Join us for Save a Turtle Saturday-March 1st!

There is no shortage of events here at the Houston Zoo and we are gearing up to talk all about turtles on Saturday, March 1st from 8:00am to noon. Join us for this special event on Zoo grounds highlighting turtles and tortoises, big to small, and learn how you can help save these awesome reptiles in the wild! You could even win a chance to visit the sea turtle barn in Galveston or a Zoo Family Membership!!

Save a Turtle Saturday Schedule of Events:

8:00-9:00am: Special Members Morning at the Aquarium! Join us in the front plaza for a special Q&A session with the Zoo’s head Vet and Sea Turtle expert, Dr. Joe Flanagan. Learn about his unique experiences working with sea turtles and then tour our aquarium with our expert staff! You’ll even find out ALL  about the green sea turtle we are rehabilitating in our Kipp Aquarium! Not a member? Sign-up now and join us for this event!

Find out how Dr. Joe Flanagan has saved sea turtles on the Texas Coast during a special Q&A at the Members Morning on March 1st!
Find out how Dr. Joe Flanagan has saved sea turtles on the Texas Coast during a special Q&A at the Members Morning on March 1st!

The following activities are free with your regular zoo admission:

9:00am- Sea Turtle keeper chat in the aquarium & feeding

9:00am– Special turtle visit on Werler Lawn!

9:00am-12:00pm On-going activities and information in the following areas:

  • Werler Lawn: Turtle crafts, educational games, and a visit by our turtle mascot!
  • Reptile House: Meet some non-native turtles, find out how they are doing in the wild and what you can do to help!
  • Swap Shop: Bring any item involving turtles or how plastic pollution affects them to the Naturally Wild Swap Shop and receive double points!! This includes: turtle shells, scutes, bones or scales, journals on turtles or tortoises and journals on how plastic pollution affects turtles.
  • Butterfly Pavilion: Learn all about turtles at our Story time, Zooper Challenge and animal encounters at the Butterfly Pavilion!
  • Wortham World of Primates: Did you know that we have turtles in the Wortham World of Primates? Find out about these awesome reptiles who reside with our lemurs and orangutans!
  • Aquarium: Check out the wild sea turtle on exhibit who has been rehabilitated by Houston Zoo staff. Learn about how eating the right seafood can save sea turtles, and take a pledge to use less plastic!
  • Front Plaza: Talk with a member of our Veterinary Staff and hear what it’s like to treat sick and injured sea turtles who are brought to the zoo’s clinic to be seen by our expert vet staff.

The Front Plaza will also feature our raffle-enter and you could possibly win a chance to visit the sea turtle barn in Galveston or a free family Zoo membership! Learn about the dangers to sea turtles in the wild, what is being done to help them, see a Turtle Excluder Device up-close and personal, purchase an Adopt-a-Sea-Turtle package to contribute to conservation efforts and buy a sea turtle bracelet and/or poster to take home as a reminder of how you contributed to save turtles in the wild!

10:00am-Turtle Story time at Butterfly Pavilion

10:30am-Live turtle encounter at the Butterfly Pavilion

10:30am-Turtle Keeper Chat in the Reptile House

11:00am-Turtle Story time at Butterfly Pavilion

12:00pm-Turtle Related Zooper Challenge at the Butterfly Pavilion

Check out the Malaysian Giant Pond Turtles in our Orangutan exhibit moat!
Check out the Malaysian Giant Pond Turtles in our Orangutan exhibit moat!

Saving Lions is Elementary for Lyons Elementary

This post written by Angie Pyle.

Lions have always been a symbol of strength and power.  The truth is lions in the wild are not doing well. Lions have lost over 80% of their original range and we have seen 30% decline in lion populations throughout Africa in the past 2 decades.  Today there are only an estimated 35,000 African Lions left in the wild.  The only threat lion’s face in the wild are people.  As the human population increases, the conflicts between humans and lions increase. The good news is that there are several lion conservation projects throughout Africa researching, collecting data, educating local communities, and providing alternative solutions to human lion conflicts, and protecting the remaining lion populations.  The Houston Zoo partners with the Niassa Lion Project, which works in the Niassa Reserve in Northern Mozambique.  The Niassa Reserve has been listed as one of the strongholds or healthy lion populations left in Africa.

