ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Everybody’s struggling to keep up with their grocery bills these days.
Now consider having to feed thousands of mouths on a daily basis and trying to explain the hardships of a slow economy to a hungry lion, bear or elephant.
“It’s very hard,” explains Jack Grisham, vice president for animal collection at the St. Louis Zoo. “The price of a lot of our food items here have gone up almost 54% in the last year.”
The unusual nature of the daily menu at the zoo also contributes to higher food prices.
“Like over a million-and-a-half mealworms a year, almost three-quarters of a million waxworms, twenty two thousand mice, and fifteen tons of mackerel,” Grisham points out. “And that’s going to increase next year when we open up Sea Lion Sound, we’ll have more sea lions.”
Some more items on the zoo’s menu:
- 22 tons of carrots annually
- 104,000 bananas
- 2,800 lbs. of hay, with a poor growing and harvesting year driving up the price of hay.
Also, the price of beef has risen and carnivore diets have tripled over the past year, and prices for corn, wheat and other grains are also on the rise.
This is where members of the St. Louis Zoo Friends Association and other zoo supporters come in.
A recent letter to Friends Association members asked them to consider making an extra donation this year to help the zoo cover the cost of that ever-mounting food bill.
Of course the St. Louis Zoo is well known as one of the last free public zoos in the country.
Grisham stresses that no matter what, that’s not going to change.
“It’s in our charter that we will be ‘Forever Free’,” he says. “And there is no doubt whatever that we’ll be free forever.”
Those wanting to help out can go to www.stlzoo.org.
Copyright KMOX Radio