Zoo news letterhead

April 17, 2013
Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Susan Gallagher, Ext. 4633; Christy Childs, Ext. 4639 Joanna Bender, Ext. 4703


Visitors to the Saint Louis Zoo can purchase a range of environmentally friendly products hand-crafted by artisans in developing nations across the globe. 

Purchase of these products not only supports the Zoo's conservation efforts, but it also helps eradicate poverty in developing countries.

"These eco-friendly products help eliminate wastes by repurposing recycled materials, and they help empower artists in developing nations, who can now provide for their families thanks to our visitors' purchases," says Tommy Brown, Zoo Gift Shop Manager/Buyer. He also serves as Vice President of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Buyers Group, representing over 350 zoo and aquarium buyers worldwide.

Conservation commerce sections of the Zoo's Tree Top Shop in The Living World, and Safari Gift Shop at the South Entrance, offer a range of interesting items for the home, personal accessories, collectibles, art, jewelry and much more.

  • Metal sculptures in the shape of animals are made from wire recycled from snares once used to kill animals.
  • Kenyan carvings are produced from sustainable, recycled materials that are harvested legally and in an ecologically friendly way.
  • Elegant glass sun-catchers and figurines designed to capture nature's marvels come from small studios in Ecuador. These and other glass pieces are made in part with recycled glass gathered in landfills to help protect children from broken glass as they hunt through these wastelands for aluminum and food scraps.
  • Animal sculptures of rhinos, ostriches and giraffes are made by Indonesian and Kenyan artists using discarded plastic and soda cans. Auto parts are the core component in hand-crafted Kenyan animal sculptures, with spark plugs and pieces of chain transformed into dragon flies, tarantulas and spiders.
  • Intricate puzzle boxes are decorated with carved owls, elephants and penguins—all made from furniture scraps.
  • Carved marble turtles come from enterprising artisans in Ecuador.
  • Many handwoven baskets are from The Blessing Basket Project, dedicated to helping artisans around the world become more financially independent.Accessories include elegant silk scarves and purses made from discarded saris in India; other bags are hand woven in Peru using natural plant fibers and chemical-free dies.
  • Repurposed plastic bottles have been transformed into a zippered child's purse, while other handbags are created from computer key boards and pop tops.
  • Jewelry made from tagua nuts helps artists avoid using elephant ivory and rainforest wood for their creations.
  • And for something truly unique, the Zoo's shops carry kinetic gear pendants made in the USA from renewable bamboo.

Candy at the Zoo is almost entirely free of palm oil, which is causing the decline of animal and plant species in rainforests since massive trees and foliage are being cleared to make way for palm tree plantations. Finally, water conservation is encouraged with the sale of refillable water bottles. The Zoo even sells Elephant Poo Paper made from elephant poop, which children and adults use for crafts, while helping preserve the endangered Asian Elephant.

The Zoo is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with free admission. For more information, visit www.stlzoo.org.