A Zoo of Endangered Species
Dorothy Porter Zoo - Brownsville, Texas
The Gladys Porter Zoo opened September 3, 1971 under the careful direction of Gladys Sams Porter. She was very involved in the planning, construction, expansions and stocking of the zoo. Gladys is the daughter of the famed Earl C. Sams who was the “first man” for 33 years for the J.C. Penny Company. Mrs. Porter and her husband Dean traveled extensively throughout Africa. In the 1960’s Gladys became interested in the plight of wildlife and from that interest came the creation of this zoo.
The zoo consists of 31 acres of land and has 375,000 + visitors annually. It is currently owned by the city of Brownsville, Texas.
The zoo has a reputation for its breeding program for rare and endangered animals.
Gladys Porter Zoo
All the pictures in the above poem are from the Gladys Porter Zoo as of June 2015.
The Andean bear is called the spectacled bear. This bears natural habitat is from Argentina to Panama. The last of the so-called short faced bear was placed on the vulnerable list on November 12, 2007. The loss of their habitat is due to poaching, development, mining, and oil exploration.
The Mountain gorilla is the most endangered animal in the world. Their natural habitat is east central Africa. They are were listed as critically endangered in 2007. The loss of the habitat is due to poaching and war.
Rhinos in general are endangered, the black rhino was listed as critically endangered in 1996. Rhinos are found in Europe, Africa and Asian countries. Poaching for their horns is the main cause of their endangerment.
The camels in the Gladys Porter zoo are the Dromedary camel and they are not endangered. The Bactrian camel of China and Mongolia is endangered. Hunting them for food and because they compete with the domestic animal for water, they also are losing the battle because of mining, industrial development, also oil and gas exploration.
Mandrill monkeys are the World’s largest monkey. They are vulnerable endangered because of the destruction of forest and over hunting them for meat. Their natural habitat is Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Congo.
Bearded pigs found in this zoo are on the vulnerable endangered list as of 2008. Their natural habitat is Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. The loss of fruit bearing trees from logging and being hunted for food are the reason they are endangered.
The Pygmy hippo just arrived on the endangered list in 2015. Its natural habitat is West Africa. The loss of habitat is why it has ended up on this list. Logging, land being converted to farmland, poaching and hunting them for bush meat are the causes.
The Chinese alligator found in this zoo has been on the endangered list since 1972. This alligator is the rarest crocodilian and also the smallest. It is considered a menace to their rice paddies. These alligator’s are found on the Yangtze River of China.
The Dama gazelle which this zoo has so strikingly placed with the giraffes are on the critically endangered list. The Dama gazelle is the largest of the gazelles and at one time ran from the Atlantic ocean on the west to the Nile river in Egypt on the east in Africa. Now they are only found in Chad, Mali and Niger.
The above animals are just a few of the endangered species found in this zoo.
Gladys Porter Zoo
For more information:
500 Ringgold Street
Brownsville, Texas 78520
Hours: 9-5 M-F
9-5:30 Sat and Sun
Admission: $9.00 adults
Children 3 - 13: $6.00
Children under 2 free