Our Commitment

Caring for Endangered and At-risk Species

Animal welfare is at the very heart of the Calgary Zoo’s plans for the future and one of the foundation principles of our master plan, called Inspiring Change, and a fundamental consideration for every one of our new and revitalized exhibits.

What is Animal Welfare?

If you’re not exactly sure what animal welfare is, you’re not alone – there is often confusion between animal welfare and ethics.

Dr. Jake Veasey, former director of animal care, conservation and research is one of the world’s acknowledged experts in animal welfare and conservation biology. He explains it like this:  “Animal welfare is essentially the study of the happiness of animals – how they feel. Ethics relates to human feelings, those of individuals and societies, about what is morally right and wrong.”

At the Calgary Zoo, we are committed to providing the highest quality of animal care and choosing carefully the species that we can best care for, celebrating life in our unique climate and designing exhibits that allow for the “full spectrum” of activity as outlined in The Five Freedoms” (adapted from the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council, 1979).

The Five Freedoms – Animal Welfare

  • Freedom to engage with the normal challenges of daily life without undue fear or distress.
  • Freedom to express a full range of normal behaviours.
  • Freedom to secure sufficient food and water to nourish physical well-being.
  • Freedom to avoid pain and injury, and sustain a healthy condition.
  • Freedom to make decisions and exercise reasonable control over their life.

Animal welfare, both of individual animals and groups, is the foremost consideration as we move forward with exhibit design and management.

These porcupines gnaw on bones for calcium and to sharpen their teeth.