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Vierheller Endowed Fund
June 23, 2006 Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Janet Powell, ext. 233
Christy Childs, ext. 239; Erin Meyer, ext 320


The St. Louis Zoo has received a generous Endowment Trust challenge gift of $500,000 from the family of former Zoo Director George Vierheller, to benefit zoological medicine. Lana Mueller Jordan, granddaughter of Vierheller, and her family announced the gift at a lecture given by Dr. William Boever, DVM, Zoo Director & COO, on April 12 at the Zoo. The Zoo is seeking to match this gift over the next three years.

Vierheller served as the first director of the St. Louis Zoo from 1922 to1962. Much of the Zoo as it is today was developed under Vierheller’s direction including the Red Rocks area, Sea Lion Arena, Bird House, Primate House and Herpetarium. He is often remembered for the popular animal shows.

During her childhood, Ms. Jordan spent many weekends touring the Zoo with her charismatic grandfather, providing her with many cherished memories. Though she currently resides in Atlanta, her love and commitment to the St. Louis Zoo has remained steadfast over the years.

"My grandfather would be so proud of the St. Louis Zoo today. The issues closest to his heart are here – the beauty of the natural habitats, the strong and diverse animal collection, and the major impact the Zoo is having on preserving endangered species – and all of this incredible work continues while the Zoo remains free to all its visitors.

"Our hope is that this endowed fund will grow through matching gifts and provide funds for the St. Louis Zoo to remain a world leader in zoological veterinary care. We feel the knowledge to be gained will not only aid animals in captivity, but also extend to those in the wild,” said Ms. Jordan.

Vierheller believed in providing the Zoo’s animals with quality care to maintain their health and well-being. In 1952, he oversaw the construction of the first building designed specifically to serve as an animal hospital, which was replaced by the Endangered Species Research Center & Veterinary Hospital in 1993.

"Everyone at the Zoo is deeply appreciative of the extraordinary generosity shown by Lana and her family,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bonner, President & CEO of the Zoo. "Our veterinarians, scientists, curators and animal keepers will benefit from this investment for many years to come. "

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