Missouri House Commends Elephant Care
Members of the Missouri House of Representatives, 94th General Assembly, have unanimously passed a resolution commending the Saint Louis Zoo, Kansas City Zoo and Springfield's Dickerson Park Zoo for developing and maintaining viable populations of elephants that are endangered in the wild. The proclamation was sponsored by Rep. Rachel Storch of the 64th District, Rep. B. J. Marsh of the 136th District and Rep. Craig Bland of the 43rd District.
The Saint Louis Zoo is home to a herd of eight Asian elephants, the Dickerson Park Zoo a herd of seven Asian elephants, and the Kansas City Zoo a herd of six African elephants. According to the proclamation, Missouri's three zoos are "universally praised for their exemplary care and conservation of endangered elephant species," providing a link between zoo animals and the conservation of their wild counterparts through an Elephant Species Survival Plan in cooperation with other AZA-accredited institutions.
All three of these Missouri zoos sustain critically endangered elephant species through their animal care expertise, professional veterinary care, excellent nutrition and safe, comfortable homes. During the summer of 2006, the Saint Louis Zoo and Dickerson Park Zoo increased their elephant herds through the births of two female Asian elephant calves. On February 25, 2007, the Saint Louis Zoo increased their size once again through the birth of another female Asian elephant.
Dickerson Park "attained well-deserved acclaim by having the world's first elephant birth as a result of artificial insemination, while the Kansas City Zoo developed the transabdominal ultrasound technique used to monitor gestation in elephants, and the Saint Louis Zoo developed the use of ultrasonography to evaluate elephant foot health," states the proclamation.
All three Missouri zoos care about the future of elephants not only at their institutions, but also those in the wild. The three zoos, in light of the 50% decline in population by African elephants during the past 40 years and the fewer than 35,000 Asian elephants remaining in the wild today, support conservation of wild elephants in programs in Sumatra, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Tanzania. In addition, during 2005 more than 3,500,000 visitors, including 300,000 schoolchildren, enjoyed the entertainment and educational opportunities offered by the Saint Louis Zoo, Kansas City Zoo and Dickerson Park Zoo.