Monkey business • Two gorillas romp (and briefly scare a small child) at the St. Louis Zoo.
Long necks • Adorable photo of the day, tweeted by the St. Louis Zoo.
Snow birds • King penguins explore the snowy outdoors with St. Louis Zoo keeper Cyndie Gitter on Thursday.
Hatching a plan • The St. Louis Zoo hopes to release newly hatched Ozark hellbenders — the first to be bred in captivity — into Missouri rivers and replenish the endangered large salamander sometimes known as a “snot otter.” The zoo has been working with the Missouri Department of Conservation for 10 years to try to breed the Ozark hellbender, one of two subspecies of the hellbender that is native to southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.
Hellbender and back again • The St. Louis Zoo announced today it has bred 63 critically endangered Ozark hellbenders in captivity — a scientific first. The hellbender, seen here just after hatching, is an ancient salamander whose numbers have plummeted by 80 percent in the past three decades. Scientists blame pollution for its decline. (Photo by Mark Wanner / St. Louis Zoo)
Paws to consider • Since 2008, importing Arctic polar bears has been prohibited. Citing accelerated melting of sea ice, the Interior Department in the George W. Bush administration declared polar bears threatened under the Endangered Species Act. That, coupled with provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, closed the door to imports to American zoos. After hearing a plea from the St. Louis Zoo, Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, has organized an alliance of House members that asked the Interior Department to begin awarding import permits “to accredited zoos that meet specific and rigorous public display, animal welfare and conservation education standards.”
Bird movies, bird books, bird watching — there are a lot of birds in today’s edition of Go! magazine.
Birds of a feather • When I first nested here 110 years ago, St. Louis was not for the birds — at least, not yet. Sure, the eagles stopped by every winter, but they always mocked my jaunty bow tie and taste in footwear. Finally, I found friends in Fredbird, the raptors of the World Bird Sanctuary and fowl of Shaw Nature Reserve. These days, we’re everywhere — in fiction, in the movies, in a gorgeous new education center and, occasionally, the rafters of Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. My featherless colleagues at Go! magazine offer a variety of places to enjoy my friends and me in our natural habitat.
Going nuts • What’s next for the Cardinals “rally squirrel”? Before Friday’s game against the Phillies, a squirrel was spotted (and caught) at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Previous rally squirrel sightings had been limited to Busch Stadium. The Cards take on the Brewers on Sunday — @BuschSquirrel tweets that he’ll be in Milwaukee for the game.
See gulls • A $3.3 million bird-watching center is the latest addition to a decade-long effort to promote nature tourism near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The new center is in the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, situated in the heart of the Mississippi flyway, one of the most significant routes for migrating birds in the world. Sixty percent of American waterbirds and songbirds — some 325 species — travel through the unique habitat every year.