St. Louis Zoo buying 425-acre complex in North County for $7.1 m -

St. Louis Zoo buying 425-acre complex in North County for $7.1 million

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St. Louis Zoo (Credit: KMOV) St. Louis Zoo (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS ( – The Saint Louis Zoo is buying a 425-acre complex in north St. Louis County for $7.1 million and plans to use the area for animal conservation, likely to come with a public component.

The $7.1 million is coming from privately raised funds, and no taxpayer dollars are being used.

The Zoo is buying the land from the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, who have owned the property since the 1960s.

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The land includes the Emerald Greens Golf Course in North County. The property has great terrain, perimeter fencing, utilities, lakes, good buffers surrounding and existing buildings, according to the Zoo’s press release.

Zoo officials say they want to turn the land into a center for research.

"What we would be doing is concentrated breeding of endangered species also doing a certain amount of animals science and research which is important to us," said Dr. Jefferey Bonner, C.E.O. of St. Louis Zoo.

The sale is expected to take several months to close, but Zoo officials said land like this is very scarce in the Metropolitan area, and they have their heart set on buying this land.

Once the deal is finalized, the Zoo plans to develop the property for the purposes of enhanced dedication and care for endangered and threatened animals.

The Zoo said the specific details are not yet available, but there will likely be a public component to the property, which would be similar to other zoos that have off-site conservation breeding facilities and often have a wildlife and safari experience.

“The purchase will be made with local philanthropic gifts intended for procurement of this property,” said Joseph T. Ambrose, President of the Saint Louis Zoo Association. “The Saint Louis Zoo is an incredible asset to the entire region and it is recognized as a world-class operation that provides tremendous economic value to our community. Maintaining the Zoo’s world-class status requires the kind of forward thinking represented in this purchase.”

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