Saving the World's Most Critically Endangered Antelope

Houston Zoo partner, Hirola Conservation Program, is working hard to save a beautiful and unique antelope called a hirola. This species is endemic (only found in a small area) to northeastern Kenya and southwest Somalia, and they are critically endangered. The latest aerial survey in 2011 estimated that only 300-500 hirola are left! Read on to learn about hirola and what the Hirola Conservation Program is doing to protect these animals.

hirola editHirola At A Glance:

  • Slender, medium sized antelope that eats short grasses
  • Distinctive glands below each eye giving the appearance of four eyes
  • Now found only in the Kenya- Somali border region,
  • 40 years ago they numbered close to 10,000 but only 300-500 remain today
  • There are no hirola living in captivity

hirola pictureThreats to Hirola:

  • Habitat loss
  • Drought & disease
  • Poaching

About the Hirola Conservation Program:
Director and founder of the Hirola Conservation Program, Abdullah H. Ali, is a native Kenyan working to save wildlife in Kenya, Ijara District. A PhD candidate at the University of Wyoming and EDGE Fellow at ZSL, “Ali” has a long-term conservation plan to save hirola in Kenya through scientific research, habitat restoration, and strengthening community-based conservation and education efforts.

How You Can Make A Difference:
Just by learning about hirola, you are helping to spread awareness about this endangered species. You can also view this page to view updates on Hirola Conservation Program’s progress and donate to their efforts.

Magnificent Madagascar Turtles!

This post was written by Bailey Cheney.

mad close upIf you’ve stopped by the ring-tailed lemur exhibit at Wortham World of Primates recently, you might have seen some turtles basking in the sun. Often, while keepers feed the lemurs, they get asked if they’re real turtles. This is because the turtles sit perfectly still as they enjoy the heat from the sun. The answer is yes; they are real turtles. In fact, they’re Madagascar big-headed turtles (Erymnochelys madagascariensis). These turtles can be found in the western lowland river basins of Madagascar. In the wild, they spend most of their time basking on logs, rocks, and river banks, pretty much exactly what they enjoy doing in our lemur exhibit.

Erymnochelys madagascariensis are fresh water turtles. They eat plant matter as well as fish and small invertebrates. Madagascar big-headed turtles are critically endangered turtles. This decline in wild populations is because of  habitat fragmentation and destruction in Madagascar. Oftentimes, they are forced to move from their habitat because of the agricultural industry in the country. Much of this agriculture and habitat destruction occurs on their nesting grounds as well. This, coupled with the fact that females lay eggs only every other year, does not bode well for the Madagascar big-headed turtle. They are, unfortunately, also caught and killed for their meat and for the traditional medicine trade in Asia. Surprisingly, this is a common plight that many turtle species face.

Mad babies

Because of their critical state, several conservation efforts are being undertaken to make sure that they continue their survival. Collaborations with local Malagasy fishermen and local people is the most important current conservation effort. Locals are being taught how vital these turtles are to the ecosystem and how to avoid damaging them and their nest sites. A conservation program is only as strong as the community who supports it; hence, it is always essential to have the support of the local people. Captive breeding is another conservation effort being undertaken. The Houston Zoo is an active participant in this breeding program. Our Madagascar big-headed turtles have produced several clutches of eggs and will hopefully continue to do so. If you’re interested in seeing their offspring, then you should head over to the Reptile House (they’re pretty cute)! And, of course, you must visit the magnificent adults who share their exhibit with our lemurs!

Working with Conservation Partners in the Galapagos Islands

The Houston Zoo is proud to partner with organizations around the world that actively save wildlife. We have been working in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador for many years, providing expertise in veterinary medicine as well as environmental education.

Educators participate in an activity about their unique islands led by our partners at Ecology Project International
Educators participate in an activity about their unique islands led by our partners at Ecology Project International

This past week, Houston Zoo staff visited the Galapagos to help facilitate a 3-day workshop with local teachers who wanted to improve their skills and knowledge in environmental education. 8 educators from 3 different islands attended the workshop. Most of these teachers are not only in charge of their day-to-day classes, but also lead Eco-Clubs after school with children of various ages.

4In collaboration with our local partners, Ecology Project International (EPI) and Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Program (GTMEP), as well as the Galapagos Conservation Trust and the St. Louis Zoo, we led various activities and trainings focused on conservation education and engaging students in hands-on science and research. Thanks to our partners, we even had the opportunity to bring these educators out into the field to track wild Galapagos tortoises and learn about radio telemetry!

Workshop participants practice using radio telemetry in the field!
Workshop participants practice using radio telemetry in the field!

