Conservation Blog

Conservation Blog

New Year’s births - four tiger ray pups

Our tiger ray birthed four pups at the beginning of January! FOUR! While currently only about 14 inches long and 5 inches in diameter, these guys will eventually grow to be up to 2 feet long and 31 inches wide. The pups are residing in a behind-the-scenes area so that our aquatic team can monitor food intake and growth. You can see their parents in MOLA in the Flooded Forest habitat (and in the video we’ve shared, you can see their gigantic size!). These two individuals (the parents)... Read More
at Thursday, January 27, 2022

First Texas kangaroo rats born in human care at Fort Worth Zoo

Another conservation success! This little guy (pictured above) is one of three Texas kangaroo rats born here at the Zoo and more importantly -- to our knowledge -- the first ever born under human care! This particular species is a candidate to be federally listed as endangered as wild populations continue to decline. Since 2018, the Zoo has been working closely with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to establish an assurance colony and breed these animals under professional care.... Read More
at Monday, November 29, 2021

The future is looking … green!

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has developed the Green Status of Species in an effort to measure the impact of conservation action and how close threatened species are to being ecologically functional. This tool complements the IUCN’s Red List created in 1964 to assess the status of threatened species and their risk of global extinction. While the Red List has been extremely insightful by providing a greater understanding of the state of the world’s... Read More
at Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Texas horned lizard hatchling release marks milestone to save state reptile

On Sept. 16, the Zoo, Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. (TPWD) along with Dallas Zoo and Caldwell Zoo released 204 captive-raised hatchlings into the wild (100 of which hatched at the Fort Worth Zoo). Last week, the Zoo also celebrated a major conservation milestone: the successful hatching of its 1,000th Texas horned lizard! In 2011, the Fort Worth Zoo developed and perfected the breeding and husbandry protocols required to successfully breed and care for Texas horned lizards in managed... Read More
at Friday, September 17, 2021

Remember Olaf, the IVF toad? He's a dad!

Olaf is the world's first Puerta Rican crested toad hatched from in-vitro fertilization (IVF) utilizing frozen semen collected from the wild. and two years later, Olaf is a father! To 5095 tadpoles to be exact. The Zoo will be keeping 10 of these offspring to continue breeding genetically diverse Puerto Rican crested toads for future reintroduction, and the remaining 5,085 (along with an additional 3,759 tadpoles hatched at the Zoo) were released in June at the protected site back... Read More
at Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Roti Island snake-neck turtle hatching

A tiny turtle has hatched! This critically endangered Roti Island snake-necked turtle is spending time behind the scenes so that our ectotherms team can monitor its growth closely. Hatching out just larger than a penny and weighing almost as much as two pennies, it will take about six to eight years before it’s fully grown- 8 to 9 inches in length and about 1 to 1.5 pounds. You can discover the adult Roti Island snake-necked turtles in the Museum of Living Art . Read More
at Thursday, August 19, 2021

First successful Barton Springs salamander hatchlings

  This extremely small species is rare to find in zoo collections. The first successful breeding at the Fort Worth Zoo resulted in 30 salamander hatchlings from 2019 and 2020. This species serves as part of a refugia population, meaning it was once a more widespread species that is now only supported in an isolated location. This is often due to climate change, geography or human activities. The Barton Springs salamander has one of the smallest geographical areas of any... Read More
at Thursday, July 29, 2021

Zoo celebrates the world's first IVF Houston toads

Meet Uri and Viola! The Fort Worth Zoo and partners from Mississippi State University are celebrating the world’s first Houston toads produced via in vitro fertilization (IVF). The first two toads produced using frozen-thawed semen, Uri and Viola, are being reared at the Zoo and their siblings were released in Bastrop County, Texas.  They were named after the two Texas winter storms that the team endured while working on this important research. This is a huge conservation... Read More
at Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Jamaican rock iguana escapes extinction thanks to conservation efforts

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species is a comprehensive database that records the health of the world’s biodiversity, including a tool that manages a list of species and their status in the wild. In an effort to raise awareness about some of the world’s rarest and endangered animals, Jon Paul Rodriguez, the chair of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission, has identified 10 critically endangered... Read More

Taking action to save the Texas freshwater mussels

    In Texas, you may hear the world “mussel” and think “invasive species.” While it’s true there are some freshwater mussel species that are invasive to our Texas waters and native animals, there are several mussel species that are threatened, endangered and even now extinct. This massive decline in populations has conservationists and researchers concerned and taking swift action to better understand this invertebrate species and develop... Read More