As an advocate for wild ecosystems and with concern for the world’s wildlife at the heart of the its mission, the Calgary Zoo will set a new standard for animal care in Canada.
The zoo recognizes that providing the very best care for the animals for which it has stewardship is equally important to its conservation efforts in the wild. These amazing animals are very real ambassadors for their wild counterparts and have an important role to play in inspiring people to care and take conservation action. Science helps animal care professionals understand the animals’ needs and find creative ways to fulfill them through the application of welfare guidelines and the incorporation of enrichment as a way of life. As the understanding of animal physiology and psychology increases, the responsibility of caregivers to provide for these complex needs also increases. In the words of Dr. H. Hediger, “We have the obligation to provide each animal in our care the full spectrum of its life each day”.
Inspiring Change is predicated on a commitment to providing the highest quality of animal care and choosing carefully the species that can best be cared for, celebrating life in our unique climate, and designing exhibits that allow for that “full spectrum” of activity. Animal welfare, both of individual animals and groups, is the foremost consideration in exhibit design and management as reflected in the guidelines outlined in “The Five Freedoms” (adapted from the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council, 1979).
The Five Freedoms
• 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.
Veterinary medicine is also a key element in providing exemplary care to the zoo’s animals. With animal care and welfare as core considerations, the zoo will continue to search for ways to improve veterinary care and expand its contributions to the evolving field of wildlife medicine. Veterinary staff, as well-versed science communicators, will actively participate in engaging guests in observing, interacting and understanding the ways in which that care is provided.
These amazing animals are very real ambassadors for their wild counterparts and have an important role to play in inspiring people to care about nature and take conservation action.