Like a mighty phoenix rising up from the ashes, the Calgary Zoo soars to new heights to save it’s tails. Okay, this may seem a bit dramatic, but after witnessing the total devastation that the flood of 2013 had on the Calgary Zoo this June, you have to have a serious respect for the people that shed there blood, sweat and tears rebuilding the zoo.
On June 21st, 2013 the city of Calgary suffered one of the most devastating floods the people of this fine city have ever seen. Kenin and I were given the opportunity to share the story of one of the most affected areas, The Calgary Zoo. Flood waters covered much of the Zoo’s main island bringing sever damage and devastation. We wanted to participate and bring light to their donation drive “2 by 2 Rebuild the Zoo“, to help the Calgary Zoo recover from the flood.
The Calgary Zoo was opened in 1929 and last year was voted “the most visited zoo” in Canada. While spending time with some of the zoo employees, Kenin and I were able to tap into the heart of the city of Calgary. The people here love their city and they still completely believe in “helping thine neighbor”. When the flood waters started rising, everyone put their lives on hold and pooled together to save their zoo and it’s residents.
The zoo was closed for six full weeks to evacuate animals and pump over 1/2 a million liters of water out of the facilities. They pulled 60 truck loads of debris out of the elephant enclosure alone and 60 truck loads more out of the Canadian Wilds exhibit.
The Creature Feature room was set up as a war zone. The building was on higher ground and was used for the employees to meet and strategize. It now serves as a donation center where you can meet with some of the zoos Ambassador Animals.
The zoo’s African Savannah was the worst hit. Waist deep waters for giraffes, meerkats had to be rescued on a log where they all seeked shelter, the hippos floated out of their enclosures and were just swimming around.
The zoo employees put in over 1000 man hours in the first 48 hours of flooding to save their creatures. The Rainforest Centre creatures took themselves to higher ground in the trees. The elk was knee deep in water when they found him.
Animals were moved to the hospital, holding centers and conservation areas around Calgary. Some of the animals were even relocated to other zoos while the Calgary Zoo was rebuilding causing massive transportation expenses. The elephants are moving to the Washington DC Smithsonian for more space with a larger group. The post flood efforts put forth by the Calgary Zoo staff and the local residents were jarring. The entire community pulled together in a time of need to save their city and all it’s residents, human and non-human alike. Before the zoo fully reopened in November they held a partial re-opening for the portions of the zoo that were least damaged. The people packed in like sardines to see their zoo rise up from the floodwaters on opening day.
Kenin and I were here a week after the full reopen in late November and were mightily impressed at the recovery of the grounds and the animals. The spirit of the people of the Calgary Zoo was the best souvenir I could take home that day. When a group of passionate people band together, they can accomplish anything!
Even though the Calgary Zoo flood damage has been remedied for the most part, and the zoo has been reopened, there is one issue that still remains and will continually haunt the zoo for years to come. The financial damage caused by the flood took a massive toll on the zoo’s budgets and reserve funding. Behind the scenes there is still quite a bit of damage to enclosures, administrative offices, and the South American Exhibit was completely destroyed. Because of this the Calgary Zoo needs your help. It needs help from more than just the local community, it needs help from Animal Lovers world wide. It’s because of this that we’ve made it a point to bring the Calgary Zoo flood damage to our worldwide audience. We ask that you take a moment and make a donation (however large or small) to the Calgary Zoo flood recovery program, 2 by 2 rebuild the zoo. We here at the Constant Rambler, and the animals of the Calgary Zoo thank you in advance.
Donate to The Calgary Zoo Flood Recovery
Thanks for reading our post The Calgary Zoo, Flood to Flourish, for more animal related posts take a look at these related articles.
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