Shark conservationist receives education training at the Houston Zoo



Shark conservationist, Alerick Pacay, Program Coordinator at Fundación Mundo Azul, a non-profit conservation organization, based in Guatemala, received conservation and education training at the Houston Zoo.  Alerick had participated in a video conservation messaging workshop Houston Zoo staff held in Belize last year for marine conservation organizations.  He and his organization,  reached out to Houston Zoo staff when he learned more about the Houston Zoo’s conservation and education programming.

IMG_2742Fundación Mundo Azul main goal is to protect the ocean.  Alerick works with local fishermen to monitor the 30 species of sharks in Guatemala and spends much of his time inspiring visitors to the Guatemala Zoo and local communities about the importance of protecting sharks.  He educates his audiences about the importance of sharks and other wildlife in the ocean and how they can save this wildlife by reducing their plastic use.  Plastic and other trash in the oceans is one of the biggest threats to marine life.

The training he received provided him with the knowledge to increase his impact with his audiences.  Our staff also learned a tremendous amount from Fundación Mundo Azul’s programs.

Along with training at the Zoo, he also got to accompany our staff and our partners at NOAA in some sea turtle protection work in the wild.  He assisted with rescuing a very big loggerhead sea turtle in Galveston.

We are so grateful for all of the work Fundación Mundo Azul and Alerick are doing  to protect our oceans and save marine animals.  Alerick would like all readers to know that you can help us all save animals like sharks by saying no to straws.  Millions of straws end up in the oceans and they can be harmful to marine animals when they mistaken them for food.  You can purchase medal straws here and carry one with you, if you don’t want to go without.IMG_2793

Helping Wildlife…With Paint!


Paint and Wildlife

The Houston Zoo cares about animals in the wild, and is taking steps to ensure that everything we do on Zoo grounds is done with wild animals in mind. A simple effort like being aware of what types of paints we use has a surprisingly large impact on wildlife because it impacts their natural environment.

Paints can have harsh chemicals that affect the air we all breathe, or if you dispose of leftover paint improperly, it can get into the streams and waters wildlife like sea turtles call home.

Help our local sea turtles by being aware of what’s going into their water.

Paint and the Houston Zoo

Recently the Zoo used environmentally friendly paint to label the storm drains behind the scenes as a reminder that the cleaner we keep our waters, the healthier our wildlife. Storm water drains are a part of all cities, helping alleviate flood waters that build up during storms and are meant only to have rainwater since Houston storm drains lead right back out to our bayous, and eventually flow to the Gulf of Mexico.

Storm Drain Action Shot
Storm water drains being painted at the Houston Zoo!

For our storm drain project we were able to visit New Living to source paint that is water-based and contains no volatile organic compounds in both the paint and paint pigments. These compounds, called VOCs, are immediately noticed as the intense “paint smell” that can give you a fast headache. This smell is from chemicals that people should not breathe, and animals should not have in their water supply. The paint that New Living offers allows us to be sure that when we‘re using paint for projects, we have the option to choose a product that is made in a more environmentally friendly way, contains less harsh chemicals, and if ever exposed to the environment would not impact it harshly like with traditional paints.

As a Zoo-Based Conservation organization, we have chosen to include no-VOC paint whenever possible to ensure all operations of the Zoo are done in a way that is friendly for wildlife. The Houston Zoo aims to be a leader in being a part of these new and innovative practices that are conscious of our wildlife and our interactions with the natural world we all live in.



You can help save wildlife too!

  • If you are using paint that contains VOCs, be sure to wear safety masks and take any remainder paint to a hazardous waste facility. In Houston, you can take this kind of paint (like oil-based paint) to the West Park Consumer Recycling Center located in Houston. If you have-water based paint, you can let the paint dry (often people will mix it with cat litter for a faster drying process) and toss the dry paint in the trash for regular pick-up. 
  • Next time you buy paint, ask for no-VOC paint to ensure the products you are using are safe for wildlife. Visit stores like New Living to ensure you are purchasing wildlife-friendly products.

