Clean-up crews work at the Calgary Zoo in Calgary on June 25. Heavy rains caused flooding

Calgary Zoo lays off staff

The Calgary Zoo says it will take five months before it can fully reopen its doors after severe flooding that caused an estimated loss of $60 million.

CALGARY — The Calgary Zoo says it will take five months before it can fully reopen its doors after severe flooding that caused an estimated loss of $60 million.

Zoo officials also said that losing $160,000 in revenue daily has forced the facility to lay off 287 season and non-seasonal workers.

“Sad day at the zoo,” said the announcement on the zoo’s Facebook page. “With reduced operations for the next five months we unfortunately had to say goodbye to some very dedicated employees of the Zoological Society.

“This was about half of our full-time staff and most of the seasonal group. At this point, no city staff have been affected.”

CEO Clement Lanthier said the north part of the zoo will open first on July 31. That section includes the Penguin Plunge, Prehistoric Park and Canadian Wilds.

The zoo is located on St. George’s Island east of downtown and was swamped by floodwaters from the swollen Bow and Elbow rivers last month. Lanthier said 40 buildings, including the African Savannah exhibit, were severely damaged.

During the height of the flooding, the zebras were moved to the zoo’s wildlife conservation centre outside the city and about 160 animals had to be moved to higher ground. Two hippos almost escaped when high water levels lifted them close to the top of their enclosure.

Giraffes standing up to their bellies in cold water were ailing after the flood, but have since recovered.

Two peacocks, a pot-bellied pig and a variety of fish died.

Lanthier said damage at the zoo is so far pegged at $50 million, with another $10 million in lost revenue.

“The impact of the flood on our operation is staggering because we generate almost half our total revenue in July and August,” Lanthier said in a release Tuesday.

“In addition to damage to land and property, we will have a $10-million shortfall in revenue during the restoration period that we will not recover. In fact, we will lose $5 million in revenue in July alone.

“For a not-for-profit charity, this is a major blow.”

Restoration is underway but the zoo will not be able to resume full operations until late November.

“We will work harder than ever to connect people with nature and the animals which share our planet,” Lanthier said of the rebuilding effort.

Most of the zoo’s animals will remain in their familiar homes throughout the restoration period, but some may have to be temporarily relocated, Lanthier said.

Just Posted

Springbrook Skate Park gets financial boost

Province approves $125,000 grant for proposed skate park

ReThink Red Deer gets thumbs up from city on pollinator barn structure

Group is hoping to get a $40,000 building grant

Driver who backed into Red Deer pizzeria sentenced

David Andrew Amstutz sentenced for failing to remain at the crash scene

Team Alberta athletes arrive in Red Deer on Saturday for pre-games orientation

Excitement is building with less than a month to go, says Team Alberta spokesperson

UPDATED: STARS Lottery is back

Lacombe STARS patient tells his story

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Most Read