The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is proud to announce that Monica Torres, director of conservation for the OKC Zoo’s legacy conservation partner, The Foundation for the Conservation of the Endangered Species of Guatemala (FUNDESGUA), is a contributing author to the recently released book, Women in Herpetology: 50 Stories from Around the World.
Women in Herpetology: 50 Stories from Around the World unveils the inspiring journeys of 50 women, including Torres, from 50 countries and regions who have dedicated their lives to the study of amphibians and reptiles. This groundbreaking book showcases the determination, passion, and love for these creatures that drive these women while aiming to inspire future generations of women in herpetology.
Torres, a talented and award-winning conservationist from Guatemala, oversees the daily operations of FUNDESGUA including their conservation efforts. FUNDESGUA is a community-based conservation organization committed to protecting two of Guatemala’s critically endangered species, the Guatemalan beaded lizard and Campbell’s alligator lizard while supporting community resilience and development. Torres works closely with the local communities to build alliances to aid in research and habitat protection for the conservation of the beaded lizard and Campbell’s alligator lizard. As part of these efforts, the population of these endangered lizards has increased dramatically from an estimated 200 individuals to 1,000 individuals and the protected acres for these species has increased from 100 to 6,500 acres. In 2021, Torres was named a Future for Nature award winner for her work conserving endangered Campbell’s alligator lizards in Guatemala. The OKC Zoo cares for critically endangered Guatemala beaded lizards and in February 2022 welcomed four hatchlings to its animal family, the first successful breeding of this species in the Zoo’s 121-year history.
“Monica’s dedication to conserving Guatemala’s biodiversity is inspiring,” said Brad Lock, OKC Zoo’s curator of reptiles and amphibians and one of the founders of FUNDESGUA. “She understands the importance of building relationships and engaging the local communities to help conserve nature by demonstrating people and wildlife can coexist and thrive.”
Women in Herpetology is a compilation of captivating stories from herpetologists working in diverse fields such as conservation, biodiversity, ecotoxicology, and education. The book is led by The Global Women in Herpetology project, founded by Dr. Sinlan Poo from Taiwan, Dr. Itzue Caviedes-Solis from Mexico, and Dr. Umilaela Arifin from Indonesia. All profits from Women in Herpetology will be used to establish a scholarship for students in underrepresented regions to attend international herpetological conferences to present their research. To learn more about the Women in Herpetology project or purchase a copy of the book, visit www.womeninherpetology.com.
When making any purchase at the OKC Zoo, guests have the opportunity to Round Up for Conservation and round up their purchase to the next dollar amount. These donated funds support the Zoo’s conservation initiatives and programs such as FUNDESGUA.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry at 4 p.m. Purchase advance Zoo admission tickets at www.okczoo.org/tickets and avoid the entry lines. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $16 for adults and $13 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay connected with the Zoo on Facebook, X, Instagram, Threads, Linktree and TikTok, and by visiting our blog stories. Indulge your love and passion for wildlife and wild places with a ZOOfriends Membership Passport to the OKC Zoo. These 12-month memberships provide general admission year-round and exclusive offers while supporting the Zoo’s ongoing animal care and conservation efforts. Memberships can be purchased at okczoo.org/membership.