This is a sustainability reference document. 

Saving Wildlife with Robotics!

The Houston Zoo cares about animals in the wild and is working within our global community to help wildlife. There are many ways to affect wildlife, and we work with all types of groups that are using innovative and effective ways to keep our world healthy for all of its inhabitants.seaturtle_DK

Something that all of our friends, groups, partners, and even visitors have in common is trash, plastics in particular…but what does that have to do with saving wildlife? Our wild animals come into contact with a lot of our trash; our friends in Africa have seen giant elephants grab plastic bags that are tangled in grasses thinking that it’s food, and our local friends in Galveston have seen our Texas sea turtles eat plastic bags floating in the ocean because they look like a tasty jellyfish.

This league is connecting two areas that don’t seem like they’d work together, robotics and waste, to make a beautiful solution to help save wildlife! There are some innovative ways that robots can help us to protect wildlife, from using drones to gauge poaching areas to creating robotic fish that measure ocean health, and this league is a group of students that is putting their brains together to come up with more ways that robotics can help our animals and our Earth. This is the first installation of a blog series that will track what the league is doing, why they are doing it, and how you can help out too!

Please welcome our guest bloggers for this series, the Jersey Voltage Purple FIRST Lego League Robotics Team:


JV Lego Team 1

Hi there! We are the Jersey Voltage Purple FIRST Lego League (FLL) robotics team. We are a team of 10 students who live in Jersey Village, Texas and we are here to not only talk about trash (plastics in particular); but we are here to clean it up or at the least create excitement and awareness of the world’s plastics. We’re working on a project now, so photos are to come, but below you can check out why we chose to focus on plastics and see some great pictures of us while in the brainstorming stage!

Did you know that the very first plastic was developed in Britain way back in 1862, and plastics were exhibited at the Great Exhibition in London?! Plastics are used in many important ways that help humans and animals stay healthy, like in the medical field, and use of plastics exploded in the first decade after World War II. Just in the past 30 years, the plastic industry has gotten huge and includes many plastic products that could potentially be replaced by reusable items, like reusable water bottles or plastic bags.


This explosion of the use of plastics greatly impacts our eco-system and affects our wildlife. All of us have used many water bottles in our lifetime, but how many of those bottles have been made of plastic? Last year, the average American used 167 disposable plastic water bottles, but only recycled 38. Do you know how many get into our eco-system? Of the millions of water bottles used every day, most of them will eventually end up in an animal’s environment. So we’re here to help. Many people are trying to limit the amount of plastic they use, and some have come up with some pretty creative solutions to this somewhat overwhelming problem!


Take Action Now: You can save wildlife today by using a reusable tote for your groceries instead of single-use plastic bags. You can also exchange your single-use plastic bottles for a long-term refillable bottle. Visit the Houston Zoo’s Take Action page and find out what else you can do!


In our next blog we will tell you about a few ideas that we uncovered in our research and what we’ve been working on with our robotics to help save wildlife! So stay tuned, more to come and plenty to do!


Founded in 1989 and based in Manchester, NH, FIRST is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designed to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, and to motivate them to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM fields.


This is a sustainability reference document. 

Our Sea Lion Team is Saving Marine Wildlife & You Can Too!


Next time you visit the Zoo make sure you catch our sea lion presentations to hear how the sea lion team is organizing efforts to save marine animals in the wild! All of our animal care specialists love the animals they provide care for and feel a devotion to protecting their wild counterparts.


In the past year, the sea lion team has organized 11 trips with Zoo staff to Galveston and collected:

  • 140 lbs of fishing line from specially-designed bins placed along the jetties. These bins were built by the Zoo!
  • 140 lbs of recycling from the beach
  • 250 lbs of trash from the beach


sohie and bins
On the left is a monofilament bin and the right is a member of the sea lion team digging fishing line out of the rocks!

During these animal saving expeditions, they have talked to beach goers and fisherman about the importance of properly discarding fishing line in the designated containers along Galveston jetties so that the line does not blow into the ocean or onto the beaches. The Houston Zoo assists with the rehabilitation of approximately 85 stranded or injured wild sea turtles a year, with some of them showing injuries resulting from becoming entangled in the fishing line and other garbage.