In addition to tracking tortoises, a favorite activity from the workshop included hearing from several local teenage students about their experience participating in EPI’s successful after-school environmental club. In this club, students play a major role in determining club activities. Students in this program complete beach cleanups, work with the Galapagos National Park to count and monitor green sea turtle nests on local beaches and carry out plastic campaigns, visiting local schools to talk about the importance of not only recycling, but using less plastic in general. EPI’s environmental club was an incredible model to show to the participants of the workshop to help generate more ideas for activities they could take back and use on their respective islands.

In total, the workshop was a big success and the participants walked away with more knowledge and tools to engage their students in environmental education!


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.

What is Coltan? What is Tantalum? How You Can Help!

Written by Joshua Cano

willie chimpDid you know that you can help tens of thousands of animals in the wild with one simple action? In today’s world almost everyone has some type of electronic device. You are most likely reading this blog on your personal computer, tablet or cell phone. These and most other electronic devices share one thing in common, an element called tantalum. Tantalum is used in your microprocessors, cameras, and circuit boards. This important component is mined throughout the world, but it is destroying national parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Materials used to manufacture cell phones are taken from places where animals like chimpanzees and gorillas live.
Materials used to manufacture cell phones are taken from places where animals like chimpanzees and gorillas live.

Tantalum is often mistaken for coltan, which stands for the 2 ores, columbite and tantalite, which are found together. When refined, the ore tantalite becomes metallic tantalum. These ores are being illegally mined from land’s that belong to the DRC’s national parks. Large chunks of lush forests are cleared away in order to mine for tantalum. With the increase in the bush meat market, due to the increase of the human population in the area, many animal populations have dropped by as much as 50% in those areas.


So, how can you help save these beautiful animals? What is the simple action you can take? The tantalum in your electronics can be reused, thus reducing the need to mine for more. Last year, the United States was able to supplement 30% of its tantalum needs from recycled electronics.  7000+ Houstonians helped supplement that 30% by bringing in their old electronics to the Houston Zoo to be properly recycled. Next time you are at the Houston Zoo look for our electronics deposit boxes located at both entrances.

Will you be part of that 7000+ people?

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!!

Guest Blogger Carolyn Jess is Back to Talk About Ocelots

Carolyn-Jess-2014-ResizeWe have invited Carolyn Jess back to help us out as guest blogger in 2015 with a focus on native wildlife. Jess is a 13 year old student who has agreed to be our special guest blogger about wildlife conservation. Carolyn was awarded the Alban Heiser Conservation Award in 2014, presented to her by Jack Hanna. If you would like to contact Carolyn or have comments, you may send them to


If you have read my other blogs, you can see that ocelots mean a lot to me.  They are beautiful yet elusive and are quickly disappearing from their natural scrub land habitat in south Texas.  Habitat loss and highways are making this mysterious animal almost nonexistent.  Last year, two ocelots were hit by cars on highway 100.  The concrete barrier between the roads caused the ocelots to get trapped and confused.  The loss of these ocelots is devastating because it  diminishes the breeding population and shrinks the genetic diversity. But, I have some exciting news!  The Texas Department of Transportation is planning to install FOUR highway wildlife crossings for ocelots this summer.  These crossings are built to go under the roads so the ocelots can travel safely without crossing the busy streets.  The barriers work by having fencing up to block the animals from crossing the highways and funnels the animal down to the tunnel under the road.  This was done in Florida to help their panther population and has been successful.

Hearing this news and knowing that people are trying to make a difference for our Texas ocelots shows that there IS hope for our ocelots and people are aware of their situation.  This is a huge step in ocelot conservation.  This is how conservation works!!

By teaching and telling others about our endangered species, you can get the knowledge out there.  That knowledge spreads quickly!  Texas Department of Transportation is helping the ocelot stand a chance at surviving and YOU can too!  Spread the word about endangered species like the ocelot.  There are many ways you can help, but being aware is the very first step.  Next, find something you can do to help.  I had my annual fundraising for the ocelot and just sent my donations over to researchers at CKWRI – they work directly with the ocelots in south Texas.  You can even adopt an ocelot  on the Laguna Atascosa website. Be an advocate for the animals.

Action for Apes Groups Are Making A Difference!

There is a little over a month left in our 2015 Action for Apes Cell Phone Recycling Challenge, which means there is still time to participate!

We are up to 26 local Houston schools and organizations who are recycling cell phones to help save gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild! These 26 groups have an estimated 7,744 people participating to save apes in the wild!


Are you interested in participating in the 2015 Action for Apes Challenge? It’s easy and fun, and you get to save animals while you do it! Just check out our website to register your group.

AFA-gorilla-2Thank you to the following groups who have joined the 2015 Action for Apes Challenge and are working hard to save animals in the wild!

