Niabi Zoo promises to restore memorials after more than 70 silently removed

COAL VALLEY, Illinois - Niabi Zoo is restoring more than 70 memorials after taking them down last year without notifying anyone.

"Niabi Zoo... will restore all removed memorial plaques, stones and benches to their original locations within the zoological park," a press release from the zoo, on August 19, stated.

This follows a WQAD News 8 report last week that more than 70 memorials had been removed, but no one had been notified. Hear from several of the families, here.

“I recognize the decision to remove the memorials was a mistake,” said Zoo Director Lee Jackson.

The zoo's press release promises all memorials will be back by the end of the season, if not sooner. They will also move forward with a plan to create a centralized area for memorials, although they also say the memorials will be put in their original places. Those who have already picked up their memorials will have theirs replaced with a new one at no extra cost.

The release also blamed part of the the situation a lack of philanthropic procedure. Leading members of the zoo promise to work with Niabi's Community Advisory Board to address the problem.