Please help us save wildlife by spreading the word. 

If you like to fish, know local fishermen, or like to spend time at the beach, make sure you tell everyone you can about how to save wildlife by:

  • Properly disposing of all fishing line in the designated bins
  • Properly sorting the recycling and garbage you find or bring to the beach
  • Calling 1-866-Turtle-5 (1-866-887-8535) if you happen to catch a sea turtle while fishing, or see an injured or stranded turtle.


Thank you for protecting wildlife with us!

Houston Zoo Guests are Helping to Save Sharks in the Wild

Whitespotted Bamboo Shark Baby-0002-8227 (1)
Baby bamboo shark hatched at the Houston Zoo last year

When visiting the Zoo, you may see our sharks, rays and sea turtles. The ocean is close to Houston’s heart with the Gulf of Mexico just down the road. Keeping the ocean healthy is a high priority to the Houston Zoo and sharks do just that.  This misunderstood species works hard to keep a healthy balance in our oceans. The Houston Zoos and all of our guests support marine wildlife organization, Mar Alliance, based in Central America. Mar Alliance is doing great work for big fish like sharks and other wildlife in the sea. We know that local involvement and employment is critical for the
success of any long-term conservation effort. We require all of our conservation partners to be working towards local ownership and management of all the conservation and research programs.

Mar Alliance staff tagging shark

Mar Alliance hires local people to carry out monitoring and awareness efforts in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Houston Zoo staff recently visited the Mar Alliance in Belize and assisted with their marine wildlife protection efforts. We worked along side their local fisherman staff. The fishers have a vast understanding of the ocean and it greatly enhances the research and conservation efforts. All of the local fisherman have grown up by the sea and began free diving for conch and lobster to support their families at a very young age. They can free dive up to 100 feet!


In the past, local fishermen have been taught by previous generations to have a great fear and dislike of sharks. They spoke to us about seeing hammerheads and other species while free diving when they were young, and being very afraid. The fishermen that have joined the Mar Alliance team have had their perception of sharks transformed. The conservation and research activities have guided them to develop a great understanding of the sharks behavior and a deep respect their role in the health of the ocean. Mar Alliance protection efforts include swimming with sharks to monitor, capture and tag them. These fishermen have become the best advocates for sharks and are influencing a lot of change in their communities to protect them.

Local Mar Alliance staff with sharks

You can protect sharks in your everyday life by eating seafood that is responsibly caught. Even though they are not the target, countless sharks are killed when fishing is not done properly. Download Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch consumer guide to learn which seafood options are best choices or good alternatives. The app is available from the Apple Store or Google Play to help you identify shark and ocean-safe seafood.

Your visit to the Zoo helps save sharks in the wild. The Zoo supports over 25 wildlife conservation projects in 10 countries around the world and your admission ticket strengthens that support.

Our Aquarium Supervisor & His Mission to Save Coral Reefs – Day 5

Friday, May 22

11 a.m.

The Georgia Aquarium crew made an early trip to make a deep dive on a nearby wreck, while I stayed behind to make some coral trees.  The workshop is set up on Ken Nedimyer’s home property and consists of a couple of drill presses beneath sunshades.  Volunteer Jonathon Cole, and later Ken, tutored me on construction of the structures.  They need to be very precise in order to maintain rigidity.  The cross (horizontal) beams are fashioned from fiberglass rod while the central (vertical) structure is PVC piping.  Ken has constructed very simple but effective wooden guides to help keep everything straight.  Slots for the horizontal rods are drilled at alternating 90 degree angles to one another to maximize the amount of corals that can be hung on a single tree.  A total of ten holes are drilled in each set of horizontal arms, from which corals are suspended with monofilament line.  In the past, they had as many as 16 holes but that caused too much crowding with rapid coral growth.  A modern coral tree holds 100 fragments in total.

