The vital role of zoos in modern society

can be boiled down to one phrase –

“Extinct is forever.”

ZOOS MATTER

In an increasingly urban world, making memorable connections with nature is a challenge. Accredited zoos, located close to home, are the ideal place to make those connections and provide meaningful experiences to guests of all ages. As the world’s human population expands at an exponential rate, the resulting stress on wild ecosystems correspondingly increases. Habitat is lost and human encroachment reduces the space available for many animals or isolates them in small areas where genetic diversity is eventually compromised.

 

However, there is hope for the future as zoological institutions all over the world, with their teams of dedicated professionals, work together to save species; raise public awareness of conservation needs; and inspire millions of visitors to take actions to preserve both species and essential habitat. As millions of visitors learn more about the species that share our planet, they are empowered to make a difference and take action to become part of the

solution instead of contributing to the problem.

 

In addition to these efforts, as the science of reintroducing species to the wild evolves, modern zoos’ participation in captive breeding programs has a greater purpose than simply bolstering captive populations. When natural habitat can be effectively safeguarded, the reintroduction of animals to wild habitat can be successfully accomplished. Reintroduction science shows that conservation in the wild - both of species and necessary habitat - is possible by using all the tools available.

 

In a 2012 Leger Marketing survey, 94 per cent of Calgarians believe the Calgary Zoo is important to the quality of life in our community and 95 per cent believe that a visit to the zoo is an educational experience. As an educational “destination of choice” with more than 65,000 school children attending programs each year, the zoo is literally a living classroom that contributes to countless projects that increase community awareness of both national and global conservation issues directly through on-site programs and, indirectly, through work and partnerships with like-minded organizations.

 

The Calgary Zoo enjoys a symbiotic relationship with Calgarians and Albertans and needs the support of its community to fulfill its mandate. While the zoo relies on the community for financial support, Calgarians

count on the zoo to provide a meaningful venue for their families and view it as an important part of

what makes their city a better place to live, work and play.