Augmented Reality Sandbox comes to the Naturally Wild Swap Shop

What is Augmented Reality Sand? To describe it in one word – Awesome. In fact, if you come into the Swap Shop and we aren’t at the desk, check to see if we are playing in the sandbox.

It was developed by University of California Davis’ W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences and was supported by the National Science Foundation.  It combines 3D visualization applications with a hands-on sandbox exhibit to teach about earth science concepts.   It uses a computer projector and a motion sensing input device (Xbox 360 Kinect 3D camera).  By changing the levels of the sand, the Kinect detects the distance to the sand below and elevation is projected on the sand, complete with color and contour lines.  Already sounds amazing doesn’t it?  Ever wish you could create your own lake on a hot day?  Or build a mountain to climb?    You can even hold your hand out about 2 feet above the sand surface and the program will simulate rain.  The rain will drain into the lowest lying areas in the sand.  Watersheds, mountains, lakes, rivers.  You can make them all!

If we are in a drought, freshwater is not being added to the watershed. A watershed is an area of land which drains to a specific point.  (such as the Clear Lake watershed or the Armand Bayou watershed) That lack of rain causes lots of problems.  Let’s start with our drinking water.  We need it for survival – I mean how would we even make coffee in the mornings??  Then, think about our lawns and all the plants around us.  They all need water to survive too. So, do our pets and wild animals – birds, rabbits, squirrels, etc.  The issues don’t stop there.  If there isn’t freshwater from rainfall coming into the watersheds it can even have an impact on the bay.  If enough freshwater isn’t coming into the bay from the watersheds, the salt (or salinity) goes up.  That change in salinity can have an adverse effect on plants and animals both.  One example is that oysters cannot thrive in a salt level that is too high.  And, oysters are big business on the gulf coast.  Water is critical to all forms of life – both plant and animal.  Understanding water cycles and how a water shed works is fundamental to protecting that valuable resource.

And the other side of that same coin – floods. We are well versed in flooding in our area, aren’t we?  What have we seen when hurricanes bring a storm surge?  Or when a tropical storm stalls out in our area?  Sometimes the drainage can’t keep up and the watershed has more water than it can handle.  The rising water can not only cause damage to property but, sometimes even lives are lost.  Flooding invades areas that animals would normally be living in causing them to lose their habitat and can cause problems with all the plants around us and leave us stranded.

The goal of the Augmented Reality Sandbox is for our guests to learn about topography, the meaning of contour lines, watersheds, catchment areas, levees and more. We want to raise public awareness and increase understanding and stewardship of freshwater ecosystems.  We hope you will come by and check out the new sandbox.

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

Click here to learn more about Augmented Reality Sand and even find out how to build your own.

Wild About School – August 20

Written by Heather Kilway & Nikki Blakley


Are your little ones getting restless with the end of summer drawing near? Are they dragging their feet when you go shopping for new supplies? Do they complain of boredom, and NOTHING to do? Well we have a solution that is sure to get them excited about the new school season: an entire day of adorable animals in the Children’s Zoo enjoying THEIR OWN new school supplies!

This particular day will be focused on giving Back To School-related ENRICHMENT to some of our animals in the Children’s Zoo. Enrichment is anything new or different that we give to our animals to make their lives more fun, interesting, and to encourage natural behaviors. These things can be boxes, plastic toys, different plants, or even just new bedding. Enrichment is important for our animals’ welfare, and can also be really fun for our guests to watch too!

The Children’s Zoo keepers love to make painted enrichment just for fun, and in honor of HISD school starting on the 28th, we decided to make a special day out of Sunday August 20th and give our Children’s Zoo animals “back to school” themed enrichment! For several weeks, the keepers have been cutting cardboard, making paper mache, and painting with non-toxic tempera paint in their spare time to make cool new enrichment that our animals have not received before.

Below is a schedule of activities and the enrichment that will be given to which animals. So come with your cameras ready for adorable photo opportunities, and your minds sharp to learn some interesting stories about these animals!

 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM
                Naturally Wild Swap Shop “Draw Your Own”
                 Visit the Naturally Swap Shop and share with us what you’ve learned or loved at the Houston Zoo on our Back To School dry-erase board!

9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
                Ocelot Exhibit “Artistic Ocelots”
                 Come see what our ocelots have painted on their window about school!

9:30 AM
                 North American Porcupine Exhibit “Pencil’s Down”
                  Cody can’t wait to tear into those essays.

