"The expansion of River's Edge was made possible by The Living Promise Campaign through charitable gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations," said Jeffrey Bonner, Dana Brown President and CEO at the Saint Louis Zoo. "We are especially pleased to announce a gift of $1.2 million from Nestlé Purina PetCare Company for our painted dog habitat, the Purina Painted Dog Preserve. The generosity of Purina and all our donors help the zoo provide a wonderful new home for this and other endangered species and to continue the research and field work we have been doing to help them survive in the wild."
Completed in 2002, the 10-acre River's Edge is an immersion exhibit with a meandering trail through the continents of South America, Africa, Asia and North America, according to a zoo news release. The new exhibits have been under construction since 2012 and will occupy previously unutilized space in the area between the anteater and capybara, black rhinoceros and elephant habitats. The animals will have large areas with natural substrates, numerous plants similar to those found in their native habitats and enriching areas for climbing, nest-building, swimming, chasing and exploring. The zoo's visitors will get an up-close view of the animals.
The 5,500-square-foot Purina Painted Dog Preserve will be home to five painted dogs, three females and two 4-month-old puppies. A Savannah Shade Structure viewing area extends into the dogs' habitat and provides a 270-degree view through eight-foot-tall glass panels. Here, visitors can see the dogs' active social lives, including their vocalizing, playing and chasing each other in the open grassy spaces, splashing in the stream, digging in the sand pile or taking a rest in a heated den.
The Andean bears, also known as spectacled bears, will live in Andean Bear Range, a habitat that is double the size of their previous exhibit. The 7,000-square-foot range will be home to two Andean bears and includes natural deadfall and manmade trees to encourage the bears to climb. On the ground, they have grass for digging and a heated den. Andean bears also enjoy water, so their new home features a waterfall with a stream that runs the entire length of their habitat. At the two large viewing areas, visitors can see the bears swimming underwater.
Two sun bears will find lots of trees to climb, rest and play in at Sun Bear Forest, a 3,700-square-foot exhibit. When they are ready to descend to the ground, the bears can enjoy the varied terrain or spend time splashing in their waterfall, stream and pool. Their new habitat also includes a pile of logs for zookeepers to hide enrichment treats for the bears to find.
Saint Louis Zoo is located at One Government Drive, St. Louis, 63110. Call 314-781-0900.