iNaturalist at the Houston Zoo

Ever see some interesting wildlife at the zoo? That sounds like a funny question but, I’m not talking about the Zoo’s animal collection.  What native wildlife have you seen as you go through the zoo?  Birds, butterflies, bees and other visiting animals just passing through?  What about interesting plants growing on Zoo grounds?

There is now an iNaturalist project called Native Wildlife at the Houston Zoo. Photographs were first uploaded by our Collegiate Conservation Program to start the  guide to native wildlife as you enjoy the zoo.

The Collegiate Conservation Program at the Houston Zoo is a 10 week intern program generously sponsored by ExxonMobil. The program focuses on two important aspects of conservation – saving animals in the wild and sharing the conservation message.  The program participants must be currently enrolled undergrad students and commit to 30-35 hours weekly for the 10 weeks of the program.  The interns work with various regional conservation partners around the city learning from the experts about what they do to help save wildlife.  They also spend time on zoo grounds handling animals and sharing our Take Action messages with guests.  Want to learn more about our Collegiate Conservation Program?  Click here.

Now that the interns have added photos to the project, you can now not only learn from the observations already in there, you can add your own observations too!

iNaturalist is a wonderful program to engage people with nature. You can build your own life list or even a project for your area.  Not sure what something is?  Not to worry!  iNaturalist allows other members to comment on your post to help with the ID.  The iNaturalist program will choose the taxon with at least 2/3 agreement to automatically ID the post.  It is easy to navigate – your Dashboard is like your Facebook feed.  You can follow other members and see what they post.  You can access iNaturalist online or in a handy app you can download to your phone.  You can see what other things have been posted in the area by looking at observations or places, and can even search by taxon if you are looking for something specific.  The Help section of the program has an awesome FAQ guide and Getting Started guide to help you learn the ins and outs of iNaturalist too. You will find the Native Wildlife at the Houston Zoo by going to projects in the app or on line and searching on that project title.

Another added bonus to using the Native Wildlife at the Houston Zoo project is it can earn you points in the Naturally Wild Swap Shop! If you add a photo to the project, stop by the Swap Shop and show the Naturalist what you have added.  You will earn points for your posts!  Don’t know about the Naturally Wild Swap Shop?  Click here to learn more.

Texas Pollinator BioBlitz

The first ever Texas Pollinator BioBlitz will be taking place from October 7th to October 16th.  This is a statewide effort to observe and identify as many pollinators, and pollinator habitats as possible and the Houston Zoo will be participating!

How can you participate at the zoo?

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly

First, take pictures of any pollinators you see and the plants you see them on around the zoo. Some of the pollinators you might see are butterflies, honey bees, and bumblebees.  Then, take those pictures to the Naturally Wild Swap Shop and you will be registered as a Pollinator Pal and will receive 50 points to spend in the shop.  Don’t know about the Naturally Wild Swap Shop?  Click here for more information.

Second, you can share your photos or videos of the pollinators on Instagam or iNaturalist. On Instagram, posts should include #SaveThePollinators.

Why are pollinators so important to us? They make our daily lives better in so many ways!  Without pollinators we would lose much of the fruit and vegtables we eat every day.  We would also lose chocolate,

Cotton
Cotton

coffee, tequila even cotton.  Our meat would be effected too because we would lose the plants that the cattle and other animals eat.

 

Come out to explorer your Houston Zoo and help us save pollinators.

Freeze Protection for Plants

Written by Anna Land, AZH Certified Zoo Horticulturist & Houston Zoo Horticulture Supervisor

The Horticulture department at the zoo cares for 55 acres that are covered with a very diverse collection of plants, which makes winter protection a team effort.  We’ve been keeping our eyes on the forecast and have made sure that we’re ready with frost cloth when the time comes, which looks like it may be this weekend.  With the possibility of a freeze tonight, I’ve had several staff and Zoo Members ask me the best way to protect their plants at home.  So I thought I’d share some information on freeze protection.

hibiscus rosa-sinensisHere in Houston, we’re able to grow many tropical plants which have not evolved to deal with freezing temperatures.  For them, when temperatures get down to freezing, ice crystals will form in the cells within the leaf.  These crystals pierce the cell walls of the plant, as the temperatures rise and the ice melts, holes are left in the cell walls causing the fluid to leak.  This results in the mushy tissue you see after temperatures warm up.

