Saint Louis Zoo purchases 172 hectare complex for conservation efforts

The Saint Louis Zoo Association is set to purchase a 172-hectare complex in north Saint Louis County as part of its long-term plan for care and conservation of endangered species.

The land is being acquired from the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 for $7.1m. The St Louis Zoo Association said the funds used for the purchase were obtained through private donations.

“We have long desired an expanded land area to provide the best possible care for animals, especially a place where we can focus on conservation breeding efforts with endangered animals and those that are at risk,” said Jeffrey Bonner, CEO of the zoo.

“There are very few parcels of land in the metropolitan area that could meet this need and we are grateful to have entered into this agreement with Local 562. The property offers great terrain, perimeter fencing, utilities, lakes, good buffers surrounding and existing buildings.”

Once the due diligence assessment is finalised over the next several months, the zoo plans to develop the property for use in the care of threatened and endangered animals. While specific details are not yet known, there also will likely be a public component to this property.

This is similar to other zoos that have off-site conservation breeding facilities, and the public element offered often includes a wildlife and safari experience.

Bonner added: “We are committed to maintaining our century-old campus in Forest Park, which has significant infrastructure needs, including modernisation of habitats to meet evolving standards of care. We also have a tremendous need for additional space.”