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St. Louis Zoo

(photo courtesy of the St. Louis Zoo)

Spring marks a lot of firsts in the city of St. Louis - the first pitch, the first Ted Drewes concrete, the first of the daffodils along area highways.

There's a special "first" this year for visitors to the St. Louis Zoo - a chance to see two new Grevy's zebra foals as they venture outside for the first time after their births.

Asante was born in November, and his half-sister Zuri arrived in January. Now that the weather has warmed up, Zuri and Asante are outside with the rest of the herd.

(St. Louis Zoo)

A 40-year old Asian elephant at the St. Louis Zoo named "Donna" has tested positive for tuberculosis, but is expected to be just fine.

Donna the Elephant came to the St. Louis zoo as a 3-year old juvenile in 1971.

All elephants get complete medical evaluation each year including blood collection, vaccinations and trunk cultures to look for tuberculosis.

Randy Junge, the Zoo's Director of Animal Health said the 40-year-old pachyderm will live off-display for the next year, but won't be quarantined.

sifaka lemurs
Courtesy Saint Louis Zoo

Recently, a kangaroo joey, then a rhino calf were born at the St. Louis Zoo. Now, adding to its collection of new little residents, the latest arrival is a Coquerel’s sifaka, an endangered lemur species from Madagascar.

The baby was born at the Saint Louis Zoo’s Primate House on Jan. 9, 2011.

Groundhog Day? Not at the St. Louis Zoo this year

Feb 2, 2011

If you're a little tired of this cold weather, you're in luck, as the iconic "Punxsutawney Phil" groundhog did not see his shadow this morning -- signaling Spring's early return. 

For those of you who looked for Groundhog Day-related fun a little closer to home today to no avail, that's because our new local "representative" is a little too groggy for the task this year.

Endangered black rhino calf born at St. Louis Zoo

Jan 25, 2011

There's a new arrival to the world, and St. Louis.

A black rhinoceros calf was born at the St. Louis Zoo on Jan. 14. The "little" male weighs in at 120.5 pounds.

According to a press release,  the Saint Louis Zoo’s black rhinos are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Black Rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program to manage a genetically healthy population of black rhinos in North American zoos. Currently there are 60 black rhinos in 38 institutions.

The release also shares that this is the first black rhino calf to be born at the Zoo in 20 years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 18, 2011 - Charles Darwin only spent 10 days in the Galapagos Islands.

On that score Patricia Parker's got him beat. Though she seems at home enough in her fourth-floor office at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the 60-year-old biology department chair has been to the equatorial Pacific island chain at least once a year for the past 14 years for periods ranging from one to three months.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 17, 2010 - Stephen Robin of University City is a big fan of the Zoo and the Art Museum in Forest Park and considers paying taxes to keep them going a privilege.

He also thinks they should remain free to everyone, not just to people who live in St. Louis and St. Louis County, the Zoo-Museum District where property taxes for those institutions and others are levied.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 30, 2009 - The St. Louis Zoo has added another first. A gift of $1.5 million from the William R. Orthwein Jr. and Laura Rand Orthwein Foundation has created an endowed position of animal nutritionist. Of about 200 zoos in the United States, only 14 have animal nutritionists on staff. Only four, one of them the St. Louis Zoo, have associate nutritionists.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the position of animal nutritionist has been endowed at any zoo," said Jeffrey Bonner, president and CEO of the Zoo.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 26, 2009 - Raja's birth, Phil's antics, Miss Jim's penny drive ... all of the St. Louis Zoo's great legends appear in a new coffee table book that traces the evolution of the city's beloved institution during the past century.

"Animals Always: 100 Years at the Saint Louis Zoo" (University of Missouri Press, $29.95) includes stunning photographs, historical tales and interesting facts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 5, 2009 - The future of wild animals -- among them the mighty elephant, the lowly hellbender salamander and the American burying beetle -- will be the topic of discussion when the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums meets this week in St. Louis.