To prevent this, you want to keep the temperature around the plant above freezing.  There are several methods that can be used, but the easiest way to do this is to make the radiant heat coming from the ground work for you.  Properly covering a plant with frost cloth or a sheet* will trap that radiant heat and hold it around the plant, keeping it above freezing in most cases. Extended freezes or extreme cold may require additional methods to be used, but when temperatures stay around 32⁰F during overnight hours, covering is sufficient.  To properly trap the heat you must bring whatever covering you’re using all the way to the ground and secure it so that you don’t have cold wind blowing through and pushing warmer air out.  This can be done with rocks, stakes, turf staples, or even toys the kids left in the yard… whatever is small enough to move and heavy enough to withstand wind.   Potted plants can be covered in the same way, moved into a garage or covered area, or even moving them up against the house and giving them a good watering will help.

Driving around town over the years I have seen many trees wrapped like lollypops, this does not trap radiant heat and doesn’t do much for your tree other than turn it into yard art.  If you have a newly planted tree that the crazy weather has caused to start pushing out new leaves and you want to protect them, you can wrap your tree like that, but you will need to provide a heat source inside that covering.  An example would be outdoor rated incandescent tree lights, but make sure you follow all recommended safety guidelines; you don’t want to turn your tree into a candle.

freeze protection

A quick note about frost cloth vs. sheets:  Frost cloth was originally designed for production agriculture, so it’s designed to trap the heat and allow light through and won’t absorb water. This allowed those growers to cover their plants and leave them covered, saving time and labor costs.  This means that if you’re using frost cloth and the forecast calls for multiple nights with freezing temperatures, you can leave your plants covered for extended periods of time.  On the other hand, if you are using sheets to cover your plants, you will need to uncover them during the day once temperatures have risen above freezing.  There are a couple of dangers with leaving sheets over plants for extended periods of time: 1) the plant may not get enough sun light; 2) if the sheet gets wet it could provide conditions for fungal/pest problems; or 3) it could get warm enough underneath to encourage the plant to start growing at the wrong time.

*I don’t recommend using plastic sheeting unless it’s on some sort of framework preventing it from touching the plant.  Laying it directly on a plant can still allow freeze damage and if not removed as temperatures warm, can  “cook” your plant as it accumulates the heat from the sun.

Corpse Flower “Reek”

Update 7/28/15
reek down

Unfortunately, we came in this morning to discover that Reek has suffered from our recent extreme Texas heat. In its native habitat, the corpse flower does not experience temperatures much above 90 degrees. While the plant has not perished, the bloom has been lost this time around.


Backstory on Reek  7/26/15
We have a corpse flower at the Zoo! Our horticulture team has appropriately named the flower known for its odor, Reek. We are now closely monitoring this incredible plant species and expect the pungent bloom to appear in the coming weeks. It’s impossible to know exactly when the corpse flower will begin blooming, but we’re keeping a watchful eye and we’ll be sure to let everyone know when the “magic” begins. Take a look at the progress so far!

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What the heck is a corpse flower?!

Native to the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia, the corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanium) is the largest inflorescence in the world. Not technically a flower by itself, the cluster of flowers are located on the large, misshaped stalk seen emerging from the center of the display. It takes about 7-10 years for the plant to bloom for the first time and the bloom lasts only 24-48 hours.

 Amorphophallus titanium gets the common name, corpse flower, from the odor it releases which is reminiscent of the smell of decomposing mammals (yum). During flowering, the plant warms up to 96-100⁰F to help carry the smell for up to a half mile. The corpse flower has evolved to exude this smell in order to attract flies and carrion beetles, which act as pollinators for the plant.

