Science Made Simple: Pollinators

My name is Ryan and I love science. Join me as I try to make tough science…not so tough.

Follow along as I research the issues, untangle the mess, and figure out what you really need to know to help animals and the environment.

Today’s Topic: Pollinators

Confusing Science:
In the United States, the economic monetary value of services provided by pollinating insects is estimated at 24 billion dollars.

What It Really Means:
Bees and other insects pollinate so many plants, that adding up the value of all of the food like fruits, vegetables, and nuts growing because of pollinators equals about $24,000,000,000. Keep in mind, that number is just for the United States!


Confusing Science: 
Public access and support of insecticide applications has resulted in a significant negative relationship to the sustainability of bee colonies. Research is ongoing to determine definitive correlations between non-lethal concentrations of insecticides and lasting colony disorders in bee species; and interesting preliminary studies have been completed which quantify the residual presence of notable chemicals throughout hives.

What It Really Means:
Most home-improvement stores have many different chemicals that are made to kill ants, termites, beetles, wasps, etc. Unfortunately, those chemicals have been wiping out bees all over the world. Because bees land on all sorts of different plants, there’s a good chance at least one has been sprayed with an insecticide. Sometimes the chemicals don’t kill the bee, but cause very serious health problems that may affect its behavior and even how the bee flies. Because bees live in hives, the rest of the hive can be in danger if even one bee returns covered in toxic chemicals. Scientists are working hard to figure out how deadly this can be.

Simple Science Takeaway: Using less insecticides can help bees in a major way.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more as I try to make science easier to understand. Never stop learning,


 Have a topic you’d like me to explore? Post it in the comments!

We Can Save Elephants in Africa With Beehives? It's the Bees' Knees!

If I were to tell you that we use an Anatolian Shepherd (that is a really big dog, really big!) in front of our Cheetah exhibit to tell the story of how livestock owners in Africa use dogs to protect livestock and chase away cheetahs you would think, ok – that makes some sense. Chasing away cheetahs means villagers and ranchers do not need to kill cheetahs to protect their livelihoods, something which happened much too often in the past.

I would then go on to say that people use dogs to chase away elephants and that would be ridiculous. We need something meaner, more aggressive, like – an African bee! And that would also make no sense. Who has pet bees?

It is much too long to explain here but researchers in Kenya working with Save the Elephants noticed one day that when elephants were around trees with large hives of bees, they would quickly move away. And after years of testing, it turns out that even the recorded sound of an angry buzzing hive will make elephants go far out of their way to stay out of the bee’s way.

So let me put this into perspective. I am pulling weeds in my yard (Brazoria County, not Africa) and I hit a yellow jacket nest get stung twice and run for my life. If I am an elephant and an angry swarm of African bees is heading my way, I too would make a quick exit.

Back to my story. Researchers then took it a step further. How do you keep an elephant from walking into your field, eating most of your crops, destroying the rest as they wander through the field and putting you and your community on the verge of having nothing to eat? You put up a rope fence, sting some wooden beehives across them and keep out the elephants. Even better, you can collect the honey for both food and extra income. A win-win for the people, the elephants.

How can you help protect elephants and support local communities in Africa? Funny you should ask. We have an option on our new online auction event where you can donate funds to purchase new beehives and support local community projects for as little as $15. Go to our Future for Wild Elephants Online Auction—- and help us protect elephants, and support local people in Africa.

Well done Mbumba and the Mbamba village beehive fence team. At least 3 of the 12 initial hives have already been colonized by bees, and possibly more soon. The community reports that 10 elephants ran away from the fence last week!
Well done Mbumba and the Mbamba village beehive fence team. At least 3 of the 12 initial hives have already been colonized by bees, and possibly more soon. The community reports that 10 elephants ran away from the fence last week!
The first elephant- beehive fence in Niassa!
The first elephant- beehive fence in Niassa!
First 7.5 litres of honey harvested from the first elephant beehive fences.
First 7.5 litres of honey harvested from the first elephant beehive fences.

