Houston Zoo Conservation Partner Visits the United States-Part II

This blog was written by Valerie Akuredusenge, the Program Director of Conservation Heritage-Turambe (CHT). CHT is a conservation partner of the Houston Zoo. Valerie visited us in March to build her capacity and skills to further educate local communities living alongside Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. This is one blog in a series about Valerie’s experience in the United States.

Hi there. This is Valerie Akuredusenge, the Program Director of Conservation Heritage – Turambe with more news about my visit at Houston Zoo.

Martha Parker, the Houston Zoo staff member took me to the Zoo as I continued to enjoy my visit. I was very excited to see how big the Zoo is and what kinds of animals are calling the Zoo their home. To be honest with you, I couldn’t visit all animals in the Zoo but it was my goal. The Houston Zoo is huge!! I was only able to see about half of the animals in the Zoo.  Regarding the animals I saw, some were familiar to me, others I had no idea they have ever existed on this Planet Earth!  I was so impressed by seeing the coral reef. I went back home to Rwanda and shared my experiences, but even so, my colleagues back in Rwanda do not get the idea about what is the coral reef. I will try to keep explaining it to them.

I learned a lot from my visit with the Houston Zoo and still cannot finish telling the story about it.

I learned about the cell phone recycling system that is helping save gorillas in wild.

Valerie posing with the Zoo's recycled cell phone statue.
Valerie posing with the Zoo’s recycled cell phone statue.

I learned about the recycling and reusing methods at Houston Zoo.

Palm oil tree created by our primate staff to showcase the everyday items that contain palm oil, and which companies to buy from who are making palm oil in a way friendly to wildlife.
Palm oil tree created by our primate staff to showcase the everyday items that contain palm oil, and which companies to buy from who are making palm oil in a way friendly to wildlife.

They are growing a vegetable garden at Houston Zoo. And guess what – we are doing the same thing at CHT too!

Children's Zoo vegetable garden-complete with a rain barrel to harvest and catch rain water.
Children’s Zoo vegetable garden-complete with a rain barrel to harvest and catch rain water.

Once again, thank you very much Houston Zoo for hosting me. I learned a lot during my visit which I have started applying and sharing at Conservation Heritage – Turambe (CHT). More to come soon!

From Plastic Bottles to Protecting Tamarins: News from our friends in Colombia

Blog written by our friends at Proyecto Titi in Colombia.

Cotton-top tamarin, which Proyecto Titi works to protect in the wild in Colombia
Cotton-top tamarin, which Proyecto Titi works to protect in the wild in Colombia

From Plastic Bottles to Protecting Tamarins: First Tití Posts Installed at Tití’s Biological Reserve

With a turn of a shovel and a pound of a hammer, members of Proyecto Tití installed 100 Tití Posts this month to build a fence around Tití’s Biological Reserve in San Juan. Tití Posts have a huge impact on cotton-top tamarins as they protect a reserve designed especially for our fluffy haired friends and also reduce the need to harvest wood for traditional fence posts. However, their impact doesn’t end there! Tití Posts are made from recycled plastic collected by local community members. This reduces contamination of land and waterways and allows families to earn a small income from collecting plastic. We are so thankful to all of you that have donated to our “Save a Tree, Save a Tamarin” campaign to help us make and install these new posts. We still have more forest to protect and more cotton-top tamarins to conserve, so visit the project here to support the Tití Post campaign. A donation of $15 can help both cotton-top tamarins and local community members in Colombia.

Cleaning up plastic trash to make the Titi posts.
Cleaning up plastic trash to make the Titi posts.
The Titi posts, made from recycled plastic, ready to be used!
The Titi posts, made from recycled plastic, ready to be used!
The final product!
The final product!

Save Amphibians by Recycling Your Batteries!

Houston Toad 2

Batteries, Wildlife, and How You Can Take Action

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 the environment and wildlife in mind. If you have a surplus of used batteries, be them alkaline or rechargeable, you can take them to your local recycling center to ensure that the remaining chemicals and substances don’t harshly affect the wildlife that’s directly outside your doors!

Any battery that is disposed of in a landfill (like if you toss them in your normal trash), or that finds its way into the environment, has the potential to leak its old chemicals into the soils and waters that wildlife like amphibians call home.

Because amphibians like frogs, toads, even salamanders, have skin that can easily absorb liquids found in damp soils or the waters and streams they frequent, they can get sick from things like leaking batteries. Often, harsh or foreign chemical interactions can affect populations long-term by changing the behavior of animals, affecting female or male reproductive abilities or even influencing the development of eggs.

