Several years ago Wildlife Expeditions and the Houston Zoo began a partnership providing a wonderful Yellowstone and Grand Teton Experience. The Houston Zoo has a long history of committing to wildlife conservation around the globe. The Zoo works closely with researchers in Zimbabwe, Borneo, the Houston Metro area and other locales. The Zoo approached Wildlife Expeditions looking for an ecotourism opportunity here in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. We have provided programs for zoo patrons and staff members the past 2 years.
Last weekend I was invited to Houston to present the role of Teton Science Schools and ecotourism in conservation of wolves and bears of Yellowstone. I had the privilege to share the stage with Dr. Doug Smith, Yellowstone Wolf Project leader. The first evening I was able to engage with approximately 125 patrons of the Houston Zoo community. At the Wolves and Wine event we enjoyed the music of French horn ensemble playing a rendition of Peter and the Wolf. The following day after exploring the Houston Natural Science Museum and Houston Zoo, I provided a lecture to approximately 250 wolf enthusiasts.
My biggest surprise came the following morning. I was given a behind the scenes tour of the zoo. Exploring the inner workings of the zoo with Rachel (Zoo Conservation Department) and Sara (Carnivore Zookeeper) was wild. Boy, zoos have changed from my days as kid. I had the amazing opportunity to feed the Malayan Tigers, Jaguars, Leopards, Manned Wolves and African Lions. Humbling, yes. The highlight was the opportunity to meet the zoos newborn Orangutan. Looking into the eyes of these animals was a treat. Something I shall not forget. I have the wonderful privlege of observing wildlife in many amazing places like Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Churchill and Norway. However the excitement of the zoo visitors was contagious and unique.