo we now have toilet paper made from recycled products…and we assure you it is just as plush.

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The Houston Zoo is proud to exhibit some of the world’s most amazing animals. In addition to the excellent care we provide for our animals at the zoo, we are also committed to saving animals in the wild. Protecting wildlife populations can seem like a pretty daunting task, but we are firm believers that every single person can take action to save animals, whether those actions are big or small. They all make a difference.

One way our Houston Zoo staff, volunteers, and even you, our members, are helping to save animals is by wiping for wildlife! We only purchase toilet paper made from recycled paper for our staff and guest restrooms. Unfortunately, trees all over the world are being used to make paper products such as toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins. When trees are cut down to continue to make new products, animals that live in these forested areas lose their homes and food sources. Just by simply purchasing toilet paper made from recycled paper, you can wipe for wildlife and ensure that you are protecting animals like black bears, sloths and wombats from losing their homes!

So, join us in our wipe for wildlife campaign and visit our Scoop on Poop exhibit coming to the Brown Education Center December 20-March 29! You’ll find out more than you ever needed to know about animal poop and find out how you can help save animals in the wild by purchasing forest-friendly toilet paper and other paper products.


Travel with Us

Yellowstone Family Adventure July 8 – 13, 2015

The Houston Zoo is partnering with Teton Science Schools for a one-of-a-kind family adventure program in one of the world’s most beautiful and wildlife-abundant hotspots: the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone!

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This new travel program will allow families to enjoy the dramatic landscape and the abundant wildlife viewing opportunities of the area while participating in citizen science projects that contribute to saving animals in North America! Your participation supports the efforts of both Houston Zoo and Teton Science Schools – to educate, appreciate, respect and preserve the natural world.

We are excited to enhance our partnership with Teton Science Schools and involve more Texas families in actions that ensure our wildlife will be safe for years to come. This July 2015 trip will include amazing wildlife viewing as well as citizen science activities like bird banding and water quality monitoring.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Check out the full itinerary for this unique adventure and contact us at conservation@houstonzoo.org to sign up!

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Upcoming Events

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Joel Sartore at the Asia Society Texas Center
Sunday, February 8, 2015

See National Geographic Wildlife Photographer Joel Sartore speak at Houston’s Asia Society.

A friend to the Houston Zoo, Joel Sartore is actively engaged in using his wildlife photography to save species and highlight those that are endangered.

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More information about the event to come!

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If you’d like a collection of Joel’s images, his PhotoArk calendars are for sale at the Houston Zoo gift shop. Check out the PhotoArk to learn more about how Joel aims to let his work connect people with rare and endangered animals.

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What’s New

Hirola: Saving a Rare Antelope From Extinction

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Young Kenyan conservationist Abdullahi Ali grew up with wildlife in rural Kenya that he has seen steadily disappear.   At a young age he decided he wanted to save the wildlife around him and has now prepared himself to dedicate his life to the protection of the rarest antelope in the world, the hirola, numbering close to only 300 in the wild.

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With only 300 hirola remaining in the wild and none existing in zoos, the Houston Zoo has taken notice of this very worthy conservation effort.   History in species saving work has shown that local expertise and experience is the most valuable substance for any conservation effort to have a long lasting and effective impact.   We are providing Ali with the training and support he needs to lead this conservation effort to save the hirola from extinction.

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Orangutans: Helping Our Animals in the Zoo and in the Wild

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Zoos and Aquariums have changed dramatically since their beginning days, now centering on animals being ambassadors for their counterparts in the wild, rather than individual attractions for zoo visitors. As a community that cares for animals and people, the Houston Zoo is encouraging staff, visitors, and friends in the field to educate and be educated regarding global issues surrounding our wildlife.

This year, nationwide representatives of zoo staff gathered at the Houston Zoo’s Annual Orangutan Species Survival Plan to learn and share new information on orangutans as well as to delve deeper into how this species is affected in the wild by our consumer choices. Native to Malaysia and Indonesia, the orangutan is losing forest habitat due to plantations that yield efficient crops. These crops are used in many of our daily products, from ingredients in toothpaste to dog food. The Houston Zoo was able to bring in speakers directly involved in those plantations, from conservation organizations working amidst the deforestation to organizations trying to have a gentler approach towards their plantation expansions.

Having perspectives from people in different, and even traditionally competing, fields has been a first step in having distant entities work together in ensuring a future for our orangutans. In the larger picture, this meeting has set the stage for the Zoo community to interact more with the organizations that you get products from in the grocery store. Things like shampoo, energy bars, or even your cleaning products are all made with products that affect the wildlife community – so as a consumer you will see more organizations paying attention to protecting wildlife and wild places, especially if you do the same!

Want to join the Houston Zoo’s community in saving animals in the wild? Start coming to our events and help us start a global discussion.


Every time you visit the Zoo, you help save animals in the wild.

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If you have any questions about our programs and partners, or would like any additional information, email us at conservation@houstonzoo.org .