Captain Sonny constructing a coral tree.
Captain Sonny constructing a coral tree.

Once everything is drilled, the horizontal arms are inserted through the PVC “trunk” and epoxied in place.  By the time 1130 rolled around, I had finished two trees.  I wanted to do more, but needed to meet up at the Marina for my last two dives of the trip.

6 p.m.

The Georgia Aquarium  sponsors an outplanting site at Molasses Reef.  We made our way there to do some maintenance work on Staghorn Coral clusters that had been planted previously.  Without the guidance of CRF staff, it felt a little bit disorganized and overwhelming at first but we quickly got accustomed to our surroundings and got started.

Though most clusters were pretty healthy and exhibited good growth, many had broken free from their epoxy anchors.  This site is located in a relatively shallow area with a fairly flat bottom.  Lack of three dimensional structure allowed for stronger surge and made attachment more difficult.

Lack of structure on the flat bottom made reattachment more difficult.
Lack of structure on the flat bottom made reattachment more difficult.

After an hour of maintenance work, we returned to the boat to resupply on air.  Our last dive would be purely for enjoyment!

The second dive was excellent. Molasses Reef has a lot of variability in structure and marine life.  We spent the majority of our time working through the spur-and-groove formations, which where riddled with numerous caves.  It was teeming with life.  We saw both hawksbill and green sea turtles, green moray eels, a huge school of midnight parrotfish crunching away at the reef, nurse sharks and a seemingly endless number of various colorful reef fishes.  Unfortunately, in an hour of exploring I only spotted two natural colonies of Elkhorn coral.  Hopefully, within a few years, they will return to prominence due to the hard work of the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) staff.

One of only two mature Elkhorn colonies I observed at Molasses reef.
One of only two mature Elkhorn colonies I observed at Molasses reef.

Luckily, I’ll be returning again later in the year.  This has been an amazing experience with an even more amazing organization.  Stay tuned for my next round of blogs!


Special thanks to Ken Nedimyer, Pam Hughes, Jessica Levy, Jonathon Cole and Kayla Ripple of the Coral Restoration Foundation. I am very grateful to my Curator, George Brandy III for suggesting this project in the first place.  Without his guidance, I likely would have never gotten involved with such an amazing project.   I am also very appreciative to the media-related support given to me by Ryan Draper of the HZI Graphics Department and logistical support provided by the Conservation Department.  Lastly, I would like to again thank everyone who helped to fund this project through the Staff Conservation Fund.

Read dive logs from each day of the trip!

Dive Log – Saving Coral Reefs:

Snaring is Not Only an Exotic Problem

Several times during the year, you can find Houston Zoo staff scouring the beaches of Galveston. All too often, trash, especially plastic products, is improperly disposed of and ends up in our waterways and the surrounding areas. What many people do not know is that these items can prove deadly to local wildlife. Plastics can take anywhere from 20 to over 600 years to decompose in the environment, and they can come into contact with countless organisms within that time.

sea turtleFish and other marine life can become entangled in leftover fishing line. Sea turtles can ingest plastic bags. Raccoons, turtles, and ducks can become stuck inside the loops of an uncut 6-pack ring. Once in the environment, plastic will remain until it is collected and disposed of properly. Houston Zoo staff assist with this by organizing beach and crab trap clean up days where employees, and often their family members, travel to Galveston and spend the day collecting trash and abandoned traps before they can become a hazard to our native wildlife.

painted dogAcross the globe, anti-poaching units in Zimbabwe are faced with a similar struggle. However, instead of a few days out of the year, this is a full time job for them. They travel through the bush, collecting snares left behind by poachers seeking game such as antelope.  Many animals, like lions and African painted dogs, fall prey to these traps. Without the anti-poaching units, these traps could be present in the environment for years. Since the Painted Dog Conservation’s anti-poaching unit’s inception in 2001, over 15,000 traps have been collected!


What can you do to help animals in the wild?

