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Zoofari 2006 It's a Big Hairy Deal Friday, October 6th & Saturday, October 7th

You're invited to a wild party celebrating the animals at the Gladys Porter Zoo. Zoofari '06, the Zoo's annual fundraiser, is a two-evening fling of wild fun with food, drinks, music and an animal revue. In addition, Zoofari committee members are excited to announce a new high-tech endeavor sure to generate a bidding frenzy; Zoofari '06 will have its first ever online auction.

The online auction will run from September 13, 2006 to October 4, 2006. It gives everyone a chance to get in on the bidding action. Visit our online auction to browse, shop, or sign our guestbook to show your support for the Gladys Porter Zoo. Auction item donations are still being accepted - simply log on to the site and click on the "Donate Now" button. Users can also contribute to Zoofari's success by using the "Refer a Friend" button on the auction website. If you aren't the high bidder when the online auction closes, you still have a chance to win your favorite item. Place an absentee bid online or bid in person and enjoy a wild party at the Zoo.

Premiere Night is Friday, and the affair begins with cocktails and hors'deorves. During the cocktail hour guests can sip green mamba martinis from our martini bar. After cocktails, guests will be served an elegant catered dinner. Premiere Night's live auction features a dazzling array of items, travel packages, extravagant jewelry, exclusive party packages and original artwork.

On Saturday evening the event begins with a mouth-watering barbecue. Afterwards some 300 auction items will be up for bid in our blackboard auction. Auction items range from travel opportunities, jewelry, art, pottery, furniture, toys, clothing and more! Dance under the stars to live music after the auction.

Valley Zoological Society board members are also selling raffle tickets at $100 each. Only 400 tickets are being sold. The first place winner will receive a $10,000 travel package, and second place will receive a $2,500 travel package.

Proceeds from Zoofari '06 will help support our mission: the preservation of nature through education, conservation and research. So, tell your friends, family, and community.

The highly anticipated event begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and gates open at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Premiere tickets (both Friday and Saturday nights) cost $100 per person for Zoo members, and $110 per person for non-members. Tickets for Saturday night only cost $30 for members and $35 for non-members. A catered dinner is included in the price of the admission for both nights.

Don't miss our Big Hairy Deal -- Zoofari 2006!

Indo-Australian Walkabout Grand Opening June 1, 2006

The Gladys Porter Zoo is proud to announce the opening of our new Indo-Australian Walkabout on Thursday, June 1, 2006. Our newest exhibit will give visitors the opportunity to experience the birds within their own environment; it's fun and educational for the whole family. Initially, the Walkabout will feature three species of birds that include parakeets, cockatiels, and Bali mynahs. Eventually, the exhibit will house approximately 12 different species of birds all of which are native to Indonesia or Australia. This will be the only interactive exhibit allowing our zoo guests to feed the birds with feeding sticks at designated times throughout the day. Feeding sticks are available for purchase at the exhibit gift shop along with other Australian themed gifts.
The public is invited to our grand opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. After a short program and ribbon cutting, visitors can enjoy refreshments then tour our newest addition. The event is free to the public with regular paid admission. Refreshments are limited.
As the Zoo begins to approach its 35th anniversary (September 3, 2006), we have continued to redevelop and expand our facility with the construction of our Herpetarium (1973), Free Flight Aviary (1974), the Australia Building (1988), Macaw Canyon (1997), Galapagos Tortoise Yard (2002), and now the Indo-Australian Bird Walkabout (2006).

Coloring Contest to Celebrate the Opening of Our Indo-Australian Walkabout

The Gladys Porter Zoo is partnering with Freedom Communications, Inc. newspapers in the Valley to conduct a coloring contest to celebrate the opening of our new Indo-Australian Walkabout on June 1, 2006. We are giving away a fantastic grand prize; one lucky contestant will win a birthday party for 25 at the Zoo, a $450 value.

Each newspaper will select 3 first prize and 3 second prize winners.
First prize winners get a family pack of 4 passes to the Zoo and four coupons for complimentary feeding stick for use in the Indo-Australian Walkabout.

Second prize winners get 2 passes and 2 complimentary feeding stick for use in the Indo-Australian Walkabout.

All of the first prize winners from The Brownsville Herald, Valley Morning Star, Mid Valley Town Crier and McAllen Monitor will be judged and a committee of Zoo staff members will select the grand prize winner.

The winners will be announced at the Indo-Australian Walkabout Grand Opening Ceremony on June 1, 2006.

Be on the lookout for your coloring sheet. If you miss the issue please contact your local media outlet for a copy.

