Brad Choat

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)- A recent article in the New York Times calls into question why the St. Louis Zoo is spending 20 million dollars to build a polar bear exhibit, even though it doesn’t have any polar bears lined up to display there.

Zoo president, Dr. Jeffrey Bonner says the hope is that in the five years it will take to create the exhibit, they will get some.

Bonner says conservation will be part of the display.

“I think it’s a great idea to do the polar bear exhibit. I think that there’s a marvelous educational opportunity,” Bonner says. “There’s the ability to use the polar bears, the icon species that says we need to take better care of our planet, and this is what happens when we don’t.”

Bonner says efforts to save dying species of animals worldwide isn’t easy.

“We’re winning in some places, and we’re losing in others,” Bonner says. “It’s kind of like the Cardinals. If we can win more than we lose we’re making headway.”

Bonner says the Zoo does not spend any taxpayer dollars on conservation.

He says the funding comes from an endowment and from the park’s carousel rider fee.


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