Leading conservationists, including keynote speaker Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, will join about 200 heads of zoos and aquariums from all over the world at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. They will meet for two days of presentations followed by work on plans to implement the organization's updated conservation strategy. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 4, 2009 - The announcement last month that two of its elephants had contracted a potentially deadly herpes virus was enough to bring national attention to the St. Louis Zoo. Recent deaths of a gorilla and chimpanzee within two weeks of each other have brought the Zoo - fairly or unfairly - added scrutiny.

Zoo elephant's health is being carefully monitored

Feb 13, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 13, 2009 - An elephant at the St. Louis Zoo remained in stable condition Friday afternoon as she undergoes treatment for a potentially fatal herpes virus.

Jade, a 23-month-old Asian elephant, is receiving around-the-clock care from Zoo veterinarians and curators. She was lethargic on Sunday, and a blood test showed the presence of herpesviral DNA. Jade has since been taking anti-viral medication and receiving fluids. There is no vaccination for the endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV).

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 8, 2008 - Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is a leading conservationist and mountain gorilla expert as well as the founder and CEO of Conservation Through Public Health . A Ugandan nonprofit, CTPH promotes health care for wildlife and for the people in the nearby communities. She will visit the St. Louis Zoo on Tuesday, Dec. 9, and give a lecture entitled “Gorillas in Her Midst.”

Fertile ground at the Zoo

Sep 2, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008 - The Grevy's zebra born at the St. Louis Zoo on Aug. 21 adds one more baby to the new arrivals this year, including a baby tree kangaroo that's just starting to peek out of his mama's pouch, five baby tigers and a baby giraffe.

In all, there are 12 new babies and two toddlers at the Zoo.

Tiger cubs meet their public

Aug 5, 2008
tiger cub at the St. Louis zoo. 2008
Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 5, 2008 - The Amur tiger was formerly known as the Siberian Tiger. According to the Zoo's website, there are "fewer than 500 (of these tigers) living in small populations of far eastern Russia and northeast China. Loss of habitat due to logging activities, human encroachment and poaching are the main threats to their survival in the wild."

Kalista, who is seven years old, is a first-time mom. And a litter of five is unusually large. But the Zoo says she has been an "excellent mother." 

Increasing the buzz about pollination

Jun 27, 2008
These bees live and work out of the St. Louis Zoo. 300 pixels. 2008
Rachel Heideny taken at the Zoo | St. Louis Beacon archive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 27, 2008 - Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt didn't make headlines when he proclaimed June 22-28 "Pollinators' Week," but the gesture was a victory for the little guy: the hundreds of thousands of insects, birds and small mammals that aid in the growth and reproduction of plants worldwide.

And baby leopard makes 300

Jun 17, 2008
leopard cub. 2008. 300 pixels at the st. louis zoo
Photo by Amanda King | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 17, 2008 - One of the St. Louis Zoo's newest attractions also happens to be among its most rare. Sofiya, a newborn Amur leopard, was born at the zoo May 10. She is one of an estimated 300 living in captivity worldwide. Even fewer of these leopards live in the wild -- less than 40, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

And that's what makes Sofiya so special, said the zoo's curator of mammals Steve Bircher.

On Science: Dinosaur lesson at the Zoo

May 6, 2008
A dilophosaurus model
Provided by the St. Louis Zoo | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 6, 2008 - It was a beautiful Sunday morning, the air full of spring, a perfect time for my wife and me to go to the Zoo and check out the new dinosaur exhibit. Set up in an enclosed area within The River's Edge, the temporary exhibit presents a dozen dynamic dinosaur models, scaled down to child size, that bend their necks and make interesting noises. Each model comes with a brief description of just what critter is being seen, and how big it really was when it was alive and lumbering about. Even at 9:30 a.m., the exhibit was alive with children, and it was a joy to watch them relate to these mini-dinos with such immediacy and glee.