September 21, 2023

This thirty day period, the planet missing a conservation chief from Houston. Peter Riger labored domestically and across the world to defend endangered animals by focusing his awareness on the men and women on the frontlines in each individual state jogging conservation and instruction systems.

Riger was the Houston Zoo’s vice president of Conservation and Schooling, handling an worldwide network of jobs and partnerships. KPRC 2 was lucky to get to know him above the last numerous yrs by means of a documentary sequence we’ve made with the zoo.

In Borneo in 2017, Riger introduced us to conservation associates operating to help save help save animals like elephants, orangutans, and pangolins.

Borneo, 2017 (KPRC/Click

“Governments have to do the job more quickly, point out and regional local organizations have to operate more quickly, and conservationists have to yell louder when they really feel that there is a problem,” Riger informed us on that journey.

Peter Riger and conservation companion Nurzhafarina Othman in Borneo, 2017 (KPRC/Click

His work provided supporting conservation partners eager to do that. For several, he grew to become more than a mentor, he grew to become a loyal mate.

“You noticed my probable when it was however concealed and gave me the platform to showcase my talents. By way of your encouragement and help, I found out my genuine probable and grew into the human being I am currently,” wrote Nurzhafarina Othman on learning of Riger’s passing. “Your presence in my daily life was a reward I will forever maintain expensive.”

Othman runs a application to shield pygmy elephants in Borneo and is one of the Houston Zoo’s Wildlife Warriors.

Peter Riger and conservation partner Nurzhafarina Othman in Borneo, 2017 (KPRC/

Two many years following Borneo, we explored the Pantanal with Riger as we experienced endeavours the Houston Zoo backs in that area of Brazil to preserve wildlife like giant armadillos, large anteaters, and giant otters.

“We devote in men and women that we belief and I really don’t just imply devote financially, we make investments our individual time and zoo guidance in people today that we have faith in,” Riger explained throughout an job interview in Brazil in 2019.

The resulting documentary titled “Saving Wildlife: Giants of the Pantanal” showcased many giant animals, but Riger was a large in his personal ideal, impacting conservation packages like several could.

Brazil, 2019 (KPRC/

Riger brought kindness and humor to his function. We witnessed him effortlessly perform with associates around the globe. His skill to link and collaborate were remarkable to look at. His passion for producing a variance rubbed off on everyone lucky to knowledge it.

“I am terribly saddened to listen to of Peter’s passing. I want to extend my heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to his loved ones and the Houston Zoo household,” wrote Andy Cerota, KPRC 2 anchor. “I had the privilege of traveling with Peter to the Pantanal in Brazil in 2019. Peter was so passionate about his operate and championed the quite a few causes and conservation programs the Houston Zoo is concerned in across the entire world. Peter was a wealth of information and facts with so quite a few fantastic stories to share. His understanding, knowledge, and direction in the course of our journey have been a must have.”

Riger’s get the job done with animals spanned additional than 35 many years. He labored at Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut, Riverside Zoo in Nebraska, the Bronx Zoo in New York, and the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee right before joining the Houston Zoo team in 2004. On LinkedIn, Riger famous his do the job integrated animal care and administration, wildlife conservation, fundraising, instruction and visitor engagement systems, and field do the job on wildlife programming in extra than a dozen nations.

Justin Stapleton and Peter Riger in Borneo, 2017 (KPRC/Click

“I was fortunate to have traveled with Peter to the jungles of Borneo and the Pantanal in Brazil on documentary shoots,” wrote Allen Reid, former KPRC 2 photojournalist. “I was blown absent by his remarkable know-how of the animals we observed although on our journeys. Peter’s sense of humor was also a trait of his I will normally don’t forget.”

Peter Riger snaps a selfie with a horse that walked up to the patio where KPRC 2 was recording an interview (KPRC/
During a documentary shoot in the Pantanal in Brazil, Peter Riger required to end an job interview by inquiring Andy Cerota a few thoughts. Right here is an excerpt.

KPRC 2 extends our deepest condolences to the overall Houston Zoo team, together with the zoo’s conservation companions all about the environment, and to Riger’s wife Sara, who he lovingly talked about throughout our travels.

Peter Riger on the knowledge of telling the story of conservation jobs in the Pantanal in Brazil, 2019 (KPRC/Simply

Rest in peace, Peter. You will be missed. Your perform will continue.

“Saving Wildlife: From Houston to Borneo”

“Saving Wildlife: Giants of the Pantanal”

KPRC 2 and the Houston Zoo take you on a journey to Brazil to master about the animals and initiatives underway to shield them

Houston Zoo conservation blogs composed by Peter Riger

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