10:00 AM
                 Swift Fox Exhibit “Lesson Of The Day”
                  Check out what our swift fox, Sookie, is learning today on her new chalk board!

11:00 AM
                 Bobcat Exhibit “Teacher’s Pet”
                 Our bobcat has a special treat for her teacher, is that worm real?

1:00 PM
                Banded Mongoose Exhibit “Catch The Bus”
                 The mongoose are going to be late to school! Can they all fit on board?

2:00 PM
               Llama and Cow Arena “Farm Yard Art Class”
               Can the llama’s and cow use giant paintbrushes? Probably not, but they sure love the bristles!

3:00 PM
             Naturally Wild Swap Shop “Spelling T-a-r-a-n-t-u-l-a”
             We can’t leave out our smaller friends! See Blondie “sit” down for class!

And if you loved seeing all this cool enrichment, make sure you come back on September 16th for the zoo-wide enrichment day where all the different s

Meet Dash and Dinari!

These two-and-a-half-month-old cheetah cubs joined the Houston Zoo as animal ambassadors for their species from two different Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos and have spent the last month behind the scenes getting to know their keepers while the veterinarian team makes sure they are healthy enough to enter our zoo family.

Dash was born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, on June 4. His mother did not show interest in him or his littermates so the decision was made to hand-rear the cubs. Dash was soon paired with a male cub, Dinari, from another litter that was also being hand-reared for the same reasons. Dinari was born at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, TX on June 11.

The Houston Zoo protects cheetahs in the wild by providing support for trained African anti-poaching scouts to walk around the areas where cheetahs live in Africa, to remove wire traps and arrest illegal hunters.

Dash and Dinari will soon make their public debut, and we will let you know when they do. Stay tuned!

Green Sea Turtle from Kipp Aquarium Returns to the Wild

Through our partnership with NOAA Galveston’s sea turtle conservation program, the Houston Zoo spent the last several months rehabilitating a green sea turtle in our Kipp Aquarium. Last Tuesday, the green sea turtle was successfully released into the Bay! NOAA Galveston responds to sea turtle strandings on the Upper Texas Coast, and when medical support and/or rehabilitation support is needed for a stranded animal, the Houston Zoo is proud to work alongside NOAA to provide this care.

Three other turtles were released last Tuesday afternoon, including an injured turtle that was found by the Foster family in the ship channel. The Foster’s reported the turtle to NOAA by calling 1-866-TURTLE-5, and the family was able to assist in its release after the turtle recovered from its injuries. Thanks to local community members like the Fosters, this turtle lived to be rehabilitated and released back into the ocean.

You can ensure Texas sea turtles are protected by reporting any injured or accidentally caught turtle to 1-866-TURTLE-5. Additionally, you can reduce your use of plastic to prevent trash from ending up in our waters, which sea turtles may mistake for food and eat. The Houston Zoo has gone plastic bottle and plastic bag free, and you can too! Try switching to reusable water bottles and fabric shopping bags to reduce your plastic consumption. Find out more about our efforts to reduce plastic pollution here.

Pup-Date: Our Baby Sea Lion Has A Name

The Houston Zoo’s baby sea lion has a name! The five-week-old male California sea lion has been named Max by two of the zoo’s donors. Jim and Beverly Postl won the honor of naming the pup at the zoo’s annual fundraising gala in April, Zoo Ball. The Postl’s are longtime Houston Zoo supporters, and Jim serves on the zoo’s board of directors. Jim says he chose the name because, “I wanted my grandsons to call me Max. However my wife and daughters thought I was out of my mind and nixed that.” So now Jim can proudly call his favorite sea lion by this beloved moniker!

The pup has also begun swim lessons behind-the-scenes. Unlike most marine mammals, sea lions don’t swim when they are born, so must be taught gradually by their mothers. Max’s mother, Cali, has been cautiously allowing Max to play in ever-increasing depths of water under the careful supervision of his trainers. Currently, Max is swimming in about three feet of water. Next, the trainers will continue to deepen the water in the pool, as well as begin introductions to the other three California sea lions, before making his public debut several weeks from now.

As ambassadors for the sustainable seafood Take Action initiative, the zoo’s sea lions help guests understand that the choices they make can save animals in the wild. The zoo’s sea lions consume 23,850 pounds of responsibly-caught, sustainable fish each year. By choosing sustainable seafood options, we can all help protect our oceans’ health.