The Zoo works to help our local amphibians by recycling our alkaline and rechargeable batteries with a company that specializes in battery disposal. You can do the same by finding your local recycling center; if you’re in Houston you can go to the Westpark Consumer Recycling Center and they will take most options besides alkaline. You can also recycle more than the typical AA, AAA, C, and D batteries – items like power tools, cars, small electronics like tablets or smart phones, hearing aids, watches, and all manner of things take a variety of batteries.

By using rechargeable batteries you can also ensure that the materials that were mined to make your batteries last for a much longer time period than with single-use alkaline batteries. Rechargeable batteries will go dull over time, but you can get multiple uses out of them and lessen the stress on the environment by finding products and items that you can use over and over before recycling!

How Our Staff Recycles Batteries at the Zoo

 

Battery Sign Zoo Events

On Zoo grounds we will often offer recycling information that you can see when you visit. We recommend you take your batteries to a local recycling center to ensure they don’t end up in landfills that can encroach on the space of wildlife as well as affect the soils and waters amphibians and other animals call home.

Houston Toad Battery 1.0

Behind the scenes, our staff utilize a special battery drop-off for spent batteries. By encouraging staff to recycle these items the Zoo is able to see how many batteries we use as an organization, and how many we use that are rechargeable! Alkaline batteries are not rechargeable, so taking a look at our staff battery needs shows us where we could potentially get more rechargeable batteries rather than single-use alkaline batteries. We can also weigh our battery recycling over time and see how much space we have saved in landfills and how many batteries have been prevented from harshly affecting our wildlife habitats.Houston Toad Battery 1.3

Be Safe When Collecting Batteries for Recycling

 

Houston Toad Battery 1.1

Alkaline: these are more often the common batteries like AA, AAA, C, or D as well as 9-Volt. Do not store any of these batteries together without packaging. Once they have been used there is still potential for them to ‘pop’ open as there are residual chemicals that can be discharged and react with other batteries they are near. This could cause injury if someone is nearby. The 9-Volt batteries are commonly used in your fire alarms and are properly prepared for the recycling center by putting duct-tape over the positive and negative transistors (basically, the top two prongs need to be covered so they don’t come into contact with other batteries). Note that some centers do not accept alkaline batteries for recycling.

Rechargeable: these batteries are widely used in items like power-tools, phone batteries, laptop batteries, or even your more common AA, AAA, C, D, and 9-Volt options. There are no alkaline battery options that cannot be replaced with rechargeable options. You will find rechargeable batteries in forms of Nickel Cadmium (NiCd), Lithium-ion (Li-ion), and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH). All of these batteries have the potential to get hot and should be packaged separately from each other in preparation for recycling; Li-ion should be particularly tended to in ensuring there is no other metal or battery contact once discharged.

This is a sustainability reference document. 

2015 Wildlife Warriors!

A huge thank you to all of our amazing nominees for the Houston Zoo Wildlife Warrior award. Their work shows how they are incredible heroes! After much careful thought our selection committee has decided on our 2015 Houston Zoo Wildlife Warriors. These exceptional leaders demonstrated excellence and were selected based on their outstanding work in the field. Below is the criteria for the award.

Qualifications:

  • Has to be a current employee of an existing Houston Zoo Wildlife Conservation partner
  • Nominated by an existing Houston Zoo Wildlife Conservation partner
  • Grassroots community conservationist, local employee from the project region( local people on the front lines of conservation)
  • Performed extraordinary things in their communities to save wildlife

 

Here are the 2015 Wildlife Warriors:

