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Zoo News Blog

Farewell Ernie

We’re heartbroken to share that our elderly North American porcupine has passed away from age-related health conditions. Ernie was born at Houston Zoo in September of 2007 to his parents Cody and Kendall. From the moment he arrived, he made an impact with everyone he crossed paths with. Once he was old enough, he moved into an ambassador animal role. As an ambassador, he helped form connections with guests and animals just like him in the wild. He was very smart and learned several different behaviors that helped him to connect with the guests he crossed paths with, including a fan-favorite “wave.” He was an amazing ambassador who was able to help connect communities with animals and inspire action to save wildlife.

He was a Houston celebrity, appearing on news segments and was even a part of a Superbowl coverage spotlight! He enjoyed meeting guests at events ranging from black-tie galas to middle school auditoriums. His personality was outstanding, and he made a connection with every person he met. His keepers were always impressed by his intelligence and spunk. He loved sweet potatoes, exploring new smells and snuggling into cozy spaces for a nap. Ernie will be greatly missed by everyone here at Houston Zoo as well as all of those whose lives he touched throughout his 16 years.