Houston Zoo Eliminates Plastic Water Bottles

In 2015, the Houston Zoo removed plastic bags in the gift shops to protect animals in the wild, by eliminating an estimated 80,000 plastic bags from entering landfills and the environment each year. Now, two years later, the zoo-based conservation organization has gone one step further and eliminated single-use plastic water bottles from all concession stands.

The zoo provides veterinary care for rescued wild sea turtles that have consumed plastic every year.  The elimination of single-use plastic water bottles will have a significant, wildlife saving, impact on the environment by reducing the amount of plastic waste by nearly 300,000 single-use plastic bottles in just one year.

Guests now have two choices when purchasing water at the zoo – an aluminum reusable water bottle (pre-filled with water) or a JUST Water recyclable, paper-based water bottle at any of the restaurants or kiosks. JUST Water bottles are made up of 82% renewable resources, leaving behind a much smaller carbon footprint than bottles made entirely of plastic. The bottle itself is made of paper from certified forests and the plastic cap is made from sugarcane, making JUST Water bottles 100% recyclable.

The zoo also has water bottle refilling stations throughout its grounds. There are two types of refilling stations– free standing, green fountains and silver, chilled fountains attached to walls, made possible by a partnership with Texas Plumbing Supply.

These fountains are easily recognizable by the “Save Sea Turtles Here” signs. Using reusable water bottles and refilling them at these stations helps save sea turtles in the wild by keeping this waste out of the ocean. Plastic bottles and bags can make their way to Houston’s waterways and end up in the ocean, home to animals like sea turtles, sting rays, sharks, and an array of fish.

“The zoo is committed to saving animals, and their habitats, in the wild and this is just one more way we can inspire guests to take simple actions and join us in protecting wildlife,” says Peter Riger, vice president of conservation education. “We are using this action specifically to highlight the need to protect marine animals from debris. It also allows our guests to play a direct part in making a difference on our planet.”

Guests to the Houston Zoo can also purchase a reusable tote bag in its gift shops to eliminate use of single-use plastic bags. The zoo has a collection of canvas bags artistically designed with images depicting the animals that benefit from a reduction of plastic bags in the ocean. The series includes sea lions, sea turtles, and pelicans.

Community Cleans the Beach for Wildlife

On Saturday, July 15, the Houston Zoo and Whole Foods hosted a beach clean-up at the Galveston Island State Park. About 60 guests came out to help clean, collecting 15 full bags of trash and 4 full bags of recyclable items! It’s important to keep trash off the beaches, and out of the ocean, to protect the animals living there. Thank you to these wonderful volunteers!

Written by Stephanie Krail, Marketing Intern


Photo Credit: Amy Blackmon

This was my first beach clean-up to ever participate in and I am so glad it was with the Houston Zoo. The first hour I spent cleaning up the beach with the other volunteers because I wanted to see first-hand what was out there and how the volunteers were reacting to it. We had volunteers of all ages helping to clean the Galveston Island State Park. I was thrilled to see that families with young children came as this is a great way to educate a child on the importance of recycling, using reusable items, and not littering. We all had a great time seeing what we could find. It was almost like a scavenger hunt, seeing who could pick up the most unusual items. We found everything from milk jugs to soles of shoes. But the most common item that we found was plastic bottle caps. We found over a thousand bottle caps in two hours. This really shocked me as bottle caps are something that we could use less of every single day. The use of reusable bottles not only reduces the numbers of plastic bottles in the ocean but also plastic bottle caps.

Sorting trash and recycling

The last two hours we spent digging and sorting through the trash that the volunteers collected. Another popular item was cigarette butts. This was really sad for me to find because not only is it littering but it can be toxic to a marine animal if they ingest it. I was so glad to do this with the zoo because they had so much information and facts about what all we were finding. They knew which plastics were recyclable and which things had to be thrown away as trash.

Overall, it was such a neat experience and I hope that the Houston Zoo continues to hold it. This is something that you could do without a huge group or budget, all you need is a trash bag and a few helpful hands! This experience helps you see just a sliver of the trash that is out on our beaches and shores and allows you to see that something as simple as using a reusable water bottle every day really can make a difference.