  • American Recyclers
  • Bay Colony Elementary
  • Berry Elementary
  • Birkes Elementary Student Council
  • Calder Road Elementary
  • Copeland Elementary
  • Cy Woods Student Leadership
  • East Early College High School
  • Environmental Action Club
  • George Brooks’ Office
  • Girl Scout Troop 16399
  • Go Green Club
  • Heritage of Towne Lake
  • HISD – Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School (MCLIMS)
  • Holbrook Elementary
  • HW Grady Middle School
  • Incarnate Word Academy
  • Jersey Village High School Science National Honor Society
  • Keeter Family
  • KIPP Liberation College Preparatory
  • Lake Jackson Intermediate
  • Lantrip Elementary
  • Noah Consulting
  • Smith, Seckman, & Reid
  • Sneed Elementary
  • T.H. Rogers School

If you haven’t signed up for the 2015 Action for Apes Challenge yet, it’s not too late – do it today! The Action for Apes Challenge is open to any business, community group, church, school, scout group, any group of people who would like to help save animals in the wild!


Fish of the Week – Post #5

It’s week five of seven for our Fish of the Week blog series! This week’s meal features sustainably-sourced catfish along with a recipe provided by our very own Chef Larry. We hope you are enjoying these meals at home, and we thank you for helping protect marine wildlife and their ecosystems!

This week’s recipe is: Blackened Catfish with Corn Maque ChouxRedfish-Maque-Choux

Good ole down home cookin’ – Yum! When buying your catfish filets, the best option is going to be U.S Farmed, though most options are all Good Alternatives.


Spices Blend:
3 tbls Paprika
2 tbls Garlic Powder
2 tbls Onion Powder
1 tsp Thyme, Dry
1 tbls Black Pepper, Ground
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Oregano, Dry
1 tsp Basil Dry
1 tbls Salt
4 ea Catfish Filets
3 tbls Vegetable Oil

Corn Maque Choux:
2 tbls Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Garlic Minced
6 ea Fresh Ears of Corn
1 link Andouille Sausage, Diced
½ cup Onion Chopped
¼ cup Green Pepper, Diced
¼ cup Red Pepper, Diced
¼ cup Celery, Diced
1 cups Half-and-Half Cream
2 oz Cream Cheese
½ cup Green Onion, Chopped

½ cup Green Onions, Bias Cut

Cooking Instructions:

Mixing the Spice:
Combine first 9 ingredients in a baking dish.
Rub your catfish filets with spice rub and hold to marinate

Making the Corn Maque Choux:
In a medium pot, heat oil. Add sausage, onions and garlic cook 2 min.
Add celery and peppers. Cool 2 min, add 1 tsp of blacken spice.
Add corn and cook 3 min. Add half-and-half and reduce heat by half. Taste for seasoning & adjust if needed.
Add cream cheese and hold for service on low heat, stirring every so often.

Cooking the Fish:
In a medium cast iron skillet, heat remaining oil to almost smoke point.
Carefully add catfish to the oil taking great care not to burn yourself. Cook 3 min each side on med high flame.
In a soup bowl or plate, place the corn maque choux in the center of dish and place the catfish on top
Garnish with bias cut green onions

Servings: 4
Degree of Difficulty: Easy

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes



AA035422Here’s the low-down on sustainable seafood and a few ways you can be fish-friendly!


You can think of the ocean like your own heart. Just as your heart circulates blood and regulates the body’s temperature, the ocean controls the circulation of water and moisture throughout the planet, affecting both sea and land life! Texas fishermen use responsible fishing techniques to harvest your favorite seafood. They do this to ensure that fish are healthy and abundant for future generations.



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) Fiesta, H-E-B, Kroger, Target, Walmart 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. Choosing responsibly-sourced seafood is one of the best ways to contribute to our oceans’ health.SFW Logo
  • You can also refer to the Monterey 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.

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

East Texas Herpetological Society – March 2015 Meeting

Join us for the East Texas Herpetological Society’s March 2015 meeting at the Houston Zoo. This event is free and open to the public!

EMMA-CanebrakeWho: Guest Speaker – Tim Cole
When: Saturday, March 21, 2015
Where: The Houston Zoo – Brown Education Building
6200 Hermann Park Drive Houston, TX 77030

– Refreshments at 7:00 PM
– Talk Begins at 7:30 PM

Part of this meeting will cover the Texas Rattlesnake Festival. This event features educational talks, over 45 subspecies of rattlesnakes, venom extraction show, scavenger hunt, face painting, photo booth, vendors, and more. This is a family(and snake-friendly) event in Round Rock, TX that features rattlesnakes and works to teach about these species which are often misunderstood. 

Learn More About the East Texas Herpetological Society

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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:
... See MoreSee Less


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?

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 ..

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?

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

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

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.
... See MoreSee Less


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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