A world class animal house in our own backyard

When the sun is blazing overhead and the weather is too beautiful to spend another second inside, there’s only one place to go: the Calgary Zoo.

It is the ideal destination for both locals and visitors because it offers a mix of indoor and outdoor habitats with a selection of animals to suit everyone–there is even a prehistoric dinosaur park. I love visiting the zoo for a plethora of reasons: hippos, gibbons, tigers, gorillas, red pandas, spider monkeys, lemurs and the tiny little tamarins and marmosets. Also, the zoo has more to offer than an abundance of cute cuddly and sometimes odd flora and fauna. It offers a medley of tasty treats such as cotton candy, special zoo popcorn (seriously, it tastes better than other popcorn) and other animal-shaped sweets.

The Calgary Zoo is a model amongst its peers in areas such as habitat enrichment, species survival programs and conservation outreach. The most recent addition to the zoo grounds is Destination Africa, a duplicate of that continent’s environments. It contains a hippo habitat with an underwater viewing area, an oversized elephant haunt and a gorilla ground to please any primate, evolved or not. This structure is truly innovative among zoos, and places Calgary’s zoo among the top in the world.

The zoo is also actively involved in the species survival program, which works to keep genetic diversity in populations close to extinction. The zoo is currently involved with whooping cranes in Florida and boosts the local release of burrowing owls and swift foxes.

The Calgary Zoo is partnered with organizations all over the world with a noted commitment to Africa. One of the most ambitious projects is the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary in Ghana where conservation outreach representatives work with local authorities to promote habitat preservation. They are achieving their goal through educating the surrounding communities on the monetary and practical benefits of retaining the current hippopotamus environment.

The best part of the Conservation Outreach Program is Dr. Brian Keating. He is dedicated to his work, donates his pay from teaching half of Anthropology 201 to the program and, in my eyes, is the most valuable part of the Calgary Zoo.

If none of these reasons entice you, just think how much better it would be to spend a day wandering around by the Bow River checking out some critters than watching TV or playing video games.

Enjoy the summer!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.