Scientific research is integral to the mission of the Saint Louis Zoo and the Zoo supports efforts to facilitate research projects lead by non-Zoo scientists. This page provides information on how to go about applying to access the Zoo's animal collection, native wildlife living on Saint Louis Zoo properties, animal records, or biomaterials from animals (e.g. blood, saliva) for research purposes. This page also provides information on procedures for accessing Zoo guests as research subjects.

Below are the procedures for scientists wishing to conduct studies focusing on Zoo animals, staff or guests, animal records or biomaterials.

Animal Studies

For studies involving live animals, animal records, biomaterials from animals, or surveys to be completed by animal care staff:

1. Send a brief description (one page or less) describing the research project rationale and what is requested of the Zoo to hulen@stlzoo.org. This will be sent to the relevant animal curator for consideration.

2. If the curator agrees to facilitate the project, the PI will be notified and should continue to complete the research proposal form found here. You are encouraged to work with the relevant curator in completing the forms as they may be able to provide assistance with some of the questions. All relevant fields in the form must be completed. PIs should avoid referring to research summaries or project descriptions in separate documents for required elements of the research form.

  • a. If you are pursuing a multi-zoo study and have already completed the AZA standardized research form, ensure that you have completed the most up-to-date version of that form, which can be found here. Older or modified versions of the form are not acceptable.

  • b. If you have completed the current version of that form, you must answer a few additional questions found here.

3. Any studies that involve manipulation of animal care practices, non-opportunistic collection of biomaterials samples, or project-specific handling of animals must also be approved by the Zoo's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The IACUC application form can be found here. If you are unsure whether your project requires IACUC approval, please contact the chair of the IACUC, Corinne Kozlowski (kozlowski@stlzoo.org).

4. If you are requesting biomaterials from the Zoo, you must also complete the biomaterials request form found here.

5. When all forms are completed and agreed upon by the relevant Zoo staff and the outside scientist, the application package should be sent to the relevant Zoo staff member and to the Director of Research, David Powell (dpowell@stlzoo.org).

If the project requires IACUC approval, the package should also go to Corinne Kozlowski (kozlowski@stlzoo.org).

If the project requests biomaterials to be transferred to the outside scientist, the package should also go to Mary Duncan (duncan@stlzoo.org), Chair of the biomaterials committee.

Zoo Guest Studies

For studies of Zoo guests and staff:

1. Send a brief description (one page or less) describing the research project rationale and what is requested of the Zoo to the director of our Conservation and Audience Research and Evaluation (CARE) department, Amy Niedbalski, niedbalski@stlzoo.org

2. If the CARE department agrees to facilitate the project, the PI will be notified and should continue to complete the Human Subjects Research Form found here.

3. The application package should be returned to Amy Niedbalski (niedbalski@stlzoo.org).

Proposal Review and Acceptance

All proposals are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis and usually require 2-4 weeks for approval. Once all relevant approvals are provided, the project may begin in coordination with either the relevant animal curator or the director of CARE.

Additional Notes

The Zoo does not review animal research proposals in November or December due to limited staff availability during the holiday season. External scientists are responsible for obtaining and maintaining any permits necessary to conduct their research and/or transport and receive biomaterials.