St. Louis Zoo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Zoo

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

The residents of the big birdcage aren’t as flashy or exotic as many of the 19,000 animals at the Saint Louis Zoo, but they do put on a show.

At ground level, a row of small ruddy ducks with bright blue bills follow the leader, making rippling curlicues in a swamp-like pond. Double-crested cormorants hang out on a wooden bridge, striking a pose with their outstretched wings, as visitors reach for their camera phones.   

Louise Bradshaw
Ray Meibaum | St. Louis Zoo

The St. Louis Zoo has received a $1.5 million gift from the Saigh Foundation that will, in essence, create an endowed chair for the Zoo’s education department.

That department is headed by Louise Bradshaw, who will become the first Fred Saigh Director of Education.

In an interview with St. Louis Public Radio, she said this provides a lot of security for the zoo’s wide-ranging educational programs.

“We’re able to reach over 1.7 million guests with the Zoo’s conservation education messages,” she said.

Lincoln Brower

The City of St. Louis and several partners are launching a project to help monarch butterflies.

It involves encouraging area residents to plant milkweeds -- a plant with large fruit pods that release fluffy seeds in the fall.

The Saint Louis Zoo is one of the partners in the “Milkweeds for Monarchs” initiative, along with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The zoo's curator of invertebrates, Edward Spevak, says milkweeds are critical to the monarch’s survival.

Roger Brandt/Saint Louis Zoo

A sea lion has died at the St. Louis Zoo.

“Bennie,” as he was known, was born at the zoo in 2002 and would have been 12 years old in June.

The 500 pound sea lion was one of the stars of the zoo’s sea lion show. But he stopped performing two weeks ago and had been under veterinary care.

The zoo says a necropsy will be performed by its pathologist, but it will take several weeks for the zoo to get the lab results needed to determine the cause of death.

courtesy photo

What does the Saint Louis Zoo have to do with Africa? More than you might think. It is a founding member of the Sahara Conservation Fund, which works to protect endangered species in Africa.

“The zoo was already involved in captive breeding of these species and was really keen to get involved in the preservation of these species in the wild,” said John Newby, a conservation fellow with the Saint Louis Zoo and the CEO of the Sahara Conservation Fund.

(Saint Louis Zoo)

Updated Nov. 27 at 10:40 a.m. to correct two photo captions.

There’s a bird to be thankful for in St. Louis, but we’re not talking about turkey.

On Nov. 2, the Saint Louis Zoo welcomed yet another adorable addition, a fluffy Tawny Frogmouth chick.  Born to first-time parents, zoo keepers are taking extra precautions to ensure the chick develops properly.  

(Saint Louis Zoo)

The Saint Louis Zoo is forging ahead with building a new, state-of-the-art polar bear exhibit.

The 40,000-square-foot McDonnell Polar Bear Point will more than double the zoo’s previous polar bear habitat, which closed in 2009.

Features of the exhibit will include:

(Via Flikr/Derringsdo)

Commissioners of the Zoo-Museum District, on September 30, voted to raise the property tax rate that funds five St. Louis cultural institutions to the highest level permitted by state law.  Those institutions are the St. Louis Zoo, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science Center and Missouri History Museum.

Commentary: Spread the Zoo Museum District costs

Sep 11, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As a little girl growing up in rural Southern Illinois, my parents often piled my sister and me into the car, packed a cooler full of our favorite foods, and headed across the bridge toward St. Louis. Our destination: Forest Park. We spent our morning running around the park, ate our picnic lunch, and then strolled through the St. Louis Zoo. My parents did this quite often, and for good reason: It did not cost them anything more than the gas in the car and food in the cooler.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

In a slight departure from the cute-beyond-debate baby animal post, today we bring you a look at a group of highly endangered baby snakes born at the Saint Louis Zoo. 

The Zoo says nine ocellate mountain vipers were born there on Aug. 16. The species is from northeastern Turkey.

(Kim Downey/Saint Louis Zoo)

The Saint Louis Zoo has released photos and video of one of its newest editions, a baby okapi named Umeme. 

The zoo says the name is Swahili for “lightning."