  • Just by coming to the zoo you are helping to save animals in the wild as a portion of every admission goes right back to conservation programs!
  • Recycle! Recycling items such as plastics can help keep them out of landfills and away from wildlife.
  • Reuse! Purchase reusable shopping bags to reduce the amount of waste that goes into making and disposing of plastic ones.  It also keeps plastic bags from ending up in our waters where it can be potentially consumed by animals like sea turtles.
  • Dispose! Properly dispose of items like monofilament (fishing) lines.  Many fishing areas have labeled bins for your convenience!

Want to learn more about African painted dogs and what the Houston Zoo is doing to help save them in the wild? Join us for our 3rd annual Dog Days of Summer celebration on June 5 and 6 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.!

Houston Zoo Sea Lion Team Works to Remove Marine Debris

This post was written by Sophia Darling

A few Sundays ago, on March 29th, Houston Zoo sea lion team members Sophia Darling and Heather Crane, along with zoo volunteer Dale Martin, traveled down to the Surfside Jetty for the sea lion team’s monthly jetty cleanup. The Surfside jetty is a high volume fishing area, and especially now that the weather is warming up, you can find lots of people enjoying a beautiful day fishing off of the jetty and beach. Unfortunately, this comes with a cost. More often than not, the people visiting leave a trail at the jetty: aluminum cans, bait leftovers and containers, cigarette butts, and a lot of excess monofilament, more commonly known as fishing line. All of these items are described as marine debris – any man made item that ends up in the marine ecosystem, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

This is a monofilament bin located on the Surfside jetty.
This is a monofilament bin located on the Surfside jetty.

Marine debris is a huge threat to marine life all over the globe. It poses many different hazards to local wildlife, most commonly ingestion and entanglement. The sea lion team decided it was time for action to be taken!! By partnering with NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) the sea lion team has had specially designed bins installed along the Surfside jetty, providing an easy and accessible location to properly dispose of fishing line. Once a month we go down to the jetty and spend a day emptying the monofilament bins and cleaning up the debris left over among the rocks.  This last Sunday we collected 15.4 pounds of recycling, 20.5 pounds of trash, and 1 pound of monofilament fishing line!

This is why it's so important to remove and recycle fishing line.
This is why it’s so important to remove and recycle fishing line.

And we really get into the cracks and crevices to get as much as we can!! Very often plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and large wads of monofilament will get trapped in the cracks between the rocks, and it takes a little extra effort to get it out.

Supervisor Sophia Darling does a handstand between the rocks to try and reach debris among a beautiful bed of anemones!
Supervisor Sophia Darling does a handstand between the rocks to try and reach debris among a beautiful bed of anemones!

Unfortunately, we cannot get to all the inhabitants of this marine environment in time. While climbing among the rocks, we found a local ray (we’re unsure of the species) that had been caught and hooked by someone’s fishing line, most likely un-intentionally. Unfortunately, the method taken to cut the ray loose did not do anything to help it. The line was cut about 10 feet from the hook lodged in the ray’s mouth, which was not removed.


There are so many things that we can do to help prevent debris from entering the marine environment, and prevention is our greatest ally! Avoid one-time use plastic and paper bags when going to the store, and bring your own thermos or cup when you visit your favorite local coffee shop. If you are going to visit the jetty, our beaches, or even a park, please, PLEASE, clean up after yourself. Make a goal for yourself, that for every visit you take to the coast, you will spend 20 minutes cleaning up a small area of the beach! Here in the city many of our storm drains and bayous lead to the gulf, so be aware of what enters our environment here! Even by overfilling your trash cans while they wait to be collected may lead to debris getting caught up in the wind. Always recycle. Every small thing that we can do can, and WILL, make a difference.

Since August 2014, the Houston Zoo sea lion team has collected 18 pounds of monofilament, 58.5 pounds of recycling and 82.5 pounds of trash from the Surfside jetty. We continue to get this message out in our shows here at the zoo, and we encourage anyone to come talk to us about marine conservation and what we can all do to help!!

Turtle Tuesday!

