EDMONTON — The Edmonton Valley Zoo recently celebrated International Tiger Day with the opening of an expanded space for Amba and Taiga, its Amur tiger residents.
The new space doubles the size of the animal habitat and will allow the zoo to fully participate in breeding programs to protect the genetics of an endangered species and features a new public training window for visitors to learn about animal behaviour and conservation, a City of Edmonton release stated.
“This investment demonstrates our commitment to protecting this amazing species and supporting wildlife conservation in general. The Edmonton Valley Zoo can now expand its role in the Amur tiger Species Survival Plan, which is an international co-ordinated breeding program for captive endangered species,” Edmonton Valley Zoo director Lindsey Galloway said in a statement.
Construction of the 3,050 square metre habitat began in 2019 and cost $1.1 million. Total animal space for the tigers is now almost 4,876 metres and includes upgraded LED lighting, new security and control systems and two new viewing areas.
“We are so fortunate to have many friends, partners and donors who believe in the work we do here at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. We couldn’t do things like this without the wonderful support we receive from the community. We would especially like to acknowledge the Gregg Distributor’s Employee Sunshine Fund, which has contributed $500,000 for various capital improvements at the zoo, including the tiger habitat,” Galloway said.
A portion of the cost of the upgrade was funded by donors to the Valley Zoo Development Society along with Sherrick Management, which has sponsored the tiger exhibit since 2015, and Fox Miles, a tiger sponsor for the past two years.
The tiger area expansion follows other renewal projects that have been taking place since 2012, including a new Entry Plaza, Wander Trail and Arctic Shores section and upgrades to the lemur habitat, reptile wing, nocturnal wing, and veterinary hospital.
In 2019 Nature’s Wild Backyard Phase 1 opened, which includes an urban farm, a red panda habitat and play space and the 40 Acres restaurant.
Edmonton Valley Zoo reopened on June 15 after a three-month closure due to COVID-19.