Two Andean cock-of-the-rock birds are winging their way to the Houston Zoo, compliments of the Dallas World Aquarium. The colorful duo is a surprise gift in honor of the zoo's outgoing CEO Deborah Cannon, who retires in August and who considers these among her favorite birds.
In an interesting career twist, Cannon has a special connection with the Dallas institution.
“Deborah was one of our bankers when I opened The Dallas World Aquarium in 1992," explained director Daryl Richardson. "I wanted to honor her retirement for her endless support of me back then, as well as all she’s done for the zoo community since joining our industry ten years ago, knowing these were some of her favorite birds, and that Houston Zoo would be a wonderful place to showcase these beautiful birds again.”
While the Houston Zoo was the first to successfully breed the species in captivity (six chicks hatched between 1979 and 1988), cock-of-the-rocks have been absent from the zoo for nine years.
During Cannon's tenure, the zoo has seen revenue and membership more than double with more than $120 million dedicated to improving zoo offerings and enhancing animal welfare, not to mention added exhibits including the recent opening of the acclaimed gorilla exhibit.