Yesterday, Houston Zoo staff participated in NOAA’s weekly beach survey, looking for injured or sick sea turtles on Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Island and all the way to Surfside! This survey can take anywhere from 9-15 hours, but is vital in ensuring that any sea turtles on our local beaches are accounted for, and cared for if need be.

It was a cold and blustery day, and while we did not encounter any sea turtles we came across several deceased rays and HUGE jellyfish! Unfortunately, all of the jellyfish were already dead but they were fascinating to look at and study. We still do not know what species of jellyfish we encountered all over the beaches, so if you know-please tell us in the comments section below.

Giant jellyfish on the Texas Coast!
Giant jellyfish on the Texas Coast!
View from above. Can anyone identify this species?
View from above. Can anyone identify this species?

Spending time on our local beaches can provide some amazing insight into the species that live in our oceans, but we rarely have the opportunity to see. Unfortunately, jellyfish like the ones above look very similar to plastic bags floating in the ocean. They have similar movement patterns, floating up and down in the water column. Many sea turtles species mistake these plastic bags for a common food source of theirs (jellyfish) and consume them. We can all make a difference for sea turtles, sea birds, sharks and other marine species by avoiding the use of plastic bags and only using reusable bags. Check out our “This bag saved a sea turtle” or “This bag saved a sea lion” reusable bags in the Zoo’s gift shop-all proceeds from the sale of these bags go directly back to marine animals in the wild.

Sea turtle canvas bags available in our gift shop. All proceeds go towards sea turtles in the wild.
Sea turtle canvas bags available in our gift shop. All proceeds go towards sea turtles in the wild.

Another way to help is to join us for Save a Turtle Saturday on March 7th from 9:00am-1:00pm. Visit the Zoo during this special event to learn how the Houston Zoo works to save turtles around the world, and find out how you can make a difference to your local turtles. Save 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 and activities to learn more about the threats turtles face, and how you can help! All activities are free with Zoo admission.

Fish of the Week – Post #1

You may have heard about sustainable seafood and know which choices to make, but if you haven’t, no worries – we will break it down for you!

Sustainable seafood is defined as seafood that is either wild-caught or farm-raised that not only sustains current populations, but thrives over the long term. The methods by which the seafood is harvested or raised must not cause undue harm to their natural ecosystems. The Houston Zoo strongly believes that embracing the use of sustainable seafood is one of the best ways we can all contribute to our oceans’ health.

How can you help, you ask? Here are a few ways:

  • Make smart choices about what you eat and where you buy it. This can make a huge impact on our oceans and the animals living there! Some of the top grocery stores in North America have public sustainable seafood sourcing policies – this list includes (but not limited to) Walmart, H-E-B, Fiesta, Kroger, Costco, Target, and Whole Foods. These stores provide sustainably-sourced seafood options for you to purchase and be confident you are making fish-friendly choices.
  • If you are out enjoying a meal at your favorite restaurant, you can ask them if the seafood they serve is sustainable.
  • You can also refer to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch consumer guide to learn which seafood options are best choices or good alternatives. Click here to download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play.

Over the next seven weeks, we will feature a new “Fish of the Week” recipe here on our blog site. Each week will feature a sustainably-sourced seafood option along with a recipe provided by our very own Chef Larry. Not only will get you get to hear from one of the Zoo’s top chefs, but you can also prepare meals at home that help protect marine wildlife and their ecosystems!

This week’s recipe is for Baja Fish Tacos.

These fish tacos are simple and easy. Add lime rice and cumin black beans for a complete dish. If you can’t find gulf grouper, other great sustainable seafood options are cobia or red drum (also known as redfish or channel fish). It all depends on the season. If you don’t like corn tortillas, flour are a great substitute.

