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Care for the Natural World in a Fun and Interactive Setting at El Paso Zoo

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

See fun meerkats and the world's tallest land animal, the giraffe, through live online video cameras. These are just some of the exotic worldwide species found at the El Paso Zoo. Located on 35 acres in the heart of the city, this zoo is so much more than just a place to see wild animals. Marketing and Public Relations Representative Karla Martinez tells us, "Our mission at the El Paso Zoo is to connect people to wildlife and nature, and to help people become better stewards of the environment."

There are lots of ways to interact with the animals from Gila Monster to Amur Leopard. Connect with the Zoo's animal experts through their Meet the Keeper program. "Our guests love feeding giraffes Juma, A.J. and Bonsu, waving to sea lion Sushi and getting up close and personal with the Zoo animals," says Martinez. "Right now, Martinez continues, "a favorite exhibit at the El Paso Zoo is the orangutan exhibit, which is home to baby orangutan Khaleesi."

Celebrating Khaleesi's first birthday weekend on April 23 and 24, the Zoo also plans an Earth Day Birthday Party for the Planet to commemorate a crucial conservation achievement of the birth of this Sumatran orangutan, considered a critically endangered species.

"Five tree houses at Fosters Tree House Playground blend into a natural setting for an imagination-filled 'free-play', the tallest of the tree houses rises up to 16 feet off the ground with a 360-degree view of the surrounding area," exclaims Martinez. Here kids can pretend they are a wild creature playing on four slides, a crazy tunnel, log climbers and cargo. Everyone can cool off on a hot summer day at Zoo's Family Desert Spring Splash Pad that Martinez describes as "an interactive water play area featuring dancing water, gushers, spray tunnels, tower sprays and pop-ups."

What's will the future bring to the El Paso Zoo? With approval in 2012 of funds of a 10-year Zoo plan, there will be a number of new exhibits and animals introduced. In just a few months, the African Red River Hog and Reptile House will be open. Looking forward, Martinez comments on projects under construction: "The Zoo is adding a Wildlife Amphitheater, so a flighted bird show will soon be coming to the El Paso Zoo.

Additionally, the Zoo is constructing a unique multifunctional pavilion, while the Event Tent immerses Zoo guests in an African Lodge experience as they gaze out the windows walls overlooking the zebras inside the zebra exhibit."

Aside from a fun learning experience, zoos can save species from extinction. Martinez cites Przewalski's horse, for which the species was extinct in the wild until 2008, as an example. El Paso Zoo has Vladimir and Vladis, two Przewalski's horses, showing that zoos played a part in the successful reintroduction of these ancient horses back into the wild.

Martinez explains why the impact of zoos on species survival is so important, "When animals go extinct in the wild, it's usually directly related to a human impact. At the El Paso Zoo, we share stories about wildlife and give easy, actionable items our visitors can take with them to help save species too."

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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