New species coming to the Calgary Zoo

December 6, 2013 6:14 PM

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The Calgary Zoo will soon be home to some new and exciting animals that will be added to the facility’s world class exhibits.

Officials say they’ve been trying to figure out ways to properly add new animals and help them adapt to the northern climate.

“For several years now we have been exploring ways in which we can improve the wellbeing of our animals whilst at the same time enhancing our conservation output by adjusting our animal collection to better suit our climate and location,” explained Dr. Jake Veasey, Director of Animal Care, Conservation & Research, in a release. “As a result of that ongoing process, and in the wake of the flood-related closure of the South American building, we have unfortunately had to say goodbye to a number of species that we weren’t able to continue to keep here. However, we’re now able to begin to implement elements of our master plan and the renewal of the zoo’s animal collection.”

Several mandrills are scheduled to arrive at Destination Africa in early 2014. Officials say the troop will play a vital part of the Species Survival Plan.

For the Canadian Wilds, as we reported earlier this year, a unique white black bear is settling in to his surroundings for visitors to have a look.

Vistors to the Eurasian exhibit may have already had a look at their newest residents, the Eurasian wild boars. The boars arrived in early November and are in the Eurasian section near the red pandas along with a pair of Himalayan monals.

But they aren’t the only additions to Eurasia. In Spring 2014, zoo officials will be welcoming komodo dragons and greater one-horned rhinoceroses.

An entirely new habitat is being built for the reptiles from the remote islands of Indonesia directly across from the elephants.

Komodo dragons are among the largest reptiles in the world, but their numbers are rapidly dwindling.

Later on next year, the zoo will be bringing in a number of greater one-horned rhinoceros to be housed in the building formerly occupied by the elephants.

The facility, originally built in 2007, will have to undergo a series of modifications to accommodate the new additions after the Calgary Zoo’s resident elephants leave to join the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Officials say the rhinos are exceedingly endangered, with only 3,000 left in the whole world.

“They are incredibly vulnerable to poaching which is tragically still on the increase for rhinos worldwide. A population of greater one-horned rhino in zoos where the risk of poaching is effectively absent can help safeguard the species from extinction globally by providing an insurance population and genetic reserve. We can also raise the profile of their plight in the wild by using them as a focal point for the zoo’s conservation outreach activities where we work to help save species such as rhino and their habitats in the wild,” Veasey said.

The zoo says they made the choice of rhinos over elephants because of their different in size and the fact that the animals are far less social.

They say that in order to maintain welfare for elephants, they would need a group of between eight and 12 animals.

Officials say they have big plans for the redesign of the building’s interior.

The Calgary Zoo is currently home to 121 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates; one third of them are part of a Species Survival Plan for endangered and at-risk species.


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