These plants are at risk in their native habitat due to deforestation which is also endangering many animal species, including the rhinoceros hornbill, an important seed distributor for this plant as well as many others.

Pollinator Pals in the Naturally Wild Swap Shop

Meet the first of the Houston Zoo’s Pollinator Pals!

 Ollie, Drake and Ginger are regular traders in the Naturally Wild Swap Shop, and now they are also Pollinator Pals! They each picked out the plant they wanted to grow and what pollinators they wanted to attract. Ollie planted hyacinth bean to attract hummingbirds, Drake planted passion flower vine to attract gulf fritillary butterflies, and Ginger planted milkweed to attract monarch butterflies.

Drake planting passion flower
Drake planting passion flower

Pollinators are extremely important to us, and they are declining. Our lives would be severely impacted by the loss of any of our pollinators. Many of the foods we eat rely on pollinators.  Fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices, cotton, alfalfa (for the cattle we rely on), honey, coffee, agave, chocolate and more!

Ginger gives a thumbs up for her milkweed seeds
Ginger gives a thumbs up for her milkweed seeds

How does one become a Pollinator Pal? Plant a pollinator garden! It can be as small as a potted plant or as large as a full scale garden. Once your garden is planted, take some pictures and bring a report about it to the Swap Shop to earn points. Then as

Check out Ollie's hyacinth bean seeds
Check out Ollie’s hyacinth bean seeds

your garden grows and attracts pollinators, bring in reports on what you have seen and how the garden is doing. Your points can then be spent in the Swap Shop for some amazing natural items.

Learn more about the Naturally Wild Swap Shop!

Carnivorous Plant Garden Opens May 16

We all know that the Houston Zoo has lots of carnivores, right?   Lions, tigers, bears, foxes and many more. But, did you know that even some of the plants on grounds are carnivorous?

The Zoo’s amazing Horticulture Department is opening a new carnivorous plant garden! The grand

Sundew
Sundew

opening will be May 16. This wonderful garden is generously underwritten by Pet Flytraps (petflytrap.com).

Carnivorous plants all have a few things in common. They all capture and kill prey. They all have a mechanism to facilitate digestion of prey. And, they all derive significant benefit from nutrients from the prey. They often grow in swamp or bog areas, and many are native to the United States. One of the most popular and well known carnivorous plants, the Venus Flytrap, is found in boggy areas in North and South Carolina.

Venus Flytrap
Venus Flytrap

There are actually 6 orders, 9 families and 595 species of carnivorous plants. It’s not hard to figure out what their benefit for humans is – pest control. Some of these important plants are endangered. You never want to take them from the wild, and when buying one, be sure it is from a reputable vendor. That is crucial information because these plants are an indicator species. That means that if there is something wrong in the habitat they grow in, they will show the effects first.

One question many have about these plants is – how can insects pollinate these plants when they eat insects? Seems like a contradiction, doesn’t it? The flowers of these plants usually grow on a stalk that reaches well above the traps. That way, the pollinators, often bees or flies, aren’t caught in the trap and eaten. You can learn more about pollinators during Pollinator Days at the Houston Zoo on June

Pitcher Plant
Pitcher Plant

20-21.

Some of the plants you will be able to see in the garden include Venus Flytraps, Sundews, Butterworts, both native and tropical Pitcher Plants and more.   Members of our Horticulture Team will be available at the carnivorous plant garden from 10AM to 3PM on the 16th so that you can learn even more.

 

 

Pollinators and The Naturally Wild Swap Shop

Pollinators – what are they and why are they important?

A pollinator is an animal that helps a flowering plant complete its life-cycle by picking up pollen from one flower and moving

A gecko about to pollinate a tropical flower
A gecko about to pollinate a tropical flower

it to another of the same type.  This fertilizes the plant, allowing it to form seeds for the next generation.