Most Found Items:

  1. Plastic Bottle Caps – 1,362
  2. Tiny Plastic Pieces – 761
  3. Straws – 137

Strangest Items Found:

  1. Shoes/Shoe insoles – 3
  2. Beach Balls (still partially inflated) – 2
  3. Bathing suit – 1

Female Baby Elephant “Joy” Born at the Houston Zoo

 

After a two-year pregnancy, the wait is over for Shanti (and all of Houston!). Yesterday at 8:27 p.m., the 26-year-old Asian elephant gave birth to a 305-pound female after a short labor, and the calf began to nurse within three hours. The calf has been named Joy by the team who have dedicated their lives to the care, well-being, and conservation of these incredible animals.

Baby elephants are quite wobbly when they’re first born, so the harness you see Joy wearing below lets our elephant team help her stand steady while she’s nursing.

Shanti gave birth in the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn under the supervision of her keepers and veterinary staff. She and the calf will undergo post-natal exams and spend several days bonding behind the scenes, before they are ready for their public debut. During the bonding period, the elephant team is watching for the pair to share several key moments like communicating with mom, and hitting weight goals.

“Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly,” said Lisa Marie Avendano, vice president of animal operations at the Houston Zoo. “We look forward to continuing to watch Joy and Shanti bond, and introducing her to Houston.”

This is an exhilarating summer for the elephant team. In May, the zoo opened an expanded elephant habitat which doubled the entire elephant complex and immerses guests into the lives and culture of Asian elephants. The new bull barn and expanded yard gives more room for this growing herd.

Just by visiting the Houston Zoo, guests help save baby elephants and their families in the wild. A portion of each zoo admission and membership goes straight to protecting an estimated 200-250 wild elephants in Asia. Since the Houston Zoo started its work in Borneo in 2007, there has been a doubling of the elephant population on the island. The Houston Zoo also provides funds for elephant conservationist, Nurzhafarina “Farina” Othman and her team in Asia, to put tracking collars on wild elephants. This group uses collars to follow wild elephants, conducting valuable research that aids in protecting the elephants as they travel through the forests. Farina also spends time working with farmers that grow and produce palm oil, offering her guidance in responsible cultivation practices that are wildlife-friendly.

Palm oil is an ingredient in many foods and cosmetics, typically grown in areas that were previously home to animals like wild elephants. Converting pristine forests into oil palm plantations has caused extensive deforestation across Southeast Asia.  Luckily, a growing number of producers are working to protect these areas and the animals that live there. The Houston Zoo encourages people to protect elephants in the wild by supporting companies that use responsibly sourced palm oil, increasing demand for palm oil that is grown and produced without destroying the forested homes of elephants.

Pen Pals to Save Okapi: “How Do Zoos Help?”

Written by Mary Fields and M’monga Jean Paul

For this pen pals blog, we asked our conservation partner, Jean Paul from the Okapi Conservation Project, what he thinks about zoos. The first question we asked was, “What do you think of zoos and why are zoos good?” Here’s Jean Paul’s response:

Keepers Kendall and John talking to guests about how to help okapis in the wild.

Zoos bring people and animals together. By doing this, zoos have the potential to educate the public about conservation issues and inspire people to protect animals and their habitats. Zoos also carry out important research into subjects like animal behaviour and treating illnesses.”

Our second question was, “How do zoos help out animals in the wild?” His response was:

“Zoos protect species from going extinct. A species protected in captivity provides a reservoir population against a population crash or extinction in the wild. A good number of species only exist in captivity and still more only exist in the wild because they have been reintroduced from zoos. Without these efforts there would be fewer species alive today and the world as a whole would be poorer for it.”

Sukari is an ambassador for okapis in the wild.

We agree with Jean Paul, zoos are important! From helping out injured sea turtles from the Gulf of Mexico, to uniting with other AZA facilities to protect the critically endangered vaquita porpoise; the Houston Zoo and many other zoos are saving animals in the wild.

To help okapis in the wild, you can recycle your cell phones at the Houston Zoo’s entrance. And the easiest way to help is just by visiting the Houston Zoo! A portion of every admission and members fee goes to help programs like the Okapi Conservation Project.

Make sure to follow our blog to continue learning about okapi conservation and hear more from Jean Paul!

Baby Boom at the Zoo!

Babies, babies, and more babies! This June has seen a massive baby boom throughout the Houston Zoo, with the biggest baby yet to come when later this summer, the zoo will welcome a 250-300-pound Asian elephant calf.

