Calling all animal and conservation fans 21 and older for our virtual conservation happy hour series!

We hope you will join us to learn about the research and conservation that your Zoo is doing in Missouri and beyond.

Learn more about the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute 

2021 Happy Hours

Check back for future happy hours!

Previous Happy Hours 

Center for Conservation in Peru 

Learn all about Humboldt Penguin Conservation with Zoo staff who have worked in Peru. 

It’s important to do a penguin census, but what is it like being on a boat and using binoculars at the same time?  Why is guano so important to people and penguins? How do you harvest it sustainably? You will learn all that and more as we chat about one of the original WildCare Institute centers, created in 2004.

The goal of the Center for Conservation in Punta San Juan, Peru, is to secure the future of the threatened Humboldt penguin in Punta San Juan-home to almost half the entire Peruvian breeding population.

With Emily Bowling, Amanda Burr, Sydney Oliveira, Clinton Skaggs, and Mel Miller

Center for Conservation in Madagascar 

Learn about Zoo conservation work in Madagascar.   

Often, working to conserve wildlife actually means working to better the lives of the people who live with them. One of the many challenges that the human population near Betampona in Madagascar face is food security. Villagers are often forced to hunt for wild animals in forested habitats to meet their protein and nutritional requirements.  

Two years ago, the Madagascar Flora and Fauna Group was awarded an IUCN-SOS grant to assess whether vaccinating chickens against Newcastle disease, a deadly chicken disease, will increase chicken production and, if so, reduce pressure on Betampona’s lemur populations.   

Join Dr. Fidy Rasambainarivo, a Saint Louis Zoo affiliate scientist, who will present the results of this ongoing investigation and discuss wildlife conservation in Madagascar through village poultry health management.    

Dr. Fidy Rasambainarivo, Dr. Lisa Kelley, and Mike Poletti as moderator.

Center for American Burying Beetle Conservation

Their life history is like something from some twisted graphic novel.  Under the cover of night, a couple secrets away a dead body in an underground chamber.  Then, after a weird courtship ritual that involves embalming the body, they wait patiently to feed the flesh to their offspring.  But that is pretty much what American burying beetles do.  

Grab a STL Zoo Bier Kölsch Ale and come learn about how conservationists at the Zoo have been working to bring this species back from the brink of extinction. 

American burying beetles used to be found in 35 states (including Missouri) east of the Rocky Mountains.  Now they are found in just six. Several Zoos across North America are working with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and other local partners to return this beetle to its former range.  Join Center Director Bob Merz, Zoological Manager of Invertebrates Kayla Garcia and Invertebrate Keeper Renée Hazen to learn more about their work to raise these large carrion beetles and return them to Missouri. 


Center for Chelonian Conservation

Enjoy a STL Zoo Bier Kölsch Ale or a drink of choice with members of the Saint Louis Zoo's Institute for Conservation Medicine as they discuss Turtle Conservation. They will share their stories from the field while researching and helping conserve tortoises in the Galapagos and Madagascar as well as our local aquatic turtles.  

Center for Asian Elephant Conservation

Asian Elephants and Humans' Relationship Status: "It's Complicated" 
Humans and elephants have lived side by side in Asia for thousands of years. Recently, however, the increasing human population has taken a steady toll on the elephant population throughout the continent. Human-elephant conflict is a very complex conservation issue and is one the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute's Center for Asian Elephant Conservation is tackling head on. Please join Tim Thier, Curator of Mammals/Ungulates and River’s Edge, to learn more about the Center's goals and projects. We will also be joined by Katie Pilgram-Kloppe, Zoological Manager of River's Edge and Melissa McElya, Zoological Manager of Primates, to learn about their travels to two different regions in Asia to support a variety of elephant conservation efforts.

Center for Avian Conservation in the Pacific Islands

Island Hops: A Story of Translocation to Save Avian Species 

What do snakes and World War II have to do with bird conservation?  

Islands are as unique as the animals that live on them. One of the main conservation issues for islands is that many of the plants and animals that call them home can only be found in a few places on earth. That means that their ecology is fragile and the introduction of just one species can cause major ecosystem disruptions or even mass extinctions.  

The island of Guam is an excellent example of how one introduced species caused the extinction of several bird species.  

The Saint Louis Zoo’s WildCare Center for Avian Conservation in the Pacific Islands is partnering with Pacific Bird Conservation and Department of Wildlife to ensure that bird species on the Northern Marianas Islands do not experience the same fate.  

Ron Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation

What animal could possibly have the nicknames of snot otter, Old lasagna sides and devil dog? No matter what name you choose to use, the hellbender is the largest species of salamander native to North America. How did the Herpetology staff in the Charles H. Hoessle Herpetarium at the Saint Louis Zoo figure out how to finally breed them?   

Hear stories about what it takes to raise and release the official endangered species for the state of Missouri. There are two subspecies of hellbender (Ozark and eastern hellbenders), and Missouri is the only state with both! Unfortunately, this native species is in need of immediate assistance.     

Hellbender populations are threatened by many things that humans are doing to their habitat. Join us to learn how the staff at the Zoo and their collaborators work together through the WildCare Institute’s Ron Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation to raise these large salamanders and return them to our Missouri streams.   


Raise a glass to Hellbenders!

The water-loving salamander, the Ozark Hellbender, is critically endangered, but our friends at Stone Hill Winery are doing their part to save them! With every purchase of Ozark Hellbender wine, a portion is donated to the Zoo’s hellbender conservation efforts. 

You can help the Zoo’s hellbender conservation efforts ( when you purchase Stone Hill Winery’s Ozark Hellbender wine at your Metro-area grocery stores, Stone Hill Winery in Hermann, Missouri, or online on Stone Hill Winery’s website.