Ayubu Msago

Where he is from:
Born in Tanzania

Why he is a Wildlife Warrior:
Ayubu Msago has been the Ruaha Carnivore Project’s community liaison officer since 2009, but has dedicated his whole life to wildlife conservation. Msago gave up his job to come and help start RCP under very difficult conditions – there were only 3 people living in small tents in a remote wilderness area, and the local Barabaig tribe were extremely hostile. Msago worked tirelessly to build a project field camp, and spent years patiently building relationships with the Barabaig, who were killing dozens of lions annually. One night, a young Barabaig girl went missing, so Msago helped organize a search party and searched for 3 days till she was found, very dehydrated but alive. This helped him bond with the fearsome Barabaig warriors, and he became the first outsider they accepted and were willing to work with. Msago tirelessly leads local conservation efforts to help villagers prevent carnivore attacks, even sleeping at households in danger of attack to deter carnivores. He heroically saved the life of a villager who was being attacked by a lion, at extreme risk to his own life, by shooting over the head of the lioness to scare her off the severely injured man and then driving him to the hospital more than 2½ hours away. Long-term conservation depends upon local people seeing real benefits from conservation, so Msago has dedicated years to developing meaningful community benefit initiatives which are linked to wildlife presence. He led local efforts to equip a healthcare clinic, helped establish secondary school scholarships for pastoralist children, developed a program to link village schools with international schools, and implemented Tanzania’s first specialized livestock guarding dog program. He is endlessly passionate about conservation – he conducts wildlife DVD nights in local villages, which have engaged over 20,000 people, and has taken hundreds of warriors, women and schoolchildren on educational Park visits. Living hundreds of miles from his wife and children, Msago is working exceptionally hard to conserve some of the world’s most important carnivore populations, while also helping local communities see real benefits from carnivore presence.

How the award will help:
This award will send Msago to another lion conservation project, the Niassa Lion Project in Mozambique, to learn from their programs to save lions.


 

George Kakule

 

weWhere he is from:
Born in Democratic Republic of Congo

Why he is a Wildlife Warrior:
George has been with Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education GRACE in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)since its inception in 2008. Hired as a driver, he was quickly promoted to Facility Manager due to his impressive technical expertise, unparalleled work ethic, and outstanding leadership qualities. His commitment is unwavering. George even stayed with the project throughout a period of insecurity in 2009. To us, George is considered absolutely irreplaceable, as we depend on him in so many ways, from repairing solar panels at the gorilla facility to expertly navigating North Kivu’s treacherous roads to safely transport staff, supplies, and rescued gorillas. George’s accomplishments in 2015, however, show how exceptional he is.

Fourteen gorilla orphans now live at GRACE in a single surrogate family group. GRACE’s ultimate goal is to reintroduce them into their natural habitat, where they can help save the rapidly
dwindling wild Grauer’s gorilla population. For the past three years, George led a massive construction initiative to build the world’s largest forest enclosure to give gorillas an environment
to practice survival-critical skills (e.g., foraging, nest building, coordinating group movements) in preparation for their return to the wild. This groundbreaking achievement, which was completed
in March, was accomplished in one of Africa’s most remote places and all labor was done by hand. George’s team employed over 200 people from local communities, so this project truly
“took a village”.

How the award will help:
This award will send George to a computer training course in the Democratic Republic of Congo to improve his abilities to communicate and share his talents.


 

Jeneria Lekilelei

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Where he is from:
Born in Northern Kenya

Why he is a Wildlife Warrior:
Jeneria grew up in Westgate Community Conservancy in northern Kenya. As a Samburu herder, he saw lions only as livestock killers – a threat to his livelihood. In 2008,
however, Jeneria joined Ewaso Lions, whose mission is to conserve lions and other large carnivores by promoting coexistence between people and wildlife.

First working as a Lion Scout and then a Field Assistant, Jeneria learnt that the animal he always knew as a threat was actually itself threatened and wanted to change this. He realised the only way to protect lions would be to engage his own age-class – Samburu warriors; a group traditionally neglected from conservation but who play a central role in protecting their communities and livestock from external threats. In 2010, Jeneria conceived the idea for Warrior Watch, Ewaso Lions’ flagship program.

Warrior Watch encourages warriors to become ambassadors in their communities, raising awareness about carnivores, and advocating for peaceful coexistence. It builds on their traditional protection role by increasing capacity to mitigate human-carnivore conflict and leverages their presence in wildlife areas to monitor threatened species and record conflict incidents. Today, Jeneria manages a network of 18 warriors across 4 Community Conservancies (673 square miles), coordinating their work based on lion movements, and providing leadership and training.

When valuable livestock is lost, tensions can run high but because of his deep connection to the community and constant outreach, Jeneria is usually the first person his community
contacts. Jeneria often intervenes and risks his own life to protect lions. In the past 5 years, Jeneria and his warriors have prevented over 35 retaliatory attacks on lions.

Jeneria has shown such tremendous growth and talent that he has taken on a significant leadership role. As Field Operations and Community Manager, he spends countless hours in the field monitoring lions (covering 1,157 square miles), leads community workshops, and provides management for Ewaso Lions’ community programs: Mama Simba, Lion Kids Camps, and Lion Watch.