 

A California sea lion pup was born to first-time mother, Cali, on June 26 after a three-hour labor. The pup and Cali began to bond immediately, and nursing was spotted within hours. The sex of the pup has not yet been determined and the mother and pup will spend a while behind the scenes strengthening their bond before they are ready to make their first public appearance.

This birth is the second sea lion pup to be born at the Houston Zoo in the past year. TJ, was born to Cali’s sister Kamia just last summer.

The sea lions at the Houston Zoo play a major part in the zoo’s Take Action conservation initiatives. As ambassadors for the sustainable seafood program, the sea lions help guests understand that the simple choices they make can have a big impact on animals. The zoo’s sea lions eat 23,850 pounds of responsibly-caught, sustainable fish each year. Sustainable seafood is defined as seafood that is either responsibly wild-caught or farm-raised that not only keeps current populations of marine wildlife at balanced numbers, but ensures they thrive over the long term. The methods by which the seafood is harvested or raised must not cause undue harm to the ocean. The Houston Zoo strongly believes that embracing the use of sustainable seafood is one of the best ways we can all protect our oceans’ health.

Two red river hogs were born to first-time-mother, Luna, on Tuesday, June 27. This is the first litter of red river hogs to be born at the Houston Zoo since they were brought to Texas in 2015 for Gorillas of the African Forest. Though gorillas and red river hogs share the same forest lands in Africa, this is truly a unique experience as you won’t see them together in a shared habitat in any other zoo.

The two yet-to-be-named hoglets made their public debut today, and can be seen frolicking in the dry riverbed of the habitat along with their mother and the other two adult hogs, Neptune and Vidalia.

The Houston Zoo is protecting red river hogs in the wild by providing funding for wildlife saving education programs in the area the hogs live in Africa.  The education programs guide local people to protecting red river hogs and other local animals in the wild.

In the zoo’s aquarium department, a fever of five white blotched river stingrays were born on Sunday, June 18. The stingrays are currently behind the scenes in quarantine. They have joined the fever (or group) of stingrays that were born in January 2017 and a few born in October 2016.

Stingrays are ovoviviparous, meaning they bear live young. Once the female stingray gives birth, the babies are left on their own. They have a yolk sac from which they absorb nutrients until they can eat on their own. Stingrays, both in the wild and at the zoo, enjoy meals of worms and shrimp.

As their name would suggest, the white blotched river stingrays have several white spots on their backs. This helps them to camouflage in the rocky bottom riverbeds where they reside in the Amazon River Basin of South America. Each white blotched river stingray is unique; no two have the same spot pattern.

The Houston Zoo is working to ensure a safe environment for rays in the wild.  Plastic bags can end up in water ways and be dangerous for aquatic animals.

Guests can see two, recently hatched Palawan peacock-pheasant chicks being raised by their mother in the zoo’s Birds of the World habitat.

This small threatened pheasant species is only found on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. The males of this species are brightly colored and have eye spots on their tails, which are used in a courtship display to attract females.

The Palawan peacock-pheasant lays a clutch of two eggs that hatch after an incubation period of 18 to 20 days. The Species Survival Plan for this species is managed by Houston Zoo bird department supervisor, Mollie Coym. The zoo is helping to save this species in the wild through the Take Action Initiative for Palm Oil. Guests can also help this species in the wild by checking labels and purchasing products made with sustainable palm oil.

Ten African bush vipers were born on June 11 inside the zoo’s Reptile and Amphibian House. Like most pit vipers, the neonates were born live instead of hatched from eggs like many other types of snakes. These tiny vipers weigh-in at a mere two grams when born and are expected to grow to be between 18-24 inches long. Bush vipers vary in color, mostly shades of green, but can also be bright yellow, grey, even red.

These snakes are found in the tropical rainforests of western and central Africa and get their name from their preference for lower bushes rather than the tall canopy trees. The baby snakes will remain behind-the-scenes while they continue to grow. The Houston Zoo is saving African bush vipers in the wild by providing funds for education programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that empower local people to protect the forested homes of the wild African bush viper.

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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: www.houstonzoo.org/blog/mourning-loss-geriatric-jaguar-kan-balam/
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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: https://www.houstonzoo.org/blog/mourning-loss-geriatric-jaguar-kan-balam/

 

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?

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. 😔

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.

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.

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 ..

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

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.

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?

Beautiful jaguar ....so 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

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!!

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.

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! 😂

Brrrrr

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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