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How does the community of Houston, Texas help save the African lion?  The best thing we can do as individuals is learn more about lion conservation, and spread the word.  The more people that are aware of the drastic decline in African lions, the more attention and contributions the groups trying to save them will receive.  Awareness brings action.  Several years ago, a local teacher by the name of Donna Fletcher approached the Zoo with a check for over $1000.  Mrs. Fletcher came up with the “cash for cats” campaign where elementary school children learned about various cat conservation projects and then brought in their spare change to donate to the Zoo to save cats in the wild.  This partnership is still going strong, and has expanded to another local elementary school, Lyons Elementary.

The Lyons Elementary School’s mascot is the Lion, so it only makes sense for them to help save them in the wild.  Not only do the children of Lyons learn about conservation, wildlife and other cultures, but they learn to take action for something they believe in.  Carnivore staff members visited the school to give a presentation on the Zoo’s role in conservation as well as a presentation on the African Lion.   The Zoo actively participates in the Lyons Elementary Science night program as well.   The children of Lyons Elementary, grades pre-k through 5th, raised $3722.25 in two weeks to help save lions in the wild!  The classroom that raised the most amount of money will be coming to the Zoo for a special “Lion Fun Day” of their own in April.  The students will get to create crafts, play conservation games, and most importantly meet the pride of lions that live at the Houston Zoo. Through community partnerships like this children can see the impact a school can have on the future for wildlife. We cannot thank Lyons enough for this incredible contribution and dedication to save wild lions.

Wheel-barrel-of-money
The wheelbarrow of money we received from Lyon’s Elementary!

Principal, Cecilia Gonzales, has been supportive of the partnership from the beginning and is no doubt beaming with pride for what her students were able to accomplish for the Niassa Lion Project.  Teacher, Sarah Izquierdo, has driven the “love your lions” campaign at Lyons Elementary, and is a great example of enthusiasm, and commitment for her students.

 

Stay tuned for an update on Lyons Elementary students “Lion Fun Day” at the Houston Zoo in April.

To learn more about the Niassa Lion Project please visit the Houston Zoo website.

We’re Not Just Toad Keepers, We’re Matchmakers!

The Houston toad team spends countless hours performing the traditional tasks associated with caring for animals.  These tasks includes the cleaning, feeding, medical treatments of the Houston toads, as well as  water quality testing, care of the invertebrate cultures, and the general maintenance of the toad facility. However, did you know that the team is also responsible for being toad “match-makers” during the breeding season? Yup, that’s right. Not only are we handy with pH testing strips and power drills, we can also provide professional dating recommendations to Houston toads (now try writing that up on YOUR résumé!)

toad blog feb

Like many other endangered species, the breeding of Houston toads is managed a Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a document produced by the Association of Zoo and Aquarium’s Population Management Center. The SSP takes into consideration the known genetics of a group of animals and makes recommendations as to who the animals should be paired with.  With these guidelines in hand, the Houston toad team evaluates each individual toad from a group of toads approved for breeding, and assesses their health and size. Breeding pairs (or triplets, often one female and two males) are then grouped accordingly. This year we evaluated and paired over 170 individual toads!

toad blog feb 2

Breeding Houston toads is not as easy as placing a male and female toad together. In fact, it is very difficult (but not impossible) to encourage natural breeding captive environments. Here in the toad facility, we use a hormone assisted breeding protocol to ensure successful breeding in our Houston toads. This protocol takes place over the course of several days, and requires a concerted effort between the Houston toad team and the zoo’s veterinary staff.

It would be impossible to breed all 170 toads at one time, so this spring we are staggering the breeding attempts over the course of two months and setting up 6-8 breeding pairs a week. We are happy to announce that our first round of breeding (that ironically began on Valentine’s Day) was a huge success! Out of the 8 total pairings set up, we produced 7 strands which totaled around 27,000 eggs!

So now that our matchmaking efforts were a success, what’s next? Stay tuned to the next blog post to find out what we are doing with all those toad eggs!

~18,989 Houstonians Helping to Save Gorillas and Chimpanzees!

We are up to 36 local Houston schools and organizations who are recycling cell phones to help save gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild! These 36 groups have an estimated 18,989 people participating to save apes in the wild!