Jeneria has already made a significant impact on the survival of lions in Samburu and is shaping up to be a key leader for lion conservation in Kenya.

How the award will help:
This award will send Jeneria to a leadership course that will strengthen his peacemaking skills to encourage peaceful solutions for local people living with lions.

FullSizeRender
Houston Zoo staff with Wildlife Warrior, Jeneria.

The Houston Zoo is so grateful for and proud of all of these outstanding wildlife saving heroes!

Houston Zoo Wildlife Partners Work Together to Save Gorillas!

The Houston Zoo partners with organizations around the world to save wildlife. In Central Africa, we partner with 3 organizations (GRACE, Gorilla Doctors and Conservation Heritage-Turambe) who all work to save gorillas in the wild. These organizations often work together to achieve their missions of making sure gorillas are safe in the wild. Below is an update from Conservation Heritage-Turambe who recently had a Gorilla Doctors staff member visit their classroom to teach Rwandan youth about what it’s like to work in the field as a veterinarian for wild gorillas.

Blog written by Valerie Akuredusenge, Program Director of the conservation education program, Conservation Heritage-Turambe (Rwanda). 

Conservation Heritage – Turambe (CHT) partners with Gorilla Doctors on messaging and leading classes on the conservation and protection of the critically endangered mountain gorillas. Last week, Dr. Methode Bahizi (Gorilla Doctors) came to a CHT class to talk about when, why, and how they treat mountain gorillas.

Dr. Methode Bahizi from Gorilla Doctors discusses when, why and how they treat mountain gorillas in the field.
Dr. Methode Bahizi from Gorilla Doctors discusses when, why and how they treat mountain gorillas in the field.

During his discussion with students, he focused on activities that Gorillas Doctors do such as monitoring the health of gorillas, treating ill and injured gorillas, doing research, conducting necropsies and collecting samples to analyze them. He also demonstrated how they treat gorillas using real equipment.

Dr. Methode Bahizi shows some of the equipment used by Gorilla Doctors to CHT students.
Dr. Methode Bahizi shows some of the equipment used by Gorilla Doctors to CHT students.

This lesson is very important for CHT students because they learn about their community’s natural resources. In addition, Rwandan students see someone from their local community with a very important conservation job, which helps them to understand what jobs they could grow up and have if they work hard.

Gorilla Doctors staff demonstrates how they use dart guns to treat sick gorillas in the wild.
Gorilla Doctors staff demonstrates how they use dart guns to treat sick gorillas in the wild.

During the lesson, CHT students realize how their health is really linked to that of mountain gorillas.  Humans get the same illnesses that mountain gorillas get such as pneumonia, intestinal parasites (protozoans or worms) and some of these parasites affect humans and gorillas equally.

Using a stuffed gorilla toy, Dr. Methode acts out the entire scenario one may go through while treating/taking care of a sick gorilla.
Using a stuffed gorilla toy, Dr. Methode acts out the entire scenario one may go through while treating/taking care of a sick gorilla.

CHT team thanks so much Gorilla Doctors for coming to class to keep on inspiring the future conservationists of Rwanda.

You can help gorillas all the way from Houston by simply visiting the Zoo! A portion of every ticket sold goes directly to our wildlife saving efforts. In addition, you can recycle your small electronics (like cell phones) at our main gate. These electronics contain a material mined in gorilla habitat and when we recycle that material, less of it needs to be mined from the homes of gorillas. Find out more about taking action at the Houston Zoo here!

The Houston Zoo Wildlife Warrior Award

The Houston Zoo created a new program called Wildlife Warriors to honor the outstanding heroes from developing countries protecting their local wildlife.  Wildlife Warriors are awarded with an a educational experience (training course, exchange to another related conservation project, etc.) of their choosing and a $500 donation to their conservation program efforts.

These brave individuals are on the front lines protecting lemurs, tapirs, lions, gorillas and other wildlife in harsh landscapes.  They are over coming all odds to save species from extinction and we want to make sure their efforts are recognized.

Meet our outstanding candidates for the Houston Zoo 2015 Wildlife Warriors!  Our selection committee had a hard time selecting the winners, but stay tuned to see who fit the criteria for the award the best.

 

Ayubu Msago is saving lion and other wildlife in Africa.