Umeme, a female, weighed in at just over 52 pounds when she was born on June 17. Okapis are also known as "forest giraffes" and the zoo says they're likely endangered in the wild due to hunting and political crises in their native area of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The zoo says the animals are one of the last mammals "discovered" by the scientific community, as the "discovery" came in 1901.

Dan Kirk/Saint Louis Zoo

For a second year, the St. Louis Zoo is continuing efforts to bring back an endangered beetle to southwestern Missouri.

Sharon Deem, Saint Louis Zoo

Camels are known for their ability to travel long distances across the desert without water.

But they’re also becoming an increasingly important source of milk for people in drought-prone regions. That includes East African countries like Kenya, where camel numbers have skyrocketed over the past few decades.

But introducing camels — or any species — to a new region, could mean bringing in new diseases.

The St. Louis Zoo has been studying camel diseases in Kenya to help assess their risks.

St. Louis Zoo Unveils Updated Expansion Plans

May 1, 2013
Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Zoo showcased new plans for the 13 and a half acre expansion on the southern side of interstate 64.

The plans aren’t set in stone, and the zoo is still asking for public opinion.

But it outlines a framework of where the zoo could go in the next 20 years – adding exhibits, a hotel, an upscale restaurant.

Ed Uhlir is a consultant on the expansion project, and says moving parking and adding a way for visitors to cross the interstate has to be the first move.

Katie Pilgram / St. Louis Zoo

Updated with photos of new calf & naming information May 6:

The St. Louis Zoo has announced that the elephant has been named Priya (pronounced Pree-yah) after 53,692 votes from the public were counted.

The name means "dear" or "beloved" and received just over 29 percent of the votes. The runner-up name was "Willow."

Original story from April 27:

Late Friday night the St. Louis Zoo's 42-year-old Asian elephant, Ellie, gave birth to a female calf.   With the new addition the zoo’s elephant herd now grows to ten. 

flickr/jennlynndesign

An Asian elephant calf is due to be born any day at the St. Louis Zoo, cause for both celebration and concern amid the backdrop of a deadly herpes virus.

The virus has killed about 25 percent of Asian elephants born in North American zoos in the past three decades. Some animal rights activists told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that it is irresponsible to breed elephants knowing the presence of the virus in the herd.

Florian Schulz

Florian Schulz has two passions.  He is an award-winning wildlife photographer, but is equally dedicated to preserving the habitat of wildlife. 

Schulz’s passions led him to the Arctic where he spent 18 months in search of breathtaking images documenting life in every season.  The result is the book “To the Arctic” which is the companion to the IMAX film of the same name.

Adult Ozark hellbenders can reach up to two feet in length, making them one of the largest salamanders in the world.
Ray Meibaum | Saint Louis Zoo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Flat-headed, wriggly, covered in slime and looking like a cross between a lizard, a fish and an eel, the hellbender probably won’t win a contest for Missouri’s cutest critter. Its very name is likely a speculation by early settlers on the creature’s place of origin.

“Some people say they look like they are bent on returning to where they belong because they are so ugly,” said Jeff Briggler, a herpetologist from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

(via Saint Louis Zoo)

The St. Louis Zoo held an open house Tuesday night to launch the planning process for its expansion into the recently purchased 13.5 acre Forest Park Hospital.

David McGuire is vice president for architecture and planning at the zoo and says it might take decades to complete the expansion project.

The initial planning phase is expected to last six to eight months, and McGuire says at the end of the day adding the new site will mean the zoo can extend its mission. 

(Ray Meibaum/Saint Louis Zoo)

Another little one has arrived at the Saint Louis Zoo -- this time it's a colobus monkey named Kivuli, which is Swahili for ghost or shadow.

The name is appropriate for her birthday Oct. 31, 2012, Halloween. Kivuli is her mother Cecilia's first baby. All colobus monkey babies are born with white hair and a pink face, and eventually change color to have predominantly black hair with white accents. 

In the wild, colobus monkeys are found throughout the forests of east and central Africa. Kivuli, Cecilia and the father, Kima, are all on view now at the Zoo.

(Rachael Macy/Saint Louis Zoo)

I'm always a sucker for baby animal photos, but, in this case, the animal will one day have quite a "sucker" of her own.