Ingredients:fish tacos

Fish & Marinate:
1.5 lbs Gulf Grouper
⅓ cup Vegetable Oil
1 tbls Chili Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Minced Garlic
½ cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
2 ea Green Onion, Chopped
½ ea Jalapeno Pepper, Chopped with Seeds
1 tbls Lime Juice

Chipotle Slaw:
½ ea Small Head Shredded Red Cabbage
½ cup Shredded Carrots
3 ea Green Onions, Bias Cut
2 tsp Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, Chopped
⅓ cup Mayonnaise
3 tbls White Vinegar
1 tbls Lime Juice

10 slices Sliced Tomatoes, cut in to ½
10 ea Corn Tortillas
12 ea Lime Wedges

Marinating the Fish:

1. Combine all of your ingredient except the fish and place in a baking dish.
2. Add fish and rub all sides to completely coat fish, wrap and put in refrigerator for 40 min to 60 min.

Prepping the Slaw:

1. In a large bowl put your mayonnaise, white vinegar, chipotle peppers and salt & pepper mix well.
2. Add shredded red cabbage, shredded carrots and green onions.
3. Mix well and hold for service
4. Slice tomatoes and cut in to ½ moons.

Cooking the Fish:

1. Heat a cast iron skillet to med high.
2. Pull your fish out of the oil and carefully place it in the cast iron skillet.
3. Cook 3 to 4 min on each side. Don’t worry if the fish breaks because you are going to crumble it into large flakes.
4. Flake all the fish and hold to the side.
5. Heat your corn (or flour) tortilla in a nonstick pan with a little cooking spray. 1 min or so on each side. As the tortillas are heated place in a kitchen towel and hold.
6. To build your tacos: place tortilla on cutting board, add fish then top with chipotle slaw and 2 slices of tomatoes.
7. Place on a platter for service and serve with lime wedges.

Servings: 5
Degree of Difficulty: Easy

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

We would love to get your feedback on the recipe above; share your thoughts and/or suggestions in the comment section below. And be sure to check back next week for a new, tasty recipe to try!

Thanks for doing your part to save wildlife. And remember, every time you visit the Houston Zoo, you help save animals in wild!

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This morning, we humanely euthanized our male, 20-year-old jaguar, Kan Balam. Due to the tremendous care provided to him by his keepers and our veterinary team, Kan Balam lived well beyond his expected lifespan. Jaguars expected lifespan in the wild is between 12-15 years.

The carnivore staff and veterinary team made the decision after his quality of life began to decline. Quality care and continuous advances in veterinary medicine extends animals’ lives longer than ever, with most felines in human care living well beyond previous generations. Because of this, all cats, including domestic house cats and jaguars, often spend a significant phase of their lives as older animals, and are at a higher risk for geriatric complications.

Read more about Kan B, and the love his keepers had for him on our blog:
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This morning, we humanely euthanized our male, 20-year-old jaguar, Kan Balam.  Due to the tremendous care provided to him by his keepers and our veterinary team, Kan Balam lived well beyond his expected lifespan. Jaguars expected lifespan in the wild is between 12-15 years. 
The carnivore staff and veterinary team made the decision after his quality of life began to decline. Quality care and continuous advances in veterinary medicine extends animals’ lives longer than ever, with most felines in human care living well beyond previous generations. Because of this, all cats, including domestic house cats and jaguars, often spend a significant phase of their lives as older animals, and are at a higher risk for geriatric complications.

Read more about Kan B, and the love his keepers had for him on our blog:


Comment on Facebook

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur; happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr #RIP #bigbangtheory

I know he lived a lot longer due to the excellent care he got at the Zoo.

Is this the one that had the limp?

I saw him limping about 2 weekends ago. The first time we walked by he was fine. When we walked by on the way out he was limping and moaning pretty loudly. I wondered what happened but I figured his keeper already knew or would find out shortly. Super Sad. He was always a lively one.

This was my daughters favorite critter at the Zoo. We always went to say hello to him before anyone else whenever we went. When she was 7 years old we sent a post out to out neighborhood on Halloween saying Paisley was asking for pocket change donations in lieu of candy for Halloween and all amounts would be donated to Kan thru the zoo. She raised over $40 in coins! I still have the letter from the zoo thanking her for her donation. He was a sweet boy and will be missed. 😔

Jaguar habitat is in the Zoo or Jungle's? ??or is only entertainments for person's? ??$$$$$$$!.Sorry animals the person's don't love you ..