Why does that matter to us?

Without plants being pollinated, we would loose at least 30% of ALL the food we eat.  Items such as fruit, veggies, nuts, spices, coffee, tequila and chocolate.  Beef and dairy products would be affected too because bees pollinate the alfalfa the cattle eat.  Even our clothes would suffer – cotton plants rely on pollinators too!

Mexican Long-tongued bat pollinating an agave blossom
Mexican Long-tongued bat pollinating an agave blossom

Pollinators include bees, bats, birds, small mammals, lizards and even a lemur.

Now, the question is: How can you help our pollinators and how does the Swap Shop tie in?

First….You can plant a pollinator garden of your own!  It can be anything from potted plants on a patio or balcony to a full size flower bed.

Next….Bring pictures, drawings, or reports about your pollinator garden to the Swap Shop for points!  Eligible traders will get points for both items showing the initial garden set up, as well as on going reports on wildlife seen in the garden.  And the trader will be recorded in the Swap Shop as a Pollinator Pal.

Some of the host plants that do well in our area include Milkweed, Bee Balm, Dutchman’s Pipe Vine, Mexican Bauhinia and Porter Weed.

The Red-bellied lemur pollinates the flowers of the traveler's palm
The Red-bellied lemur pollinates the flowers of the traveler’s palm

Need information about how to build a pollinator garden?  Many sites on line have great information.  Those include, but are not limited to, US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Native Plant Society of Houston or The Xerces Society.

Join us at the Houston Zoo on June 20-21 as we celebrate Pollinator Day and learn more.

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

The oldest living thing at the Houston Zoo

There are many living things within the boundaries of the Houston Zoo. Can you guess what the oldest living thing here is? The first thing a lot of people think of is perhaps a parrot, or a tortoise. There are days that the zookeepers work so hard they may feel like they are the oldest thing in the zoo.  But all of those answers are wrong.

Live_Oak-0020-7303Near the jaguar exhibit and Wortham World of Primates is a magnificent live oak tree. It is cared for by our wonderful Horticulture Department with love and patience, and it pre-dates any other living thing in the zoo. Here are some of the things that have happened while it was growing into the amazing tree it is today:

While not an exact measurement of age, some formulas estimate that the tree was germinated in approximately 1721, making it about 293 years old. Settlers were just beginning to come to the area, and there was a lot of unrest with the Native Americans living here.

The construction of a church in San Antonio that would later be known as the Alamo was begun in 1744. The tree was already 23 years old.

In 1832, the Allen Brothers began to buy land in the area.  In 1836, they founded Houston, and Sam Houston captured Santa Anna that same year. The tree was now approximately 115 years old.

In 1845, Texas became the 28th state. Our tree had already been here for 124 years.Live_Oak-0016-7290

When the infamous Hurricane of 1900 hit the Texas coast, Galveston was devastated and many lives were lost. The tree was then approximately 179 years old and survived the remnants of the storm that moved inland.

The tree saw the first automobile arrive in Houston in 1901, and the Houston Ship Channel completion in 1914. When the tree was approximately 214 years old, the first air service was brought to Houston with Braniff Airlines.

The Houston Zoo was started in 1914, and moved to Hermann Park in 1922. The tree was approximately 201 years old when the zoo began to grow up around it.

Some of the zoo staff fondly refers to the tree as “Abuelo” (Grandfather).  Rather aptly named, since Live_Oak-0017-7299this tree has seen staff come and go, and yet it still stands. It has seen battles, storms, construction and a lot of change and yet, still it stands.

Next time you come to the zoo, stop for a moment and consider our old Grandfather, and everything this tree has seen.

Flamingo Flowers, Tapeworm Plants, and Toad Lilies?!

Those snazzy LEGO® animals aren’t the only thing that you’ll marvel at when you visit Animals Assembled: A Safari Built with LEGO Bricks, Presented by Fiesta. When you visit, be sure to take a look at the plants that surround them, because they sure do tell a story.