Are you interested in participating in the 2014 Action for Apes Challenge? It’s easy and fun, and you get to save animals while you do it! Just check out our website to register your group.

Gorillas

Thank you to the following groups who are joining the Houston Zoo to help save animals in the wild through our Action for Apes Challenge:

Aldine 9th Grade School
APES classes at  Jersey Village High School
Berry Elementary
Bruce Elementary
Calder Road Elementary
CLHS Roots & Shoots Club
Cy-Fair High School
Cypress Falls High School
Dabbs Elementary
De Zavala Elementary
Dickinson High School
Durham Elementary: Young Leaders in Action and Top Dogs Organization
Girl Scout Troop 9457
Hall Elementary
Hildebrandt Intermediate School
Hoffman Middle School
Holbrook Elementary
James DeAnda Elementary School
Jennie Reid Elementary
John and Shamarion Barber Middle School
KIPP ZENITH Academy
Lake Jackson Intermediate
Liestman Elementary
Lockhart Elementary School
Pack 76
Parkwood Elementary School
Robinson Elementary
Smith Middle School
Sneed Elementary
Stanley Elementary
Stovall Middle School
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and School
University of St. Thomas Tri-Beta Biology Honor Society
Walt Disney Elementary
W.C. Cunningham Middle school
Whole Foods Market Kirby

 

 

Save a Turtle Saturday in the Naturally Wild Swap Shop

Saturday, March 1, the Houston Zoo will be celebrating Save a Turtle Saturday!   The Naturally Wild Swap Shop will be participating along with the other activities going on though out the zoo.

Geometric Tortoise
Geometric Tortoise

On Save a Turtle Saturday, any item involving turtles or how plastic pollution affects them will receive double points.

That includes:
– Turtle shells, scutes, bones or scales.
– Journals on turtles or tortoises
– Journals on how plastic pollution affects turtles

There are many species of turtles and tortoises in the world and several of them are threatened or endangered.  The

IUCN Red List of Endangered Species includes turtles and tortoises that rank from threatened to no longer present

Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle
Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle

in the wild.  This list is long, but includes amazing species such as the Central American River Turtle, Geometric Tortoise, Madagascar Big-headed Turtle and ALL six species of sea turtles found in the United States. 

One of the biggest hazards to sea turtles is plastic pollution.  Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and other marine mammals die each year from ocean pollution such as ingestion or entanglement in marine debris.  Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and ingest them, leading to blockage and eventual death.  Marine debris, including items such as these plastic bags, plastic drink rings and other items, are a huge threat to our marine life.

Don’t know about the Swap Shop?  Click here for more information.

Save A Turtle Saturday!

Save a Turtle Saturday
March 1, 2014 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Big headed turtle 3

On Saturday, March 1,  the  Zoo will host a special event called Save a Turtle Saturday. Guests will be able to learn how the Houston Zoo works to save turtles around the world, and find out how people can make a difference to their own local turtles. This event begins at 8 a.m. during Member Morning, as the Zoo opens an hour early for members. This Member Morning features the Aquarium which will showcase its green sea turtle. Members will be able to enjoy a special visit from Dr. Joe Flanagan as he answers questions and discusses his extensive experience working with sea turtles.

© Houston Zoo/Stephanie AdamsSave a Turtle Saturday focuses on the threats and dangers facing marine and land-based turtles around the world. During Save a Turtle Saturday, guests and children can participate in a variety of games, enjoy turtle story time, and visit the Swap Shop which will offer double points on all turtle-related items.

Talk turtles with Zoo staff from our herpetology, aquarium, and primate departments, all areas that host these incredible creatures. All activities are free with Zoo admission.

 

From Orangutans to Chuckwallas: Elderly Animals at the Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo has seen quite a number of animal births lately, and as a result there are quite a few adorable baby animals! Baby elephant Duncan, baby giraffe Baridi, and even a baby whitespotted bamboo shark have been born recently. As we mentioned in our last blog, babies are cute – but there are some great stories to tell about animals that are older too!

There are three elderly primates in particular that have very special stories. Cheyenne, a 41-year female orangutan, can’t have children, but she has taken on the role of adoptive mother for four – count them four – orangutan kids. Aurora, her most recent adopted baby, was given to Cheyenne after her mother refused to care for her. Cheyenne treats Aurora just like she was her own child. Cheyenne has an incredible degree of patience as a mother, but you could say that those four adoptive kids account for most of the wrinkles on her face!