Danger from above! By Peter Riger, Houston Zoo's, Vice-President of Conservation reporting from Borneo

Vice President of Conservation, Peter Riger is visiting Borneo to find out how the Houston Zoo can be of further assistance in the race to save Asian wildlife.

I woke up this morning to what sounded like a helicopter outside my screen window but it was only the largest bee I had ever seen and he was not happy that it was 5:30am and I was still asleep. When he finally went away I could hear a pair of gibbons calling from across the river. Although difficult to see, they can be heard for miles, usually in the very early morning, and it would have been a great sound to wake up to, if not for the bee.

Everything seems to fly here; Proboscis Monkeys and Red leaf Monkey fly overhead as they jump from tree to tree, there are flying snakes, flying frogs, flying giant squirrels and the  little seen colugo which is also called the flying lemur.

So when walking here, your eyes have to be on the trail as well as in the trees as witnessed this morning by two research students walking to the station when an orangutan mother and baby decided to drop things from above we will not talk about here and just miss them by a few feet. By the time I arrived on the trail a minute later, dung beetles were already busy at work “cleaning up”. How did they know so quickly? They must have a poo alert early warning system.  The forest is alive in Borneo, as are the skies.

There is a fairly straightforward routine here for everyone except the nocturnal prosimians researcher who spends her time looking for slow loris and tarsier from midnight to 6am. Whether you are a crocodile researcher or checking cameras  for bears, you get up early and either hit the trail or grab a boat and head out to your site, some of which overlap. Hopefully you return by lunch and then repeat or work on projects at the centre before dinner, then try and get a working Internet signal to catch up with the outside world and the lights out when generator goes off at 11pm. Some of these projects go on for years and everyone genuinely enjoys being here despite what would seem like difficult conditions at times.

Outside of the projects, there is another initiative here managed by local staff called River Keepers who patrol the Kinabatangan to make sure there are no illegal activities in the reserve here ( hunting, logging, etc.). They are as much part of the team and live here at the centre along with all the visiting students and guests. I mentioned the other day there were 6 countries represented here thus year (so far) which include Canada Malaysia, France, US, Spain, UK, Belgium and Mexico – okay, that’s 8 countries.

These, along with wildlife health units, are part of a larger network to look at how to protect this region on a landscape level. That is, not simply focus on one species at a time but understand how all these species interact within their habitat and what is needed to support everything together.

Stay tuned for more from Peter in Borneo.

The Year in Blogs

I do not even know where to start to make sense of some of our blog posts in 2012, all written to try and bring your attention to both the successes and issues facing our environment. I really have no idea what may or may not have caught your attention. No matter how often our IT and web team send me graphs and charts showing reader algorithms, viral feeds (unrelated to a blog on emerging infectious diseases), hits and views – it is beyond my grasp of the new world we live in. Remember, I have a smart phone and do recall saying it was making us all a little dumber, me especially.

So a quick look back at MacGyver, Cheddar Bacon and Peppermint Shakes, Chicken Pants and the fact that  Groundhogs are not the Nostradamus of the rodent world as they can barely remember which drawer they left their pants in, let alone predict the changing of the seasons.

These were all very important topics, near and dear to my heart from pollinators to climate change and even Chicken Pants which I have no idea what I was thinking of at the time that spurred that thought process. But the point is simply this – the world is a messy place, our role in the zoo is to focus on wildlife and so most of what you see and read here is about the environment and the people who work tirelessly to protect wildlife and their habitats around the clock.

We can do more to help our partners and the environment and it is so simple it hurts my head to think about it.

Have 30 seconds to spare? Try this: Recycle a cell phone – protect wildlife in Africa. Lets make this a friendly disease called the Responsible Consumer Syndrome. You can catch this syndrome by also understanding where the Palm Oil in your products originates – and protect Orangutans in Southeast Asia

The great plastic debate? Not really a debate – we are addicted to plastic shopping bags and water bottles. Do you think Krogers, Randalls, HEB and others realizes how much money they could save by not providing its customers millions of plastic bags every year which in turn would protect the environment and wildlife? Probably equal to the economy of a small country. Interesting someone thought enough of the water bottle issue to ban them from Grand Canyon National Park – I guess they think it is prettier than the other parks since it is the only one that bans plastic water bottles.

