The St. Louis Zoo has won the 2017 Association of Zoos & Aquariums North American Conservation Award not for its bear exhibits, but for the beetles.
The American burying beetle remains on the endangered species list, but a program by the St. Louis Zoo has led to the production of more than 11,000 of the beetles. The zoo started re-introducing the insect to some areas in Missouri in 2012.
The critically endangered American Burying beetle was once found from the United States to Canada. The carrion feeder was put on the endangered species list in 1989, when the only ones left in the wild were in Rohde Island. Before the St. Louis Zoo brought beetles to Missouri, it is thought the insect died out there in the 1970s.