The Houston Zoo is a 55-acre zoological park located within Hermann Park in Houston, Texas. Housing over 4,500 animals belonging to over 900 species, the zoo receives 1.5 million visitors each year and is the seventh most visited zoo in the nation. The zoo is accredited by The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) assuring the highest standards of animal care and husbandry
The Houston Zoo was first established in September 1922 in Sam Houston Park, near downtown. In 1921, the city of Houston purchased several animals for an initial collection. The facility was relocated to Hermann Park, where it resides today. It used to be called the Herman Park Zoo. The zoo did not have admission fees until 1988, when they were first established by former mayor Kathryn J. Whitmire. The newest project is titled "African Forest," its a 100 million dollar project that will take several years to complete. The mission statement is "The Houston Zoo provides a fun, unique , and inspirational experience fostering appreciation, knowledge, and care for the natural world."
In September 2008, Tess and her son Tucker were loaned from Gary Johnson's Have Trunk Will Travel to the Houston Zoo. Tess was slated to return after a breeding loan arrangement. The transfer occured less than a year after the death of two year old Mac from the Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes virus.
The Houston Zoo's Thai is one of the most prolific breeding bulls in North America. However, though he has sired fourteen calves, five were stillborn and none of the remaining nine lived past the age of thirteen.