Msago was born in Tanzania and works for the Ruaha Carnivore Project in Tanzania.  He heroically saved the life of a villager who was being attacked by a lion, at extreme risk to his own life. Msago has helped establish school scholarships for children, developed a program to link village schools with international schools, and implemented Tanzania’s first specialized livestock guarding dog program for locals to live peacefully with lions.

The Houston Zoo Wildlife Warrior award would enable Msago the opportunity to go to the Niassa Lion Project in Mozambique to learn from their programs to save lions.


Gabriel Massocato

Gabriel Massocato is saving giant armadillos and other wildlife in Brazil.

Gabriel was born in Brazil and started working for the Giant Armadillo project in Brazil in 2011. Gabriel´s progress as a field biologist has been outstanding. He has excellent field skills, loves to share his knowledge with trainees, is a great project spokesman and is easily able to convey his passion for our work to local people.

The Wild Warrior Award could enable Gabriel to take an English course.


weGeorge Kayisavira is saving gorillas in Africa.

George was born in Democratic Republic of Congo and has worked with GRACE gorilla project since 2008.  George led a massive construction initiative to build the world’s largest forest enclosure to give orphaned gorillas an area to recover in until they can be reintroduced into the wild. George’s team employed over 200 people from local communities.

The Houston Zoo Wildlife Warrior award would give George the opportunity to take a computer training course in Rwanda to improve his abilities to communicate and share his talents.


 

Ewaso Lion3_photo Tony Allport

Jeneria Lekilele saving lions and other wildlife in Africa.

Jeneria grew up in Kenya and works for Ewaso Lions in Kenya.  He often intervenes and risks his own life to protect lions. He created an idea called Warrior Watch. Warrior Watch encourages locals to become wildlife protectors in their communities. He trains and manages the warriors to track lions and watch over the lions.  coordinating their work based on lion movements.

The Houston Zoo Wildlife Warrior award would enable Jeneria to participate in a leadership course that would strengthen his peacemaking skills to encourage peaceful solutions for local people living with lions.


 

jose Ralison

José Ralison saving lemurs and other wildlife in Africa.

José was born and raised in Madagascar and is currently a technical coordinator within the GERP association (an organization for primates’ study and research).  José is always providing training for the local communities so that they can protect plants and wildlife.  He has published lemur conservation articles in both national and international journals.  Jose listens to local people to empower them to assist with conservation efforts.

The Wildlife Warrior award could give Jose training in communication skills.


 

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Valerie Akuredusenge is saving gorillas and other wildlife in Africa.

Valerie grew up in Gakenke District in the Northern Province of Rwanda and is the Program Director for Conservation Heritage – Turambe.  She has taught over 3,200 children in communities bordering Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park about how to maintain healthy lives for the health of the local communities and the local gorilla population.  She is creating the next generation of Rwanda’s wildlife conservationists by inspiring local students to care about their natural resources, and act on behalf of wildlife and habitats.

The Wildlife Warrior award could give Valerie the opportunity to visit other conservation organization’s education programs.

 

 

Houston Zoo Stickers Protecting Wildlife in Africa

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We love our painted dogs at the Zoo and are partnering with people in Zimbabwe to protect them in the wild.  In May of this year the Houston Zoo designed a sticker for Painted Dog Conservation to save wildlife in Zimbabwe. The sticker features a phone number that people can call to report any illegal wildlife activity or report on sightings of Painted dogs in the area. The message on the sticker is in the three local languages.

Dominic and the local chief
Dominic and the local chief

Dominic J. Nyathi, Conservation Clubs & Programs Coordinator of Painted Dog Conservation has reported that the community has been very excited about the stickers and the hotline calls are increasing as a result.

Here is their recent report.

We had praises and appreciation on the language used from the Chief.

Last week, the volunteers found a snared antelope during their patrol and used the line to get in touch with the APU manager. 

We have discovered a new pack in the forestry area that is near the communal land. People have called us to let us know of their presence.

We have also made some arrest through the hotline. A poacher was arrested through the tip from the line.

Another woman was also arrested when found selling some meat through the line. It was later discovered by the police that she got the meat from hunters.

We have also received some messages on wildlife crimes.

The stickers have been given to village heads to use them in their community meetings.

The stickers are doing great and all need them. Motorists also want them on their vehicle!”

