Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo during COVID-19

Our primary concern is the health and well-being of the animals we love and care for, our valued team and our guests. We have worked closely with AHS, the City of Calgary and the province throughout the pandemic to ensure our operations are aligned with current public health directives.

We ask you to refrain from visiting if you:

  • are exhibiting flu-like symptoms (stay home, and call 8-1-1).

  • have been in close contact with someone exhibiting symptoms.

  • have been in close contact with someone who has travelled. 

Take actions to help prevent the spread of illness including:

  • Wash your hands – wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 

  • Avoid touching your face – if you have unwashed hands, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent illness for yourself.

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes – cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or cough/sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in the garbage and immediately wash your hands.

What do I do if someone is being harassed due to their national origin due to COVID-19?

It’s critical that we continue to treat all people with respect and address any issues of casual discrimination or harassment as a result of COVID-19. We do not tolerate any forms of discrimination and harassment so these instances should be addressed immediately. Please contact Security for support if you see this taking place.


People Policies

Follow the Rules

The Calgary Zoo is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for everyone – staff, volunteers, visitors and our animals. We ask that you respect the zoo rules and policies so that everyone can have a good time. Please also review our policies on unaccompanied youth and photo/video image use.

  • Keep to public pathways and respect our safety fences.
  • Avoid knocking on glass windows or throwing things at animals to get their attention, it frightens them.
  • Our animals and wandering birds have already eaten, thanks. Please don’t feed them.
  • Walk, rather than run… take your time to enjoy everything!
  • Spare change? Donate to our conservation wishing wells instead of throwing coins in our ponds, pools or fish tanks. Coins can be very harmful to our animals and birds.
  • Let our flowers flourish in the gardens and leave them for all to enjoy.
  • Keep noise levels respectable, act safely and have a good time. Please remain fully clothed (ex. shirt, bottoms and footwear), and please no profanity as this is a family-friendly space.
  • The Calgary Zoo is a smoke-free environment. Smoking (including e-cigarettes) is only allowed in designated areas.
  • Keep the following items at home: Fidget spinners, balls, Frisbees, balloons, bicycles, tricycles, rollerblades/skates, heelies, skateboards, drugs and alcohol, hackeysacks, scooters and any noisemakers or musical instruments.
  • Any device that can propel itself independent from the accompanying adult is not permitted. This prevents accidents involving the child using the device, other guests, and the animals on grounds.
  • Tricycles that allow a parent to steer, yet still have pedals (a.k.a. The Smart Trike) are not permitted at the zoo because they could be operated independently from an accompanying adult.
  • Pets of any kind are not allowed at the zoo for the safety of our animals and yours. Please do NOT leave pets unattended in your vehicle in warm weather.  Leave them at home or with a proper caregiver.

Unaccompanied Youth

All children under the age of twelve must be accompanied by a responsible adult while visiting the Calgary Zoo – there are no exceptions.

Photo/Video Image Use Policy

During your visit you may be filmed, videotaped or photographed. Your admission to the zoo serves as permission for use of your image by the Calgary Zoo. The commercial use of photographs, video and film you take during your visit is strictly prohibited without full written consent of an authorized representative for the Calgary Zoo.


Animal Policies

Deciding on Species for the Calgary Zoo

Every species – mammal, reptile, bird, fish, amphibian or invertebrate – has unique physical, psychological and social needs. Meeting those needs is a critical part of deciding which species should be housed here at the Calgary Zoo. So is ensuring that every species at the zoo ultimate has a role to play in conservation or education.

When deciding which species the zoo should care for, our team of animal care professionals begins by looking at a species’ current conservation status. From there, they determine the conservation and education role that species can play and how the zoo might be able to contribute to global conservation efforts.

Then, the team assesses the welfare needs of each species – and individual animals as well – to determine whether we can adequately meet those needs. Priority is given to species with the greatest conservation need, those where our impact will be the most meaningful and species which we can care for most successfully.

Reporting Animal Deaths

Our commitment is to publicly disclose information about the births and death of animals at the Calgary Zoo.

We share animal updates on our Facebook page and this website. In addition, we will issue a formal announcement in the following circumstances:

  • An avoidable death, that is one proven or suspected to be human error or avoidable circumstances;

  • The death is highly unusual, such as a death in view of the public, or the loss of a high-profile or long-standing resident animal;

  • Where we deem the matter to be in the public’s interest, or where we need to clarify public questions about a death.

It should be noted that we do not routinely announce deaths by natural causes, although we do often share that information with conservation partners, zoo staff and volunteers, and visitors. This is particularly applicable in the case of our endangered animal breeding programs, where the mortality rate is often naturally very high.

In all cases, the death of any animal at the Calgary Zoo is carefully investigated and recorded for disclosure with the appropriate public or zoo officials.

Our Position on the Sustainable Use of Biological Resources

As a leader in the global conservation community, the Calgary Zoo supports the effort to create and enforce laws against exploitation of biological resources.

The Calgary Zoo is convinced that to achieve success in conservation we must work with people, not against them, reward them, not punish them, and give them an economic alternative to the destruction of species and ecosystems. We support the ethical and science-based sustainable use of biological resources, in accordance with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). We recognize that this may include sustainable harvesting of plants, fishing, hunting, and eco-tourism which yield local economic and conservation/natural ecosystem benefits.

An example of our position is our active and vocal support for the ban of shark fin soup in the Calgary. Based on scientific knowledge, the practice of “finning” is currently unsustainable and is the single greatest risk to shark populations worldwide. Yet we also have proposed new alternatives that, if adopted, could result in the sustainable harvesting of some shark species. And we take that principle beyond our own borders, such as providing training in South and Central America to teach both youth and professionals about the science of sustainability – we are proving that creating economic benefits for a local community will yield conservation benefits.

Our Position on Euthanasia

Animal care professionals sometimes face the very difficult decision of whether it is necessary to euthanize an animal.  Most often the reasons are obvious and the decision straightforward, but on occasion the decision may be more complex.  At the Calgary Zoo there is a defined process that involves all the members of the zoo’s animal management team for making end-of-life decisions.

Welfare and conservation are guiding principles at the Calgary Zoo and they are key considerations in making these end-of-life decisions.  The fundamental principle behind euthanasia is that the humane death of an animal does not compromise its welfare and has the capacity to eliminate potential future suffering.

The Calgary Zoo gives careful consideration to alternative treatments and/or solutions before euthanasia is considered.  Within this context, there are three primary reasons why euthanasia may be considered:

  1. The animal is suffering due to injury, disease or persecution by other animals within its social group.

     In this situation, the first step is to determine if there is a way to alleviate the suffering through medical treatment or relocation to another group or facility.  When there is no reasonable expectation that the animal’s suffering can be effectively reduced and/or treated to an acceptable level, the decision may be made to euthanize the animal.

  2. The animal is contributing to the suffering of other individuals.

    The animal care team will first consider whether the animal can be relocated to another group or facility where its welfare needs can be adequately met without simply transferring a problem animal to another location.  If there is no suitable alternative available and no expectation that the behaviour can be modified to return the animal to its group without jeopardizing the welfare of the other animals, the decision to euthanize could be made.

  3. In rare situations, it may be possible that an animal can no longer be managed within the current collection or within an acceptable alternative facility. However, it is the responsibility of the animal management team to avoid such instances wherever possible in a manner that does not compromise the zoo’s conservation mission and deep-rooted commitment to animal welfare.

    The same decision-making process is followed as in #2.  Always the first course of action is to determine if the animal can be relocated to another acceptable group or appropriate facility.  Only as an absolute last resort would euthanasia be considered.