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Bring Out Your Dead—Undertaking Conservation: The Recovery of the Endangered American Burying Beetle

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 @ 7:30 PM-9:00 PM

Featured Speaker: Bob Merz, Zoological Manager, Invertebrates, Saint Louis Zoo

Photo Courtsey Saint Louis Zoo

Like a story from a bizarre and twisted pulp novel—a couple finds a dead body, then under the cover of darkness, secret it away in a safe place and then feed the remains to their babies. It almost sounds too gruesome to be true, until you realize that it’s a large carrion beetle performing the essential task of breaking down “nature’s garbage,” by recycling carcasses and controlling fly populations.

The American Burying Beetle was once common in 35 states and 3 provinces of Canada. Now it is found in small pockets in just 7 states. This dramatic decline prompted the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to classify this beautiful black and red beetle as Endangered in 1989. Since 2002, the Invertebrate Unit at the Saint Louis Zoo has been diligently working toward the species’ recovery—surveying Missouri for existing populations and establishing colonies at the Zoo that help us learn more about this endangered beetle and its remarkable life history. In addition, the Saint Louis Zoo are providing founders in a USFWS-led reintroduction effort in parts of the species’ former range and are investigating possible reasons contributing to the beetle’s decline. Don’t miss Zoo Invertebrates Manager, Bob Merz’s unique insight into the nitty-gritty of field work to save an endangered species in this overview of the Saint Louis Zoo’s continuing effort to recover the American Burying Beetle.

Free public seminars highlight conservation science and global conservation issues and efforts supported by the Saint Louis Zoo and other wildlife organizations. Junior Academy members, middle, and high school students are encouraged to attend. Reservations are not required.

All Conservation Conversations are held in the St. Louis Zoo Living World auditorium and parking is free in the Zoo North Lot.

Conservation Conversations Co-sponsored by:


Tuesday, February 16, 2010
7:30 PM-9:00 PM
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