Cheyenne and adopted baby Aurora spend some time together outside
Cheyenne and adopted baby Aurora spend some time together outside

Susie, the agile gibbon, has a much different story than Cheyenne, although she is also 41. Susie is a rescued animal – she spent her first few years of life as a pet (as you probably already know, this is NOT a good idea. Susie lives by herself because she doesn’t interact well with others of her species, so she alternates with our siamang family to enjoy time outside.

Susie may be elderly, but she still enjoys swinging on those ropes!
Susie may be elderly, but she still enjoys swinging on those ropes!

There are also animals that live at the Zoo but aren’t visible to guests. This includes Alison, who lives behind the scenes in a place called MYRA: the Monkey Year Round Retirement Area. She is a black-and-white ruffed lemur, and she is 30 years old. She has outlived two mates, and she certainly deserves a little quiet time in her twilight years! Alison also receives acupuncture treatments to help relieve her arthritis from a visiting veterinarian.

Alison, the black-and-white ruffed lemur - she brings getting older to the most elegant level!
Alison, the black-and-white ruffed lemur – she brings getting older to the most elegant level!

Another incredible animal that has already enjoyed quite a long life is Bill, our male swift fox. He will be a whopping 16 years old next month! Swift foxes typically live up to 12 years old in a zoo setting and only 3-6 years in the wild, so this guy is clearly wise beyond his years. Swift foxes are native to the central US, from Montana all the way through Texas. Their range is now very narrow and fragmented, though, because of habitat loss. Bill is a very smart fox, and he enjoys his training sessions with his keepers and hanging out with his younger mate, Sookie. You can find him in the John P. McGovern Children’s Zoo.

You can find Bill, the swift fox, in the desert area of the John P. McGovern Children's Zoo
You can find Bill, the swift fox, in the desert area of the John P. McGovern Children’s Zoo

Last but certainly not least, Charles the San Esteban chuckwalla is a true zoo ambassador. He has delighted hundreds (and probably thousands) of children, as he goes to schools and out in the Zoo to help keepers teach kids about animals. Born in 1987, his laid back personality has helped him win the hearts of many staff, volunteers and guests. The San Esteban chuckwalla is the largest member of the chuckwalla family, and it is also the most endangered, found only on San Esteban Island.

Charles, the San Esteban Island chuckwalla, has been delighting guests and helping kids learn since the 80's!
Charles, the San Esteban Island chuckwalla, has been delighting guests and helping kids learn since the 80’s!

Thanks to Lynn Killam from the Primates Department and Kevin Hodge from the Children’s Zoo for helping to tell the stories of these amazing animals!

Guest Blogger Carolyn Jess Talks Recycling Cell Phones

We have invited Carolyn Jess back to help us out as guest blogger in 2014 with a focus on native wildlife. Jess is a 13 year old student who has agreed to be our special guest blogger about wildlife conservation. We first met Carolyn in October 2011 when she came out to the Zoo to meet our special guest Jack Hannah. If you would like to contact Carolyn or have comments, you may send them to conservation@houstonzoo.org.

For the second year, my school is participating in the Action For Apes cell phone recycling challenge.  Schools and businesses are invited to take action and enter this competition.  The goal of the program is to recycle as many old cell phones as you can.  The top prize is a really cool painting done by the chimps here at the Houston Zoo.  Rasco Middle School, where I went to school last year, won the painting and it is still hanging up in the hallway.  That is great for Rasco, but now I need a chimp painting for the hallway at Lake Jackson Intermediate.  I am hoping my school will step up and accept this challenge.
action for apes

Whether my school wins or loses, the real winners are the chimps and apes that live in the African Congo.   That is where the mineral coltan is mined.  Coltan is the material in electronics that holds electric charges.  The coltan is really being mined hard on the boundary of the Kahuzi  Biega National Park.  There, the gorilla population has been cut in half due to the mining of coltan.  The forest there that was once lush and green is being torn down and dug up.  The amount of coltan that is being exported every year is increasing largely.

Coltan is mined kind of like gold was mined back in the 1800s.  Large holes are dug, layers of dirt are put into screens, and then water is added to wash away the small pieces.  What’s left are the chunks of coltan.