Local people in Zimbabwe with sticker
Local people in Zimbabwe with sticker

Bottle It Up! Bottled Water Facts & Figures

The past twenty years have seen a phenomenal boom in the use of bottled water. While many of us find the packaging convenient, what is the cost of that convenience to the environment? Did you know:

  • Each bottle requires triple its own volume in water, just to be manufactured
  • The fuel consumed annually in the transportation of bottled water could fuel 1 million cars for a year
  • Nearly half of the water on store shelves is bottled from municipal supplies (tap water)
  • The earth’s freshwater supply is being depleted as it is redistributed, consumed, and emptied into the sea
  • Only about one out of five plastic bottles ever gets recycled

Whale bottle

The good news is, there are things we can all do to bring positive change!  The Houston Zoo has already eliminated plastic shopping bags from our gift shops in favor of stylish canvas alternatives, and recycling receptacles can be found throughout the Zoo. As always, a portion of every ticket or membership sold supports local and international conservation programs.

What can you do? Helping at home is easy!  Do your part to save the environment, money, and wildlife by filtering water at the tap or from a pitcher. Even sodas can be made at home! Then, fill up a reusable water bottle when you go out. Make sure waste is disposed of properly; reduce or reuse it whenever possible.

Saving Sea Turtles in the Gulf – Part 1

Greetings from Panama City! The Houston Zoo recently visited Florida with our partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to test turtle excluder devices (TEDs) for fisheries across the globe to incorporate into their shrimp nets. These TEDs are critical – and required by federal law – to ensure the safety of sea turtles while fishermen work to provide some of our favorite seafood, like shrimp!

Turtle excluder devices help protect sea turtles, like this guy, from shrimp nets!
Turtle excluder devices help protect sea turtles, like this guy, from shrimp nets!

Every summer NOAA staff spends three weeks in Panama City testing newly-constructed or tweaked TED designs that will, if approved, later be used by fishermen. Turtle excluder devices are used to allow fishermen to catch animals like shrimp, while excluding animals like sea turtles that may accidentally be caught in their nets.

Each year, about 200 sea turtles are driven to Florida from Galveston to test each TED, and about 25 turtles will attempt to swim through each TED. That’s a lot of turtles and swim time! The sea turtles are then released back into the wild after the weeks of TED testing.

Our partners at NOAA Galveston spend all year getting the sea turtles in their care ready for this critical work! This year, they allowed Houston Zoo staff to come along and observe the process of ensuring shrimp nets around the world are safe for sea turtles.

ST-blog
The Zoo’s vet team provides veterinary care to sea turtles brought in from Galveston.

In addition to field work assistance in Panama City this summer, the Houston Zoo helps save sea turtles in a number of ways. One way the Zoo helps is by providing veterinary care to sea turtles brought in from Galveston, sometimes also housing rehabilitating sea turtles at the Zoo in the Kipp Aquarium. The Zoo also hosts sea turtle events at the Zoo to increase awareness, participates in weekly beach surveys to look for stranded or nesting sea turtles, and serves only ocean-friendly seafood to Zoo animals and guests!

Be sure to check back soon for more information on TED testing in Panama City!

Houstonians are Saving Rhinos in the Wild

Standing SophiephotoA young Houstonian is doing all she can to save her favorite animals in the wild.  Sophie held a bake sale in her local Houston neighborhood and this was the invitation that was sent out last month.

Well, I love rhinos (among other zoo animals)! And I just discovered that I love baking! Combine those two, and what do you get? A bake sale for rhinos (and other zoo animals)!
Come over to my house to enjoy Sophie’s Cookie Bar, featuring my favorite recipes, including:
Chocolate Mint, Peanut Butter Chunk, and my special Leslie Chip cookies (milk chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, and chocolate filled with caramel chips).  All proceeds will benefit the Houston Zoo’s conservation efforts!”

Sophiephoto

Sophie’s Bake Sale was a huge success and she raised $1,033 to save animals in the wild! She also sold the Zoo’s conservation bracelets along with her delicious cookies.

Sophie moneyphoto
Sophie has been raising funds and awareness for rhinos for the past few years. She designed her own special rhino shirt and continues to recruit everyone she can to join her in her quest to protect rhinos from extinction.

Standing sophiebackphoto

 

Thank you, Sophie and supporters of the bake sale! thThanks to Houston Zoo friends like Sophie, last year we funded a major conservation effort to reintroduce 20 black rhinos into the wild. Remember, just coming through the gates of the Zoo is saving animals in the wild. A portion of every Zoo admission ticket goes straight to helping animals in the 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: 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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