Records Fall at the Calgary Zoo

Posted on January 03

The Calgary Zoo broke some all-time records in 2018, capping an incredible first year of Giant Pandas. The zoo set new records for attendance and memberships and set a new bar for releasing endangered animals back into the wild. 


“By so many important standards, it is fair to say 2018 was the zoo’s best year ever,” says Dr. Clément Lanthier, President and CEO, Calgary Zoo. “We are incredibly grateful to our community for their continued support as we work towards our ultimate goal of becoming Canada’s leader in wildlife conservation.”


Lanthier says the year really took off with the opening of Panda Passage on May 7 which unveiled the giant pandas for their five-year stay in Calgary. That opening month set a torrid pace, with 190,067 visitors smashing the visitation record for the month. Ultimately, 1,480,000 people passed through the turnstiles in 2018, breaking the previous attendance record set in 2012, the opening year of Penguin Plunge. 


In September the zoo hit 100,000 members, blowing past typical membership levels by 25%.  Also, in September, the zoo launched its PandaCam, so popular it nearly crashed the zoo’s website and surpassed the zoo’s homepage as the most visited page on its website.  


Lanthier says the zoo is extremely proud of its achievement in releasing about 200 endangered animals into the wild in 2018. This included Vancouver Island Marmots, burrowing owls, greater sage-grouse, and, most recently, fishers into northern Washington State.


“One of our big goals is to reach the point where each year we are releasing more animals into the wild than we care for at the zoo, and this year we took some important steps to build our capacity to achieve that goal,” say Lanthier. “We’ve proven that when people work together – such as we do in partnership with other conservation organizations, various government departments, committed donors and with the support of our community - we can save animals in the wild.”



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Trish Exton-Parder                                                       

Lead, Media Relations                                                 

Calgary Zoo                                                                 

Phone: 403.232.9325                                                                                                

[email protected]