New @ The Zoo
Meet The Animals
You can help save nature here in Texas and all over the world! Here are just a few ways to do your part. By making the conservation of natural resources a habit, and not an effort, they will become part of your daily routine. A few small actions in our everyday activities can make a difference.
Far from large cities, villagers create works of art while balancing their traditional way of living. These communities are the closest neighbors to some of the world’s most precious wildlife.
By purchasing these unique lines of quality crafts in our gift shop and online, you enable local artisans to make a living outside wildlife parks, strengthen their communities and help preserve fragile endangered species’ habitats.
There are more than 250 million cell phone users in the United States alone, and average lifespan of a cell phone is 18 months. Recycling your phone at the Zoo today will not only ensure it is reused or properly disposed of, but proceeds from this process will benefit our wildlife conservation efforts.
To recycle your phone, drop it in a bin located near our main gift shop. We also recycle batteries and chargers here. Or, send it via mail:
Houston Zoo, Inc.
Attn: Cell Phone Recycle
Houston, TX 77030
If your business or corporation would like to participate in the program, contact the conservation department at firstname.lastname@example.org
The choices you make with food and other household products matter every day – using non-certified palm oil products can have a severe effect on wildlife and its habitat.
Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the oil palm tree that originates in the tropics of western Africa –it is also responsible for loss and fragmentation of habitat in Malaysia and Indonesia, home to tigers, elephants, rhinos, and hundreds of other species.
Your decisions can make a difference. Here’s how you can help:
• Be a Responsible Consumer: Use products from companies who are part of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
• Write to your favorite companies and restaurants and ask them to make the switch to sustainable palm oil or a suitable replacement. Companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Unilever, Colgate, Nestle and even McDonald’s have all joined the RSPO due to consumer concerns.
• Support the Zoo’s wildlife conservation programs in Borneo where we work with partners to protect the habitat of orangutans, elephants, and many other species.
• Learn more about our Pongos Helping Pongos events at the Houston Zoo, located on this webpage
We strive to provide ways for our staff and guests to join us in efforts to conserve our world for generations to come. Here are some of our green initiatives at the Zoo:
Recycling: Look out for recycle bins when you are at the Zoo,
and use them! In the last 2 years, over 90 tons of recycling has been collected – that’s equal to 30 female adult Asian elephants! We
also recycle or reuse all vinyl banners we printed for events and
Solar Power: The Zoo and Green Mountain Energy Company have partnered to create the Zoo’s first solar powered animal exhibit for our African lions! We are also proud to join hands with NRG Energy and Reliant Energy to bring solar powered carts onto Zoo grounds.
Horticulture: Our horticulture team composts green waste, uses only organic products as fertilizers, treats every plant in the Zoo with compost tea, and uses high-quality compost and mulch to promote soil biology. We are also working to eradicate invasive species from our grounds and reduce the amount of turf (grass) to reduce the amount we have to mow.
Water: The redesign of Duck Lake, originally created in the 1950s, has helped us save thousands of gallons every day! Our greenhouse also is designated as a cistern to collect rain water for watering plants.
Animal Enrichment: Animal departments at the Zoo find new uses for household items by making toys for the animals, also known as enrichment. These recycled items include cardboard boxes, shredded newspaper, stuffed animals, clothing, carpet remnants, tires, and more. Learn more about enrichment
Green Communication: If you’re a member, let’s be green together – pledge to go paperless! Receive all your communication by email so we can save both paper and postage. Go Paperless
Eating Green: Any food you buy at the Zoo is provided by Sodexo, the Houston Zoo’s outside catering company. Their farm-to-market program incorporates local produce, seasonal menus, and naturally-fed, antibiotic-free, free-range chicken products. Plates are 100% compostable and made with recycled materials, and napkin dispensers reduce napkin usage by as much as 30%. In addition, purchase a souvenir cup and bring it back anytime for a refill at a discounted price!
Staff Conservation Fund: This fund began in 2004 as a way for staff to become more involved in supporting conservation initiatives. This unique program allows Zoo employees to donate a portion of their wages to conservation efforts created by fellow Zoo staff. Recently funded projects include graphics for sea lion marine debris, native bee conservation, and even participation in clouded leopard field research.
Each year in March, orangutans at the Houston Zoo and their keepers work together to put on a chic art event for the Houston community that raises over $25,000 to help orangutans in the wild. The evening features over 40 individual paintings done primarily by orangutans, but also by elephants, siamangs, babirusa, clouded leopards, and even a binturong! Each painting is professionally framed and is accompanied by conservation information and an animal artist biography.
In addition to the funds raised to protect orangutans, it provides animals at the Zoo with an outlet to express their intelligence, personalities, and abilities. We also aspire to engage the local community, creating a deeper appreciation for the lives of all animals and inspiring a greater concern for their well being.
No matter where you live, or how big or small your backyard is, you can set up areas of it to help out local wildlife.
Step 1: Make a list of the species that currently live in your backyard, including animals and plants, noting the time of day, season, and temperature – what you see will vary depending on these factors!
Step 2: Take pictures of your existing backyard before you make any improvements.
Step 3: Think about the basic things that wildlife needs to survive (food, water, shelter, and poison-free areas). For areas that are lacking in your backyard, figure out what you can add to help wildlife (e.g. planting trees, adding water features, birdhouses, feeders).
Step 4: Pick a day to plant and install all the elements you chose. Take pictures of your newly spruced up area and compare with the “before” pictures.
Step 5: Become familiar with some of the new species that might be coming to your backyard by looking through field guides. Each week, record the animals you see through photos or descriptions as your habitat grows.
You can help wildlife in all sorts of unexpected ways – at the office, while shopping, while you travel, and believe it or not…in your car. Here are some tips to help you
At the office: start an office recycling program, use scrap paper for notes, print or copy on both sides of the paper, use the stairs instead of the elevator, use smaller paper for smaller memos, use mugs rather than paper cups
While shopping: choose products that have recyclable containers (not styrofoam if there’s an alternative), don’t buy disposable items (if you must, buy paper rather than plastic or styrofoam), read labels and buy the least toxic product available
In your car: carpool, use public transit if you can, ride your bike or walk, buy a more gas efficient car, keep your car tuned up, park your car at fast food places and walk inside to keep your car from idling, recycle your old tires
While traveling: turn down the heat and turn off the water before you leave home, hang your towels on the rack for reuse, ask your airline to recycle newspaper, cans, and bottles