CALGARY ZOO BLOG

Giant Pandas – What have we built?

Four giant pandas have made a home in Calgary! For their move to #yyc, the Calgary Zoo was proud to build them a beautiful, sustainable place to live with the help of Zeidler Architecture.

What can you expect to find in Panda Passage?

We are thrilled to have welcomed pandas in 2018 for a five-year stay. Giant pandas have a specific habitat in China, and part of caring for this important ambassador species at the zoo is ensuring the bears have a home that suits their needs. Thank you to Zeidler Architecture for their incredible work as lead architects of this huge project- building Panda Passage was no small feat!

“Zeidler is extremely fortunate to have been involved in this one of a kind project! Working on the Panda exhibit, as well as our previous experience in working with the Zoo on Destination Africa, has been incredibly fulfilling. The opportunity to see a child’s expression when they get up close, face to face with a panda, certainly makes it all worthwhile. At Zeidler, we fully support the Calgary Zoo and their focus on wildlife conservation and sustainable initiatives through these incredible projects.” – Bill Mitchell, Partner at Zeidler Architecture.

As a conservation organization, the Calgary Zoo set out to use our resources in the most efficient way possible while we transformed the Eurasian Gateway building for the last two years. The Panda Passage building will be seeking Petal Certification as part of the Living Building Challenge (LBC), which provides a framework for design, construction and the symbiotic relationship between people and all aspects of the built environment. This will be the first LBC project in Calgary!

What does this mean for the building of Panda Passage? Some of the sustainability actions we took:

  • Anything in good working condition stayed in the building, like doorknobs and lighting fixtures.
  • Steel pipes were reused from the rhinoceros back-of-house and themed to look like bamboo- they function as barriers inside the habitat.
  • Large trees in the habitats? Those are deadfall collected from the zoo’s Flood Protection Project – re-purposed as panda enrichment!
  • Any new wood purchased is Forest Stewardship Counsel (FSC) certified – we are taking action to preserve forests of the future.
  •  Pandas will be at the zoo for five years, so we built the space while keeping in mind its future transition into a home for another species.

Caring for pandas is a challenge, and ensuring that they are healthy and mentally stimulated is part of the equation. There are new water features, plenty of lush flora, and natural lighting. Keep an eye out for the beautiful new skylights that have really brightened up the space – and our red bamboo forest!

The space is also beautiful and functional for YOU. Our guests are able to visit the bears, learn the history of pandas from our signage and screens, and interact with our Visitor Engagement staff. There are a variety of viewing options for the giant pandas, depending on where Jia Panpan, Jia Yueyue, Da Mao and Er Shun are spending their time.

The pandas have neighbours! The powerhouse Komodo dragons have returned to their home in the space, and the Bactrian camels now reside in the pasture attached to the building- with a brand new little addition to the camel family!

Have you visited yet?

Do this long weekend Galactic Style

We’re the only place in the galaxy where you can see Giant Pandas and become a Guardian of the Wild. Bring your family and friends to tour our incredible Calgary Zoo universe and visit our Action Stations to improve your planetary protection abilities. Plus, you can collect as many galaxy-saving codes from the Action Station signs as you can and enter to win incredible prizes including a trip for two to China.

Know which planet your going to first: Prepare your trek with an action station map to collect as many codes as you can.

Get your star ship moving: Travel the zoo paths on a galactic trek as a Guardian of the Wild and collect codes at ten simple action stations. Our daily programs are a great addition to your visit so you’ll want to take in as many as you have time for:

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Guardians of the Wild – Find the frog with Rainforest Alliance

Visit Land of Lemurs to find the code for the Rainforest Alliance!

Why should you help save the planet, you might ask? Well, because we’re all the people who live in it! We’re challenging you- yes YOU – to become a Guardian of the Wild this summer and take action in your daily life. Help preserve the rainforest by shopping with the green frog’approval. 

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National Zoo Keeper Week 2018 – Meet Cissy Kou

It’s National Zoo Keeper Week and we’re sharing the love! To recognize the dedication and hard work of our amazing zoo keepers, we are posting an interview of a keeper each day this week. Meet Cissy Kou, a dedicated giant panda keeper whose early dreams of being a vet or a dolphin trainer lead her to caring for this iconic black-and-white species.

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National Zoo Keeper Week 2018 – Meet Carrie Coleman

It’s National Zoo Keeper Week and we’re sharing the love! To recognize the dedication and hard work of our amazing zoo keepers, we are posting an interview of a keeper each day this week. Meet the fantastic Carrie Coleman, a passionate Lead Keeper whose work with animals has transformed her opinions of zoos and conservation work.

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National Zoo Keeper Week 2018 – Meet Mona Keith

It’s National Zoo Keeper Week and we’re sharing the love! To recognize the dedication and hard work of our amazing zoo keepers, we are posting an interview of a keeper each day this week.  Meet Mona Keith, a lead keeper at the Calgary Zoo who has a passion for animals that inspires anyone who talks to her.

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National Zoo Keeper Week 2018 – Meet Nicole Yeoman

It’s National Zoo Keeper Week and we’re sharing the love! To recognize the dedication and hard work of our amazing zoo keepers, we are posting an interview of a keeper each day this week.  Introducing….. Nicole Yeoman! This experienced zoo keeper has worked all over the world, from Australia to Canada, and her career journey has brought her to #yyc and the Calgary Zoo gorillas!

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National Zoo Keeper Week 2018 – Meet Nicole Bouwman

It’s National Zoo Keeper Week and we’re sharing the love! To recognize the dedication and hard work of our amazing zoo keepers, we are posting an interview of a keeper each day this week. Nicole is a self-proclaimed cat lady…. who now works with wolves!

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National Zoo Keeper Week 2018 – Meet Barb Campbell

It’s National Zoo Keeper Week and we’re sharing the love! To recognize the dedication and hard work of our amazing zookeepers, we are posting an interview of a keeper each day this week. Meet Barb Campbell, a dedicated zoo keeper whose career has spanned 34 years at the Calgary Zoo – and that’s just as a keeper!

She’s seen it all, from tiger cubs, the arrival of giant pandas, and the 2013 flood.

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National Zoo Keeper Week 2018- Meet Kristina King

It’s National Zoo Keeper Week and we’re sharing the love! To recognize the dedication and hard work of our amazing zookeepers, we are posting an interview of a keeper each day this week. Kristina has worked with turtles in Australia, and recently found a passion for penguins.

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