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Gladys Porter Zoo – Rarities Status 2010

Discussion in 'United States' started by Baldur, 26 May 2010.

  1. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    I will be visiting Texas this September. Without a car, I will have to limit myself to collections accessible via public transportation (i.e. within the metropolitan areas of Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth) and leave out the regional ones which I would otherwise have liked to visit. I have friends in Dallas, they have offered to drive me to places but they are already offering me accommodation and I don't want to overuse their hospitality; gasoline is expensive, they would have to take time off from work, etc.

    Members that have browsed through the Gladys Porter Zoo (Brownsville) gallery would certainly have been impressed by their collection of rare ungulates. In the gallery you see photos of animals like Bushbok, Jentink's Duiker, Bontebok and Hunter's Hartebeest. Many photos have comments with interesting discussions and information as well. The only problem is that some of the photos were taken as far back as 2002 and most of the comments are since 2008 so the information may well be very outdated. Judging by the comments, many of the rarities were the last remaining ones, even in captivity worldwide, or down to very few. Moreover they also no longer have African Elephants.

    According to my present itinerary, I will fly from Washington down to Houston, from there to San Antonio and finally to Dallas (trains are cheap in Texas, according to the Amtrak website). But I keep thinking about Gladys Porter Zoo. Now might be the only chance I ever have. But it is hard to get to. It is not served by Amtrak, it takes many hours to drive to from anywhere in Texas (it is down by the Gulf of Mexico so it takes 7-8 hours via Greyhound from either Houston or San Antonio) and the airport is not even in Brownsville but in a nearby resort town called South Padre. I could fly to Brownsville from anywhere in the US via Houston or Dallas, but would the effort really be worth it? I understand that the last Hunter's Hartebeest has died now. But what about the Bushbok or the Jenkin's Duiker? Any other rarities which would make the trip worth it?
     
  2. Ituri

    Ituri Well-Known Member

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    They still have a Jentinck's duiker, the harnessed bushbuck, and Mexican red brocket deer.
     
  3. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    I am looking at going to GPZ sometime soon (as soon as I can afford to make the trip and have the time off work to do so). The Duiker and Bushbuck are still there as far as I know. Bushbuck are still breeding so should be there for a long time. Another thing to note is that the GPZ is really pretty small, something like 35 acres. So if you are just dead set on seeing those two species (plus Brocket Deer which as far as i can tell are their only really rare species now) I would visit, otherwise there are several other zoos in Texas that are far more accessible within your plans. Let me know via PM if you have any questions regarding the Texas Zoos.
     
  4. DC

    DC New Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    Just to clarify... Brownsville does have an airport. It's the Brownsville / South Padre Island airport and is in Brownsville, not on South Padre Island. :)

    Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport

    I hope this helps and that you are able to visit deep south Texas! :D
     
  5. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    Ituri: thank you for your information! Of course I take in that the last specimen of these species might die before I get there (yet hope they'll live well past my visit) but at least I will get a chance to see the most southern zoo in the US. Brownsville is also a historic town by the Rio Grande and the Mexican Border. As most of my encounters with Texas will be through big cities (Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth) it might prove very interesting to spend a day or two in a small town down by the border.

    Jbnbsn99: there are several Texas animal attractions that I would like to see as well as Brownsville and the famous city zoos. I understand some of them display Texan wildlife amazingly well. If I had not gotten the idea of going to Colorado in between Texas and the North Central, I would have had time for them. Maybe my friends could drive me to Caldwell though, it is close to Dallas and has impressive immersion exhibits for African animals if judging by your photos, but that has to be it for now I'm afraid. I will definitely let you know if I have questions regarding Texas zoos. I have seen photos of the just opened Giants of the Savannah at your Dallas Zoo and I must say I'm very impressed!

    DC: thank you for correcting my idea regarding Brownsville airport! I have done A LOT of research in the past month. Nevertheless, all sources had convinced me that the airport was actually on that resort island called South Padre. But after I got your information, I found an online map by the Brownsville Convention and Visitors Bureau, which shows the airport to be indeed very close to the city and even close to the zoo. I do indeed look forward to spend a day or two in the deep south of Texas! :)
     
  6. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    From what I understand, there are also wild nilgai antelope in south Texas (released there some time ago), although you won't see them if you are only staying in the city.
     
  7. DC

    DC New Member

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    Baldur: You are SO welcome! Yes, the airport is not far from the Zoo even though it is across town. It should take 10 minutes or less from airport to Zoo, depending on traffic. (Yes, we do get traffic despite being a small town.) :D Traffic here is nothing compared to the other Texas cities you will visit, however.

    I am so happy that you will get to visit deep so. Texas!

    darlene
     
  8. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    It looks like we have a new ZooChat member. Welcome DC - will be glad to get some firsthand reports from your part of the country.
     
  9. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    For rarities sake do not forget these reptiles, a.o.: Cayman blue iguana, Galapagos tortoise (microphyes - regular and pure-bred breeding colony)! :D
     
  10. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    Oh I understand they have a very fine reptile house indeed, although I'm mainly a mammal person ;)
     
  11. DC

    DC New Member

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    Arizona Docent:
    Thank you for the welcome! :) My husband and I have seen nilgai at Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge.

    Kifaru Bwana:
    Definitely good advice! IMO but I love lizards and tortoises, as well as mammals. :D My "big baby" at home is an Argentine black and white tegu named "By-Tor". :cool: I would have furry or feathered pets too but allergies / asthma have made that too uncomfortable.

    darlene
     
  12. loxodonta

    loxodonta Well-Known Member

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    They have Philippine crocs and "golden" salty as well.
     
  13. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    Some American zoo friends actually encouraged me via email not to waste time on the isolated Gladys Porter Zoo and go instead to other Texas zoos up north. But I've been getting so much info via this thread that it looks like visiting Brownsville will be time well spent, not least because it'll give me a chance to see regional Texas down by the gulf and not just the cities up north!

    Brownsville, looking forward to see ya! :)
     
  14. DC

    DC New Member

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    loxodonta:
    ... and wild gators in some areas ;)
     
  15. Blackduiker

    Blackduiker Well-Known Member

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    Blackduiker

    Any recent rare sightings of Jaguars or Ocelots down that way? Or maybe Jaguarundi?
     
  16. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    No chance of jaguar - they are long gone from this part of Texas/Mexico. Only U.S. sightings are central and east Arizona and west New Mexico (along the Mexico border). However, there is a breeding population of ocelots in south Texas, there all the time, but people hardly ever see them. Jaguarundis have only been sighted a couple times (as far as I know) and I would be interested to know if there have been any recent sightings.
     
  17. siamang27

    siamang27 Well-Known Member

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    Anyone know what primates are still at GPZ?
    I remember finding an old list but it was several years old. That list had 4-5 different gibbons on it, Guatemalan Howler Monkey as well as a few other rarely seen species. That's one of the reasons I want to go there!
     
  18. Talli

    Talli Well-Known Member

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    It's too bad you can't drive because you could hit Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi and Texas Zoo in Victoria. Caldwell Zoo is definitely worth the effort as is Fossil Rim.