A giant anteater, named Sabia, was born Aug. 14 and will eventually have a tongue that can extend up to two feet to capture the up to 30,000 ants she'll eat each day. 

Sabia is scheduled to make her Zoo debut today with her mother, weather permitting, from about 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The historic range of the giant anteater is in Central America, but the Zoo says the species is in danger of extinction in the wild.

Jill Utrup/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Saint Louis Zoo once again is teeming with baby giant salamanders.

For the second year in a row, the zoo has successfully bred endangered Ozark hellbenders in captivity.

This time, a total of eight females laid 2,809 fertile eggs. Two-hundred and fourteen salamander larvae have hatched so far, with many more expected.

Even though the salamanders are smaller than a quarter when they first hatch, as adults they can reach lengths of up to two feet.

(Courtesy Saint Louis Zoo)

Updated 5:52 p.m.

Carol Perkins, a conservationist and humanitarian and the widow of famed zoologist Marlin Perkins, has died.

The Saint Louis Zoo says Carol Perkins died Saturday at her home in Clayton, Mo. She was 95 and had been in declining health.

Marlin Perkins was the director of the Saint Louis Zoo who gained international fame after becoming host of television's "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" in 1962. The program aired for 26 years until his death in 1986.

(via Saint Louis Zoo)

Updated at 3:25 with comments from Zoo officials.

Plans to expand the Saint Louis Zoo are moving forward with the zoo's purchase of the 13.5-acre property of the former Forest Park Hospital.

The Saint Louis Zoo Association, a private non-profit, closed the purchase on Friday. Price and contract terms were not disclosed. Plans for the deal were announced in March

Stephanie Richmond / St. Louis Zoo

The Asian elephant herd at the Saint Louis Zoo is about to grow again.

The Zoo announced today that Ellie is pregnant with a female calf. It's her fourth pregnancy and third birth - she miscarried in 2010 at 36 weeks. The typical elephant pregnancy lasts about 22 months, so Ellie's latest calf is due in the spring of 2013.

The Zoo says typical newborn elephants weigh between 250 and 350 pounds.

(wwarby via Flickr)

Unlike their cold-weather relatives, Humboldt penguins live only in South America, along the rocky Pacific coast of Chile and Peru.

The Saint Louis Zoo’s Michael Macek has been monitoring the penguins there, tracking their health and numbers.

Macek is back in Peru again, in a coastal reserve called Punta San Juan, where Humboldt penguins nest by the thousands.

Before he left, he told St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra that this time he’s helping to lead a sustainable guano harvest.

via Flickr/Derringdos

St. Louis Zoo officials say the deaths of three harbor seals in transit from Canada to St. Louis last month were due to exertional myopathy, or a disease of the muscles. The disease was likely brought on by the stress of travel.

Robin Winkelman/Saint Louis Zoo

St. Louis' population has increased by one - well, at least at the Saint Louis Zoo.

A baby colobus monkey was born on June 30. It does not have a name yet because its gender is still uncertain.

Ingrid Porton, curator of primates at the Zoo, said the baby monkey's mother, Roberta, was once thought to be post-reproductive - but with the birth of two babies since she came to the Zoo in 2010, "happily she proved this to be quite incorrect.”

You can catch a glimpse of the new baby, Roberta and the whole colobus monkey family at the Zoo. They are all now on exhibit.

Robin Winkelman/Saint Louis Zoo

Starting this Saturday, visitors to the Saint Louis Zoo will have their first chance to check out a new sea lion exhibit.

The 1.5 acre, $18 million habitat will house 11 California sea lions in a large saltwater pool. There’s also an arena for sea lion shows.

Derringdos / Flickr

Updated 10:34 a.m. June 13, 2012 with announcement of third seal death.

The Saint Louis Zoo has announced the death of a third seal (the one which was left at the Indianapolis Zoo for observation and treatment). The seal, Cri Cri, was 19 years old. 

A necropsy will be performed by the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University to try to find the cause of death of Cri Cri. Necropsies were performed for the other two seals who died by the Saint Louis Zoo's veterinary pathologist.

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