The Calgary Zoo is Canada's only facility that breeds whooping cranes for release in the wild. We also conduct incubation research so that we can identify ways to increase the number of eggs that hatch and release more whooping cranes into the wild every year. Our Whooping Crane Recovery Program is proudly funded by ConocoPhillips Canada.
Black-tailed prairie dog and black-footed ferret
Black-footed ferrets are specialist predators that rely on black-tailed prairie dogs for up to 90% of their diet. In partnership with Parks Canada, we study both species to restore this predator-prey relationship and the mixed-grass prairie ecosystem where they live.
Swift Fox Conservation Program
The recovery of swift foxes in Canada is considered one of the most successful reintroductions of a nationally extinct carnivore. Since 1998, we have been monitoring wild populations of swift fox in Western Canada and working to integrate science in habitat protection policies for this species.
Northern leopard frog
We work to determine best practices for monitoring and reintroducing northern leopard frogs in collaboration with the B.C. Northern Leopard Frog Recovery Team. In 2017, we launched a conservation breeding program for this species here at the Calgary Zoo.
Vancouver Island marmot
The Calgary Zoo breeds Vancouver Island marmots and works together with the Marmot Recovery Foundation to release them into the wild. Our team conducts research to understand how we can increase the success of marmots released into the wild.
In 2016, the Calgary Zoo launched an innovative project to boost wild burrowing owl populations using a technique called head-starting. Together with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service and Alberta Environment and Parks, young owls are taken under human care until they are old enough to have a better chance of surviving before they are released into the wild.
The Calgary Zoo is leading Canada's only reintroduction breeding program for greater sage-grouse. We celebrated the first successful breeding in 2017 and are preparing for releases in 2018.
Half-moon hairstreak is a grassland butterfly species, which is endangered in Canada. The only population in Alberta exists in Waterton Lakes National Park and has undergone declines in recent years. The Calgary Zoo is working with Parks Canada to monitor the population of half-moon hairstreak in Waterton and explore whether conservation translocations are necessary to recover the species.
Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary
Weichau Community Hippo Sanctuary, in northwestern Ghana, was created to protect hippopotamus and improve the livelihoods of local people. For two decades, the Calgary Zoo has played a supporting role in offering guidance, building capacity and monitoring outcomes for biodiversity and human communities.
In 2006, 15 villages surrounding Avu Lagoon, Ghana banded together to form a community protected area for sitatunga, an aquatic antelope species. We are working to assist the communities of Avu Lagoon by identifying ways to make sitatunga conservation economically sustainable.
The Calgary Zoo is working together with University of Calgary, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership to restore critical habitat for lemurs by planting trees and providing local people with sustainable, rainforest-friendly livelihoods.
The Calgary Zoo in partnership with Rhino Ark and the Bongo Surveillance Project is working in the alpine forests of Kenya to protect this critically endangered antelope. We use camera traps to learn more about wild mountain bongos and the threats they face.
Fishers disappeared from Washington State in the mid-1900s due to over trapping and habitat loss. The Calgary Zoo is working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Park Service and Conservation Northwest to recover the species in Washington using translocations of wild fishers from Alberta. We are working with our partners to investigate how physical and behavioural characteristics of individual fishers impact their success after release.
The Calgary Zoo thanks all its generous donors, supporting foundations, government and corporate partners, such as Crescent Point Energy who is partnering with us to conserve Saskatchewan Species at Risk.
Welfare, Ethics & Research Committee
The Calgary Zoo Welfare, Ethics and Research Committee reviews and approves research requests that involve data, animals or plants in the Calgary Zoo’s care. Made up of both internal and external members, the committee has the ability to grant greater access to information than the average visitor could obtain during a normal zoo visit.
Image at top: Leah Hennel, Calgary Herald