We can help though.  If we reduce the need for coltan by recycling our old phones and electronics, we reduce the amount of mining that needs to be done.  You can help reduce the need for mining coltan by joining the Action for Apes challenge.  Encourage your school or business to take part.  You can also take your old phones to the Houston Zoo to recycle.  (Or you can give them to me!) Even if my school does not win the painting, we have won part of this battle for the Congo by teaching people about this problem.  Be a hero and recycle your electronics today.

27 Local Houston Groups Saving Gorillas and Chimpanzees! Are YOU on the list?

Our 2014 Action for Apes Cell Phone Recycling Challenge is off to a great start! This is the second year we have launched a community-wide cell phone recycling contest to help save gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild.

So far, we have 27 local Houston groups (schools, businesses, Scout groups) who have signed up for the 2014 Challenge! Collectively, these groups hope to recycle nearly 8,350 cell phones! That is 8,350 actions taken by the Houston community to save animals in the wild.

Animals like gorillas are helped when we take small actions like recycling our cell phones.
Animals like gorillas are helped when we take small actions like recycling our cell phones.

How does recycling your cell phone help save gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild?

Metals and minerals are found in almost every cell phone, as well as laptops and cameras. Some of these metals and minerals come from the ground in Central Africa, which happens to be where animals like chimpanzees, gorillas and okapis live. When the materials are taken from chimpanzee habitats to be used in electronics, the homes of chimps, gorillas and okapis become disrupted and these animal populations decrease.

The mineral tantalum is derived from coltan (and used in our electronics) and comes from areas in Africa where chimpanzees and gorillas live.
The mineral tantalum is derived from coltan (and used in our electronics) and comes from areas in Africa where chimpanzees and gorillas live.

If we can recycle our phones and the materials in them, there is less need to disturb the habitats of gorillas and chimpanzees to get new minerals and metals! Also, it keeps electronic waste out of our local Texas landfills!

I want to sign my school/organization up for the 2014 Action for Apes Challenge, how do I do it?

Just visit our website and click the registration button to get started! Once registered, we’ll contact you to send you collection boxes and free shipping labels, so the contest is easy and free!

ActionForApes_Logo

When can we start the challenge and when does it end?

You can start collecting phones as soon as you register online. The contest ends on APE-ril 30th. 

What do we get if we win?!?!

A unique (and HUGE) painting done by the zoo’s chimpanzee troop!! Your group will be able to pick the colors our chimpanzees use on the painting, and you can hang it publicly so everyone will know how hard you worked to save animals in the wild! Both the first and second place schools/organizations will receive recognition on our Houston Zoo Facebook pages and social media outlets.

 

 

Who is participating so far?

The following schools, businesses and organizations have joined the 2014 Action for Apes Challenge and are working hard to save animals in the wild!

Aldine 9th Grade School

Bruce Elementary

CLHS Roots & Shoots Club

Cy-Fair High School

Cypress Falls High School

Dabbs Elementary

De Zavala Elementary

Dickinson High School

Girl Scout Troop 9457

Hall Elementary

Hildebrandt Intermediate School

Hoffman Middle School

Holbrook Elementary

James DeAnda Elementary School

Jennie Reid Elementary

John and Shamarion Barber Middle School

KIPP ZENITH Academy

Lake Jackson Intermediate

Liestman Elementary

Parkwood Elementary School

Smith Middle School

Sneed Elementary

Stanley Elementary

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and School

Walt Disney Elementary

W.C. Cunningham Middle school

Whole Foods Market Kirby

Thank you to these awesome schools and organizations who have joined the Houston Zoo to help save animals in the wild! If you haven’t signed up for the 2014 Action for Apes Challenge yet, it’s not too late-do it today!

It's A Boy! – Baby Elephant Born Overnight at the Zoo

After a pregnancy lasting almost 23 months, Shanti, a 24 year old Asian elephant delivered a healthy 385 pound male calf shortly after 2:00 a.m. today at the Houston Zoo’s McNair Asian Elephant Habitat. “The elephant keepers have named the calf Duncan,” said Houston Zoo Large Mammal Curator Daryl Hoffman.  “They like the way it sounds,” he added.
baby ele1

 

Attended by the Houston Zoo’s elephant care team and assisted by the Zoo’s veterinary staff, Shanti delivered the baby at 2:13 a.m. today.  “After months of preparation and tender loving care, Shanti’s labor was very brief and the delivery was  quick and easy for her” said  Hoffman.  “The keepers helped the calf to his feet and he was standing on his own within about an hour after his birth,” he added.