Who would have thought the National Park System would be following the lead of these countries  (mild disclaimer – these countries have banned plastic bags but they still drink water): Papua New Guinea, Germany, Kenya, South Korea, Belgium, Sweden, Bhutan, Botswana and a handful of others. You may recall I ranted about this on my  bestselling blog Doggie Doo’s and Doggie Dont’s (another disclaimer, my blogs are not for sale but I found a quarter after posting that one).

So for 2013 – we can do better. Smartphones and Smart tablets can inform us but cannot lead us to action – that is a human trait that we need to figure out how to enhance if we are going to continue to protect the worlds wildlife in the face of growing human populations and habitat loss. We have to care more to do more.

One thing I really do not care to learn more about is Poutine which my Canadian colleague tried to poison me with this year. I like my french fries with ketchup thank you, not brown gravy and curd cheese. But what we want you to learn more about are all are wonderful partners which can be found on our website or at a few of the links below:

Niassa Lion Project Mozambique, Cheetah Conservation Botswana, Hutan-Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation, Danau Girang Elephant Conservation, Painted Dog Conservation Zimbabwe, Gorilla Doctors, Education for Nature VietnamFaleme Chimpanzee Conservation Senegal, Coastal Prairie Partnership, Lowland Tapir Project Brazil, El Valle Amphibian Conservation Panama, Jane Goodall Institute, International Rhino Foundation, Art of Conservation Rwanda, NOAA’s Sea Turtle Program, USFWS, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas State University, National Marine Fisheries Service, Human Wildlife Conflict Collaboration, Terra Incognita EcotoursWildlife Conservation Network, Galapagos Tortoise Program, Natural Habitat Adventures, and a Thank You to all of our zoo staff, zoo members and supporters including Land Rover UAE, Anadarko, Chevron, numerous private foundations, individuals and followers.

The Bee's Knees

One of the most important aspects of the Houston Zoo is the commitment its employees have to conserving wildlife and connecting people to these efforts. This passion for wildlife extends far beyond the impressive Zoo exhibits and day-to-day programming our guests typically see. The Zoo has found a creative way to foster our employees’ passion for the Zoo’s mission: the Houston Zoo Staff Conservation Fund (SCF).

The SCF offers unique opportunities for staff to participate in a variety of conservation efforts. The Fund builds exclusively upon donations from Houston Zoo staff, and these funds contribute directly to the projects that staff members propose and execute. By providing employees with an excellent opportunity to build capacity for conservation, the Houston Zoo accomplishes an integral part of its core mission.

One of the recent recipients of a staff funded grant is Karen Sprague, a Senior Keeper in the Zoo’s Herpetology Department. Karen had the following to say about her successful SCF pollinator project:

One of the new bee houses on grounds!

“My project started mainly because I have a fascination with native bees… while looking for bee ID resources for the Houston area, I was surprised to learn that not much bee diversity research had been done in southeast Texas, and that nobody really knows what species are present here.  Most of the funding for bee research is funneled into European honeybees since we rely on them heavily to pollinate the majority of our crops (excluding wind-pollinated crops of course).  In talking to friends and family, I realized that most people are familiar with the honeybee and MAYBE the bumblebee and are completely unaware that native bees even exist.

A new pollinator sign at the Zoo!

There are about 4,500 species of bee in North America alone (including around 50 species of bumblebee, not just one). Not only do native bees pollinate many of our crops (tomatoes, blueberry and alfalfa for dairy cattle… to name a few) but have evolved with and are responsible for the pollination of the vast majority of our native flowering plants, shrubs and trees.  Even though all these interactions may go unnoticed by us humans, the plant-pollinator relationship makes the world go round… if either were to disappear, our ecosystems would come crashing down and we would all perish in short order.

Can you find this sign and bee house the next time you visit the Zoo?

