February 13, 2020

Valentine’s Day is this Friday, and one of the most popular valentine’s candies is Conversation Hearts. This week, we are switching up Conversation Hearts with our “conservation” hearts – highlighting some of the Zoo’s many conservation efforts. You can learn more about our efforts and how you can help here.


Wild 4 U

At the Saint Louis Zoo, we are dedicated to caring for animals. We care about animals here at the Zoo, and we care about their wild counterparts around the world. Our commitment to saving endangered species and their habitats is exemplified through the work of the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute and Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine.

The WildCare Institute consists of 17 centers and 11 conservation programs. With the support of its partners, the WildCare Institute takes a holistic approach to troubled ecosystems by addressing three key pillars in conservation success: wildlife management and recovery, conservation science, and support of the human populations that coexist with wildlife. From the streams of the Missouri Ozarks to the Sahara desert in North Africa, the Zoo supports critical initiatives in places where animals are threatened by shrinking habitats, poaching and disease.



The Institute for Conservation Medicine takes a holistic approach to wildlife conservation, public health and sustainable ecosystems to ensure healthy animals and healthy people. The Zoo's conservation medicine research focuses on diseases that affect the conservation of threatened and endangered wildlife species. Scientists study the origin, movement and risk factors associated with diseases. This helps them to better understand the impact of diseases on the conservation of wildlife populations; the links between the health of zoo animals and free-living wildlife populations; and the movement of diseases between wildlife, domestic animals and humans.

Love Birds

Save birds with a blooming backyard! A bird-friendly backyard may include: a water source (such as a bird bath), which gives a place for birds to bathe and drink; native gardens that attract hummingbirds as well as insects, which birds can then eat; and fruit trees to provide birds a place to nest.

After habitat loss, another significant threat to wild birds is glass. Estimates show that up to 988 million birds are killed each year in the U.S. when they hit glass windows. Decorate your windows so that birds can see and avoid them. The reflection in windows can be confusing for birds, and they can accidentally fly into the windows and hurt themselves. Make it a family project and decorate your windows with beautiful suncatchers! At the Zoo, we have put striping on many of our windows to help keep birds safe.

Bye, Bye Love

We encourage people to break up with plastic bags and make the choice to switch to reusable bags instead. #byetobags was designed and organized by our Zoo ALIVE teen volunteers in January 2016 through a partnership with The Ocean Project. Subsequent support for the project has been provided by generous donors to the Saint Louis Zoo. The project highlights our ability to impact ocean health, even from the Midwest, through a simple, solution-oriented action—using reusable bags instead of plastic. #byetobags reminds us that individuals are the forces of change. It’s been estimated that one person switching to reusable bags can keep about 500 plastic bags out of the environment every year! As of December 2019, 13,249 Saint Louis Zoo visitors have pledged to make the switch to reusable bags. Join us today by pledging to say goodbye to plastic bags!


Bee Mine

Did you know that one out of every three bites of food you eat depends on pollinators? Insects like honeybees and bumble bees, as well as birds and small mammals, pollinate over 90 percent of the planet's flowering plants and one third of the human diet. Our world would be a lot less colorful and flavorful without pollinators! Of the estimated 1,330 crop plants grown worldwide for food, beverages, fibers, condiments, spices and medicines, approximately 75 percent are pollinated by animals. In the U.S., honeybee and native bee pollination accounts for approximately $19 billion worth of crop production. You can help native pollinators, especially bees, by planting a pollinator-friendly garden.

Sustain 4 Ever 

Orangutans and many other animals are in danger due to unsustainable palm oil plantations, which destroy their forest homes. Palm oil plantations are not a natural part of the rainforest. Palm oil is an introduced agricultural crop. Over 30 million tons of palm oil are produced in Indonesia and Malaysia per year. This demand is increasing rapidly due to recent trans-fat health concerns and bio-fuel development.

Palm oil can be found in many products—even candy! We are dedicated to caring for animals, so we encourage you to consider purchasing candy that contains sustainable palm oil. Visit this link to print out your cheat sheet, or download the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's palm oil shopping guide app.