Dunno if the Zoo staff considered him a pet but he was certainly a family member, and because of that i offer this: RainbowBridge Author Unknown Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Aww. When interning in the carnivore dept he was one of my faves. So smart! Ashley remember when Angie was teaching him to do the moonwalk after Michael Jackson passed?

Sending love to the keepers that are broken hearted right now. And thank you for all the care you’ve given.

Sorry to hear about your loss. We also lost a jaguar(melanistic variety) at Reid Park Zoo about a year ago. Nikita was 21 years old and was euthanized due to health-related issues. Sad, but they have a GOOD life at the zoo! No predators, a steady food supply, medical attention, loving kindness from her keeper(s) and admiration by the public. Geriatric animals have unique problems and we are blessed to get to know them as long as we do.

Thank you Houston Zoo for taking such good care of him and all the animals! I've been going to this zoo since I was little bitty. I always enjoy it.

Beautiful jaguar grateful for the Houston Zoo keepers and veterinary team that gave their time and efforts to share this awesome jaguar with us for so many years.

He was well-cared for and most of all well-loved. My heartfelt condolences to those missing Kan B as well as me. What an amazing ambassador for his kind. What a beautiful old gentleman. Thank you for loving him into old age and giving him peace.

What a great long life he lived because of his excellent care at the zoo Thoughts go out to his keepers and the entire Houston Zoo staff

Thank you for doing what was right and kind for Kan Balam even though it was hard and painful for you. That’s true love for an animal. ❤️

RIP Kan Balam. You have given the visitors so much pleasure just watching you over these years. You were taken care of by top notch professional handlers, etc.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thanks for taking such great care of him so he was able to live a long life. My thoughts are with his keepers and all who adored him. <3

Jaguars are one of my favorite and he seems like a sweet boy. I'm so sad but I'm happy he can be painless and be free now. RIP❤️

The Houston Zoo staff has lost several animals this year and I am sure each one is so hard to go through.

Aww I’m so sorry for the loss, I’ve seen him many times, he was absolutely gorgeous! I’m glad that you guys were able to make him comfortable, sometimes the best thing we can do is let them be at peace. Will miss this handsome guy; play hard at the Rainbow Bridge friend, day hi to my cat, Junior for me!! Much love to the HZI staff!!

I am soo sorry for the loss of this handsome fella Kan Balam. May he rest in peace and run free or any pain over the rainbow bridge.. My heart and prayers go out to each and every one of the staff at the Zoo.

Katie Rose Buckley-Jones I won’t ever forget the time you asked him to bring something and he ripped off a piece of cardboard and tried to hand it to you ❤️ thank you for introducing me to him. Sending you guys many hugs

So sorry to the keeping staff for your loss i cant imagine how youre feeling :( his old age is a testimony to the amazing care he received

I will miss him. The last time I saw him he looked tired, and it appeared his foot was bothering him.

Sad to hear of this. Thanks for taking such good and compassionate care for him and the other animals.

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Social Media Guy to Sea Lion Keeper: Can you send me a pic of you working with the sea lions in this chilly weather?

Sea Lion Keeper: Sure... (sends picture next to sea lion statue)

SMG: I'm still using this.
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Social Media Guy to Sea Lion Keeper: Can you send me a pic of you working with the sea lions in this chilly weather?

Sea Lion Keeper: Sure... (sends picture next to sea lion statue)

SMG: Im still using this.


Comment on Facebook

Are there some zoo animals that enjoy this weather?

SMG is another reason why Houston Zoo is the best Zoo!

Happy New Year “sea lion keeper “ 💖💖

More snow for TJ and Max ❤️ lucky them!

Are we positive that’s the statue rather than it really just being that cold? 😛

That’s my best friend Sophie for ya! 😂


Omg the Zoo is so awesome 😂😂😂 Alana Berry

Omg be warm sweetoe

Haha!! Good one!

Sweetie 💞

Ashley Jucker 😂

Lauren Gonzales

Mike DePope

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