I started this project not only because I wanted to photo-document the bees of the Houston area, but because the distressing fact is that people don’t know how important our native bees (and all other pollinators) are.  We developed 4 graphic panels (coupled with wooden bee nest boxes) on Zoo grounds to teach people how to help pollinators through gardening, providing nesting areas, supporting organic farms and by simply not using pesticides.  You can start a native bee conservation project in your own back yard – they rarely interact with humans (meaning its near impossible to get them to sting) and it is incredibly entertaining to watch them work.  You get an extra-bountiful garden out of the deal, and you’re helping some very important species, many of which are in serious decline due to extensive habitat loss and rampant pesticide use.  Bees give us so much: 30% of the food we eat every day, spices, coffee, vanilla, cotton for clothing, the list goes on and on… It’s time we give something back.”

Look at that clever hiding spot for our pollinator friends!

You can visit our pollinator webpage created by Karen and our web team to learn more about these fascinating animals.

Another wonderful spot for pollinators at the Zoo.

Pollinators get you Points!

This weekend, Saturday June 23 and Sunday June 24, the Houston Zoo will be celebrating Pollinators Day.  There will be booths, keeper chats and activities for the kids.

The Naturally Wild Swap Shop will join in the fun.  Any nature journal on pollinators or pollination will get double points!  Topics can include (but are not limited to) bats , bees, butterflies, or the plants that they pollinate.  Journals might also cover the many  products collected or manufactured thanks to the hard work of these and other pollinators.  Don’t know about the Naturally Wild Swap Shop?  Click here for more information.

Pollinators help us with many products from honey to tequila.  They provide something for everyone.  Some Pollinators are at risk and their numbers are dwindling.

Come join us for Pollinators Weekend and learn more about these amazing animals.



Wildlife Heroes is an awesome book, and we have the author coming to the Zoo!

Join us on May 19th and 20th for Wildlife Heroes weekend at the Houston Zoo.  On May 20th we welcome Jeff Flocken, co-author of Wildlife Heroes: 40 Leading Conservationists and the Animals they are Committed to Saving for a book-signing and presentations by zoo staff on the focus species of the book. Wildlife Heroes will be available for sale at the zoo on May 20th, quantities are limited!  Books are also available for  pre-order on the Houston Zoo website at: a dicounted price until May 17th.

My first heroes were animal people.  When I went to zoos my heroes were the zoo keepers and when I watched animal documentaries the researchers were my heroes.  We all need amazing people to inspire us and that is why the new book Wildlife Heroes is so wonderful. 

The book includes 40 people overcoming impossible odds to save endangered species all over the world.  If you are looking for real heroes for your children to look up to look now further! 

The unique stories in this book of local communities becoming involved in anti-poaching, education and research efforts for wildlife in their own back yard are immeasurably inspiring!  In one story a young boy, Thia grew up in Northern Vietnam watching his village hunt the very species he fights to save today.  His passion to help a unique species called the pangolin will warm your heart!
I have had the honor of meeting many of the heroes in this book (including the authors) over the years and they inspire me to move forward in my own wildlife conservation work.  These are real people making a real difference! 

This book introduces readers to pollinator and amphibian decline and other environment issues that continue to threaten our world.  But it also offers great messages of hope.  In the last chapter Jack Hannah suggests ways the reader can help, and the good news is that by purchasing the Wildlife Heroes book you are already helping- 100 % of the proceeds go to the projects featured in the book.  A win for everyone!

Hope to see you at the Houston Zoo for our Wildlife Heroes weekend May 19th and 20th!

Six Bat Species all in one day!

How can you see six different species of bats all in one day?  Bat Fest Houston at the Houston Zoo and the Waugh Bridge!  The United Nations has declared 2012 The Year of The Bat – come see  the celebration we have in store!