The story of these incredible plants came straight from the head of the Zoo’s own talented Horticulture Manager, Joe Williams. This guy has more plant knowledge than you could ever imagine, and when he was asked to create the exhibit where the LEGO animals would live, he jumped at the chance.

The plants in the penguin exhibit mimic snow drifts and the colors make it seem chilly, like their habitat in the wild.

Joe’s first move was to create a beautiful, lush, shaded pathway, making sure you don’t see too much too soon.

“One of the most important things about designing an exhibit like this is to make sure there’s a surprise around every corner. You don’t want to see everything at once. So we made a path that snakes around and leads you through an adventure. We used big screens of bamboo and other large plants to hide the animal around the corner so you don’t know what’s next.”

Flamingo flowers sit right next to the flamingo pond.

And if you look carefully at each LEGO animal’s surroundings, you’ll notice something else: many of the plants surrounding them make the animal seem like it’s in its natural habitat.

The penguins are flanked by Huntington Carpet Rosemary, which is low to the ground and drifts like snow. The tiger slinks through a shaded forest area near the Variegated Dianella, which mimics its stripes, just like plants help them camouflage in the wild. The Cardamon Ginger next to the gorilla mom and baby is just like what they eat in nature, and many zoos actually feed a similar plant to gorillas to help prevent heart disease!

Gorilla mom and baby with Cardamon Ginger (right middle plant)

What’s more, and you’d only know this if you were a plant buff, many of these plants have names similar to the LEGO animal that lives by them. The Flamingo Flower sits right at the base of the pond where the…you guessed it…flamingos are standing. “Under the Sea” Coleus sits in brightly-colored pots at the base of the aquarium featuring a LEGO octopus, crabs, stingray, and countless fish. And, because you knew Joe couldn’t stop there, the Stingray Elephant Ear also springs up from the ground around the aquarium.

Yep, that’s a Stingray Elephant Ear next to the Aquarium.

Now that you’re an Animals Assembled insider, check out this tip: at the very end of the path, just when you think you’re done, look to your right to see a short tree with spiky branches. You’re looking at one of the most endangered trees in the world, the Wollemi Pine, which is from New Zealand and dates back to the time of the dinosaurs!

Wollemi Pine: one of the most endangered plants in the world.

To learn more about Animals Assembled: A Safari Built with LEGO Bricks, Presented by Fiesta, visit https://www.houstonzoo.org/animals-assembled.

An Oasis in the City

Everyone that visits the Houston Zoo surely has an animal that they prefer over any other. People pick their favorite primate, favorite reptile, favorite underwater creature. But how about a favorite plant? The Houston Zoo is home to a lush and diverse array of tropical and native plants, flowers, trees, and various ground coverings.

Our team of horticulture professionals spends over 20,000 hours each year planting, pruning and working tirelessly to keep the landscape healthy, vibrant, and colorful for our animals and guests. The horticulture team at the Zoo is just one group of the many unsung heroes that help us operate on a daily basis. Considerable thought is put into the plant life here, focusing on native Texas species and their place at the Zoo. Our animal enclosures also feature plants that the various animals are accustomed to, highlighting the importance of regional plant life.

On your walk through the Zoo, you’ll be able to see various palms, cycads, and bamboos abound, along with flowers of every color, shape and size. This gorgeous array of vegetation provides some amazing photo opportunities and we certainly encourage you to point your camera at both animals AND plants. The morning light provides for some incredible shots, and there are certainly a plethora of plants to shoot(with your camera!).

While walking through the Zoo, it is very easy to get caught up in rushing to which animal you are going to see next. You should slow down! Grab a seat on a bench, take a deep breath, and enjoy this amazing oasis in the middle of Houston’s metropolis.

Oh yeah, and next time you’re at the Zoo and see one of our horticulture professionals working away, give them a friendly smile and wave!

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Houston Zoo Facebook Page

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?

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.

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.

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.

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....

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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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