|Saint Louis ZOO
in Forest Park
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
ST. LOUIS, (SLFP.com), September 20, 2012 - The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has announced that the Saint Louis ZOO received major national recognition for its wildlife conservation work, winning two of the AZA's three awards recognizing top conservation initiatives.
The 2012 International Conservation Award went to the Zoo and its partners for the "Grevy's Zebra Trust and AZA: A Model of Collaborative Endangered Species Conservation Program." In addition, one of the AZA's most historic awards, the 2012 Edward H. Bean Award went to the Zoo for its "Propagation, Head-start and Conservation Program for the Ozark Hellbender."
The International Conservation Award recognizes exceptional efforts toward habitat preservation, species restoration, and support of biodiversity in the wild. The Edward H. Bean Award recognizes a truly significant captive propagation effort that clearly enhances the conservation of the species.
"The Saint Louis Zoo is a proven leader in wildlife conservation," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "While all AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums make conservation a top priority, these awards bring well-deserved national recognition to the Saint Louis Zoo for making a positive impact on the future of these species."
"We, at the Saint Louis Zoo, are thrilled to have been selected for both prestigious awards. The International Conservation Award represents the collaboration of 27 AZA institutions and dozens of partners in building the Grevy's Zebra Trust. The AZA also honored the years of scientific inquiry and hard work that led to the captive breeding of the endangered Ozark hellbender," said Dr. Jeffrey Bonner, Dana Brown President and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo. "Only the continued commitment of cooperative global zoo programs, heightened public awareness of the plight of these animals and increased field conservation partnerships will save these magnificent species from extinction."
The Grevy's zebra has undergone a catastrophic decline in numbers and range over the past 30 years and now is found only in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia. "The Grevy's Zebra Trust is well-known as the only conservation organization in the world devoted entirely to preserving the endangered Grevy's zebra and its habitat," said Dr.Eric Miller, Senior Vice President and Director of Zoological Operations and of the Zoo's WildCare Institute.
Dr. Miller added that the fact that the Edward H. Bean Award recognized the need to save the Ozark hellbender also underscores the importance of an initiative that moves us toward a better understanding of the overall health of the aquatic ecosystem of native streams and rivers.
The Ozark hellbender - a large salamander - was historically abundant in the spring-fed rivers of southern Missouri. Surveys in the early 1990s indicated that populations had declined by 70% over the past 40 years and that only 590 individuals remained. "If there is something in the water that is causing the hellbender population to decline, it is likely to be affecting people who live near these rivers where the hellbender is languishing," Dr. Miller added.
"The Grevy's Zebra Trust plays a key role in global conservation by serving as a conservation champion for this endangered large mammal," said Martha Fischer. "Moreover, thanks to the hands-on, grass roots work of the Trust, the Grevy's zebra also serves as a flagship species by securing the future of other wildlife species inhabiting the same fragile ecosystem."
"We were especially pleased to be chosen for the Edward H. Bean Award because it honors propagation initiatives," added Jeff Ettling. In November 2011, this Center and the Missouri Department of Conservation announced that Ozark hellbenders had been bred in captivity-a first for either of the two subspecies of hellbender. "The Ozark hellbender - a veritable 'aquatic canary in the coal mine' - can tell us much about animal and human health; it is critical that we protect it."
The Saint Louis ZOO is home to more than 3,000 animals and features Jungle of the Apes and Big Cat Country. Additional attractions include the Emerson Electric Children's Zoo, The Living World educational center, River's Edge, "Penguin & Puffin Coast," Monsanto Insectarium, Mary Ann Lee Conservation Carousel, sea lion shows and bird house.
The World's Fair Flight Cage at the Zoo and the Saint Louis Art Museum, located north east of the Zoo, are the two structures remaining in Forest Park that were built for the 1904 World's Fair. Photos highlighting the 1904 World's Fair can be seen at the Missouri Historical Society, located in the Jefferson Memorial Building in Forest Park.
The Zoo is open year round, except December 25 and January 1. Summer hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Non-summer hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. General admission to the Zoo is FREE. Parking on the Zoo's two lots is $11 per day. Parking for buses, motor homes and R.V.s is $22 and is available on the South Lot only. Some events and special programs may have an admission cost.
Note: Coolers and picnic baskets are permitted on the Zoo grounds. There are picnic tables located in central areas at the Zoo. All major facilities are wheelchair accessible, as are most restrooms. Wheelchairs and strollers are available to rent at The Living World and South Gate. Wheelchairs: $7 per day; motorized vehicles (limited number) available to those 18 years or older with a major credit card: $25 per day; single strollers are $7 per day; double strollers are $9 per day. For more information, please call 314-781-0900, 1-800-966-8877 or TDD: 314-768-5421.
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