Straw Colored Fruit Bats

 Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15 are the dates for Bat Fest Houston.   On both days there will be children’s activities, keeper chats and bat related information booths at the zoo from 10:00am – 3:00 pm.   If you come on Saturday you will also have the opportunity to attend a bat seminar in the zoo’s Brown Education Center  from 10:00-12:15 that will include some great speakers.  The talks will include information  about bats from around the world and the bats in our own back yard as well as a new threat to bats, White Nose Syndrome.   You will also be able to visit the zoo’s bat exhibits where you can see Jamaican Fruit Bats, Seba’s Short-tailed Fruit Bats, Pallas Long-tongued Nectar Bats, Straw Colored Fruit Bats and an Indian Flying Fox Bat! 

If visitors 18 and under bring a nature journal or report to the Naturally Wild Swap Shop on the topic of bats they will receive DOUBLE points on these two days!  Don’t know about the Swap Shop?  Click here to learn more.

The best part – all of this is included in your regular zoo admission. 

Bat emergence at Waugh Ave. Bridge

And the fun doesn’t stop there!  From 6:00pm to 9:00pm join us at the Waugh Avenue Bridge (Waugh Avenue at Allen Parkway) for more children’s activities, bat chats and an amazing emergence of 250,000 Mexican Free-tailed Bats from under the bridge.  The Waugh Bridge activities are completely free.  Click here for information on parking at the bridge.


Bat Fest is Coming!

Get ready for a batty fun time at the Houston Zoo and the Waugh Bridge!  2012 has been named Year of the Bat by the United Nations Environment Program.  In celebration, the Houston Zoo, in association with Texas Parks & Wildlife and several other organizations will be hosting Bat Fest April 14-15, 2012.

The fun will start at the Zoo at 10:00AM.  On both Saturday and Sunday there will be booths, children’s activities and zookeeper chats about bats.  On Saturday only there will be a bat seminar with some awesome speakers from 10:00-12:15 in the Brown Education Center.

In addition, to help celebrate, The Naturally Wild Swap Shop will be giving double points for any Nature Journal on bats.  Dont know about the Swap Shop?  Click here for more information.

The best part – all this is included in your paid zoo admission.

The festivities won’t stop there.  Be sure to join the Houston Bat Team at the Waugh Drive bat colony (corner of Waugh Drive & Allen Parkway) from 6:00-9:00PM.  The Waugh Drive bridge is home to a colony of 250,000 Mexican Free-tailed Bats.  There will be bat chat presentations from members of the Bat Team along with children’s activities and an amazing emergence from the bats at dusk. Click here to check Facebook for parking info.

The Pollinator: A Superhero of Superheroes

Dressed in a multitude of colors, this superhero fights crime like no other – the potential of declining food production due to lack of pollination. They leap (flitter above actually) tall buildings, see through walls (sniff through backyard fences), and have super strength (you try flying around all day).

He/She is The Pollinator! Really, right there in the photo below. Yes that green cocoony thing with the three gold dots and as you can see he or she is amassing his or her forces of pollinator buddies in my backyard. 33 of them to be exact as of today.

Monarch Butterfly chrysalids hanging out on a fence post after a feast of Milkweed plants (Asclepia species)

Pollination occurs when pollen is moved within flowers or carried from flower to flower by pollinating animals such as birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles, or other animals, or by the wind. In our case above, a Monarch Butterfly. The transfer of pollen in and between flowers of the same species leads to fertilization, and successful seed and fruit production for plants.  Pollination ensures that a plant will produce full-bodied fruit and a full set of viable seeds.

Here is why it is important according to our friends at the Pollinator Partnership:

  • Worldwide, roughly 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend.
  • Foods and beverages produced with the help of pollinators include: apples, blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, vanilla, almonds, and tequila.
  • In the United States, pollination by honey bees, native bees, and other insects produces $40 billion worth of products annually.
    Monarch Buttrefly Caterpillar finishing breakfast before metamorphosis into chrysalid

It is simple to help pollinators – just plant a small garden – apartment dwellers can also place pollinator plants in pots out on balconies and porches – and before you know it (and I am not sure exactly how they find me, but they do) butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and more will be at your door wearing their little Superhero capes and saving the world through pollination. Get the BEE SMART Pollinator APP for planting tips here.

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

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

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

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


Comment on Facebook

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

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

Is this the one that had the limp?

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 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! 😂


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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