In 1963, the San Diego Zoo hatched its first Gila monsters, a first for any zoo in the world. We earned the prestigious Edward H. Bean Award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for propagation of the species.
Much of the scrubland of the Gila monster's habitat has been cleared for agriculture and other human activities. Domestic cats and dogs often kill the lizards, and some are illegally collected for the pet trade. In 1952, the Gila monster became the first venomous animal in North America to be given legal protection.