Help Save Our Coastal Prairies!

Did you know? The Coastal Prairies of Texas and Louisiana are more endangered than the arctic or tropical rainforest? This vast grassland once covered most of Houston and the Gulf coast between Corpus Christi, TX and Lafayette, LA.; making it larger than 8 U.S. states. Today, it mostly exists in scattered pieces which make up a tiny fraction of its historical distribution. The coastal prairies are important habitat for a variety of Texas wildlife such as many different species of invertebrates (including dragon flies and butterflies), mammals (such as the jack rabbit), birds (such as the critically endangered Attwater’s Prairie Chicken), and numerous amphibians & reptiles. If we are to save what’s left of these prairies we need your help!

 I went out last Saturday for a seed collecting trip with the Education Manager of the Katy Prairie Conservancy and a group of Texas Master Naturalists. We were at a 200 acre University of Houston property which has become recognized for its pristine coastal prairie. I have never seen anything like this prairie remnant, the biodiversity of plants and invertebrates was truly inspiring, it is one of few remaining virgin prairie sites in Texas. We were collecting seeds that will eventually be grown out by volunteers and planted in Hermann Park and the Children’s Zoo at the Houston Zoo starting in the Spring of 2010 to bring much need attention to the public about our silently vanishing prairies.

 CALLING ALL GREEN THUMBS!!! The Houston Zoo is partnering with the Coastal Prairie Partnership to be a part of a public education effort to raise awareness about our native coastal prairies. We hope to use our staff, volunteer and Zoo patrons to help grow out prairie plants from seeds over the winter. If you are interested in learning more about this new partnership or finding out how you can help volunteer and learn to grow out seeds over the winter months for this worthy cause, please contact Rachel Rommel  so we can get you on the information distribution list.

The Coastal Prairie Partnership (CPP) is a new group that seeks to forge connections between members of the prairie community and bring information regarding the Coastal Prairie to the attention of key decision-makers and the general public.

To become a FREE member of the Coastal Prairie Partnership or locate a prairie near you click here!


Behind the Scenes: Enrichment

Now for the fun part – every day the cheetahs get some sort of enrichment and today its bones! Bones are not only entertaining for the cheetahs but are also good for their teeth since their regular diet is ground meat.

The bones are kept in a freezer at the lion building so Kevin and I have to head across the zoo to get them. 

Since the cheetahs are already outside, we just toss the bones over the fence to them. This will keep them busy for a while.

cheetahs with their bones
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