All are welcome to the following events, lectures and zoo exhibits in St. Louis. I have been working with the MOBOT and St. Louis Zoo staff to help promote this series of events in St. Louis. Note the Feb 25 and April 8 presentation by three well-known ecologist and specialist in cracid ecology.


Lisa Brandon, Missouri Botanical Garden, Public Relations, (314) 577-5141;
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Janet Powell, Saint Louis Zoo, Public Relations, (314) 781-0900, ext. 233;
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For Immediate Release


WHAT:  Paintings of rare endangered birds (Cracidae) by artist Nigel Hughes;
special displays of two cracid bird species
WHERE: Art exhibition at Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd.; Bird
display at St. Louis Zoo, Forest Park
WHEN:  Saturday, Feb. 26 through Sunday, Apr. 10, 2005; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
daily (Garden and Zoo)
COST:  Garden $7 adults, $5 seniors; St. Louis City/County $3 adults, $1.50
seniors; free for age 12 and under; Zoo admission free to all

        (ST. LOUIS):  The Missouri Botanical Garden and St. Louis Zoo,
institutions devoted to worldwide conservation, are collaborating to present
displays of the most rare and threatened bird family in the Americas, the
Cracidae, from Saturday, Feb. 26 to Sunday, Apr. 10.
Nearly one-third of the beautifully plumed guans, curassows, and chachalacas
from the cracid bird family are endangered because of hunting and habitat
loss, with some species on the very edge of extinction.
Guans and curassows are bio-indicators, or "canaries in the coal mine," for
the high mountain forests of South and Central America.  The overall
conservation status of these areas can be inferred from the bird
populations.  Cracids play an important ecological role in regenerating the
forests by scattering undigested fruit and nut seeds.  A sizable area of
land is necessary to sustain them, and the rapid decline of mountain forests
threatens their survival.
British artist Nigel Hughes has pursued and studied 50 cracid species, both
in captivity and in the wild, for over a decade.  More than 40 of Hughes's
oil paintings will be displayed in the Garden's Ridgway Center, 4344 Shaw
Blvd., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
On Friday, Feb. 25, be among the first to see Hughes's artwork and hear
renowned cracid expert Fernando González-García of the Instituto de Ecología
in Veracruz, Mexico.  Dr. Gonzáles will speak on hopeful developments in
restoring these endangered birds and on his partnership with the Saint Louis
Zoo's WildCare Institute, which focuses on saving ecosystems.  The lecture
begins at 7 p.m. in the Garden's Shoenberg Auditorium.
From Feb. 26 to Apr. 10, the Zoo will display two rare cracid species, the
piping guan (Pipile cumanensis cumanensis) and the helmeted curassow (Pauxi
pauxi), in the Bird House.
Named for its high pitched "piping" call, the piping guan is a close cousin
to the horned guan, one of the most critically endangered cracids.  This
South American tropical relative of the turkey spends most of its life in
the dense forest canopy.  The Zoo is studying piping guans to help save them
and their endangered cousins in the wild.  In 2000, the Zoo hatched the
first piping guan chicks produced by artificial insemination.
The unusually-shaped helmeted curassow is named for the large bluish-gray
"helmet" on its forehead.  The curassow lives in dense cloud forests.  One
of the largest birds in the South American forest, it spends most of its
time on the ground or in low trees.  Like other cracid species, helmeted
curassows are thought to play an important ecological role in renewing the
Educational tours for students and scout groups include both the paintings
at the Garden and the birds at the Zoo, with descriptive materials provided
in advance.  Teachers or scout leaders may call (314) 577-5139 or (314)
768-5466 for information.
As the exhibition draws to a close, researchers from the Missouri Botanical
Garden and its Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development will
present a joint lecture on Cracidae and their environment on Friday, Apr. 8
at 5:30 p.m. at the Garden.  Dr. Iván Jiménez Marcos will speak on the
ecology and distribution of the curassows.  Dr. Peter Jørgensen will speak
on the effects of habitat destruction and loss of plant species that are
contributing to this bird family's sad demise and on efforts being made by
the Garden and others to improve the situation.
# # #

NOTE:  Digital images are available upon request.

Cracidae        KRASS-i-day             Cracid          KRASS-id
Guans           gwans                   Curassows       KYUR-a-sows
Chachalacas     cha-cha-LA-kas

 <<05001 MBG-Zoo Cracidae.pdf>>

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