Brownsville Herald - Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Valley Morning Star - Friday, May 5, 2006
Mid Valley Town Crier - Wednesday, 3, 2006
McAllen Monitor - April 19, 2006

Bongo Born at Gladys Porter Zoo

The Gladys Porter Zoo is proud to announce the birth of two bongo calves. Nine-year old Francis gave birth to a female calf on January 6, 2006 and ten-year old Pretzel gave birth to a male calf on January 20, 2006. Both were sired by Kiro. These births represent the 46th and 47th births of this large African forest antelope at the Zoo.
Both bongo were born on exhibit during the late morning; however, their first hours were very different. Initially, the newborn female failed to nurse and didn't appear to be very strong. By the end of the day the mother grew impatient, so a decision was made by Zoo staff to remove her to be hand-reared by zookeepers. After a month of special care, the female calf was reintroduced to the bongo group on exhibit early this morning. She will continue to be bottle fed. On the other hand, the male newborn immediately started to nurse and, in contrast, was very strong.
Bongo are native to tropical jungles in central and western Africa. They are shy, elusive animals. Despite their large size, reddish-brown color and white stripes, they can easily disappear in the jungle. The elusive behavior of bongo has made them the subject of African folklore. The native people believe that if they eat or touch bongo, they will experience spasms similar to epileptic seizures.
Gladys Porter Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for bongo, sponsored by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). This SSP program is a cooperative effort among AZA accredited zoos throughout North America, created to ensure genetic diversity and manage captive population numbers of the species.
Bongo are listed as an Appendix III species by the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species (CITES). Although they are not currently classified as a threatened animal by CITES,
they have been deemed an at-risk species, and their trade is regulated for conservation purposes.
Come see the newest members of the Gladys Porter Zoo family.

Gladys Porter Zoo offers Winter Texan Walking Tours
December 2005 - Mid-March 2006

Every Monday thru Thursday starting at approximately 10:30 a.m., members of the Gladys Porter Zoo Docent Council will offer walking tours of the 26-acre zoological park. Participants will be taken on a 2-½ hour energetic and informational tour of the various animal exhibits. They will also have an opportunity to ask questions and take a leisure tour of the park. Visitors can view the Zoo's extensive collection of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and invertebrates from most major ecosystems. Tours are free of charge, weather permitting with the price of an admission ticket.
Interested participants should call the Zoo office to check on the scheduled tours. For more information, contact the Gladys Porter Zoo at (956) 546-7187.

Highest Bidder Reveals Name for Baby Gorilla

On December 4, 2005 the publics' big question, "What is the name of that baby gorilla on exhibit?" was finally answered. Surrounded by family, friends and about fifty Zoo visitors, in front of our Gorilla Island Exhibit, Zoofari live auction winner John Cowen revealed the name he selected for our baby gorilla. He announced that the name selected has a special place in his heart because it is his daughter's name, Megan. Mr. Cowen joked that it is a perfect name for a lowland gorilla because the name Megan originates from the lowlands in Ireland. After the brief christening everyone enjoyed cake to commemorate the occasion.
This was only the second time in Gladys Porter Zoo's history that a gorilla naming opportunity was auctioned during our annual fundraiser, Zoofari. The bidding was frenzied.
Western lowland gorillas, along with all species of gorillas, are considered rare and endangered. Therefore, each birth is significant to conservation of the species.

Winter Texan Discount Day
Wednesday, February 1, 2005

Celebrate Valentine's Day early and bring your sweetie in for a romantic stroll during our popular, annual Winter Texan Discount Day. On Wednesday, February 1, Winter Texans can get in the zoo for just $4.50. Winter Texans must furnish proof of out of state residence. Gates open at 9:00a.m.
Members of the Gladys Porter Zoo Docent Council will offer a 2-½ hour walking tour of the 26-acre zoological park, weather permitting, beginning at approximately 10:30a.m. Or if you prefer you can take a relaxing tram ride tour around Zoo grounds for only $2.00. Tram tours will be operating from 11:00a.m. to 2:00p.m. After your visit, don't forget to stop by our gift shop and pick out your sweetie's favorite stuffed animal for Valentines Day. If you aren't able to visit us during Winter Texan Discount Day, remember that seniors always pay a discounted admission of $7.00 to visit the Zoo.

O
pen year round, Gladys Porter Zoo's hours of operation are 9a.m. to 5p.m. Price of admission is $8.50 for adults (14+), $5.25 for children (2 to 13) and $7.00 for seniors (65+). Group rates are also available.