“The calf started nursing at 9 this morning,” said Hoffman.  “In the first 90 minutes after his first meal we saw him nurse more than 15 times.  Duncan has a very good appetite,” added Hoffman. Thai, the baby’s father, is 48 years old.

Immediately after the calf was born, the elephant care team and the Zoo’s veterinary staff performed a neonatal exam.  “We weighed and measured the calf and took a blood sample.” said Houston Zoo Chief Veterinarian Dr. Joe Flanagan. “Duncan is almost 40 inches tall at the shoulder,” added Flanagan.

babyele2Elephant keepers will keep Shanti and Duncan under a 24-hour watch for the next few weeks.   The viewing windows in the barn at the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat are temporarily closed to the public. The windows will reopen to the public after the elephant care team has seen signs that Duncan is well-bonded with his mother and is comfortable in his new home, possibly next week. Duncan is Shanti’s fourth calf.

The 8 members of the Houston Zoo’s elephant care team, assisted by the Zoo’s 4 full time veterinarians and veterinary staff and a core group of Zoo volunteers have been monitoring Shanti closely for the past 11 months.  The routine intensified over the past 12 weeks with regular ultrasounds to monitor the baby’s health and blood work to gauge the mother’s progesterone level.   Through out the delivery, Shanti was attended by the entire elephant care team and assisted by Zoo veterinarians and Zoo hospital veterinary technicians.

More than 50 volunteers and Zoo staff began a seven-day a week overnight birth watch in late-November.  Utilizing a state of the art closed-circuit television system, the birth watch team observed and documented Shanti’s behavior.  When blood tests indicated Shanti’s progesterone level had fallen to a low baseline level, members of the elephant care team and veterinarians remained at the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat around the clock watching for indications that labor might begin at any moment.

 

Birth Preparation Time Line 2012 – 2014

 Approximate date of conception                                        March 23, 2012

Progesterone monitoring continues                                       March 23, 2012

Transabdominal ultrasounds begin (2X per month)               Sept. 10, 2013

Transrectal ultrasounds begin (2X per month)                       Oct. 25

Birth watch volunteer training                                                 Nov. 13

Biweekly progesterone monitoring begins                              Nov. 13

Birth watch begins with Zoo volunteers                                  Nov. 23

Biweekly ultrasounds begin                                                    Nov. 24

Daily progesterone monitoring begins                                    Dec. 11

Ultrasound frequency increased if required                           Dec. 11

Elephant keepers join birth watch schedule                           Dec. 11

 

About Asian Elephants

 Asian elephants are herbivores. At maturity, adult males can grow up to 10 feet tall (measured at the shoulders) and weigh up to 13,000 pounds.  Adult females grow up to eight and a half feet tall and will weigh less than males.  Amazingly, despite their weight, they are able to walk silently.  Elephants are the largest land mammals in the world and among  the most intelligent animals on earth.  Unfortunately, Asian elephants are also among  the world’s most endangered species.

Approximately 300 Asian elephants currently live in North American zoos; however, a number of factors are jeopardizing their sustainability:  an aging population, low birth rates and an insufficient number—less than 30—of breeding bulls (male elephants).  Also, if cows (female elephants), are not bred by age 25, their reproductive ability is immensely diminished.  In the wild, Asian elephants typically live about 45 years.

Fortunately for the endangered species, there has been resurgence among zoos to bolster breeding efforts to help stabilize the population.  The Houston Zoo’s Asian elephant breeding program falls under the auspices of the Elephant Species Survival Plan administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

At the turn of the 20th century, more than 100,000 Asian elephants roamed their native habitat.  Today, only 35,000 remain in the wild—scattered among pockets of Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, Indonesia and Vietnam.  Decades of war, an explosive human population growth and intensive agriculture continue to shrink their once abundant territories, leading to human-elephant conflict and leaving elephants prone to poaching and starvation.  Consequently, the gene pool for future generations of elephants is in a dire situation.

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