The Calgary Zoo is reporting its best year ever, breaking attendance records and new memberships, the organization said Thursday.
“By so many important standards, it is fair to say 2018 was the zoo’s best year ever,” said Dr. Clément Lanthier, president and CEO, Calgary Zoo. “We are incredibly grateful to our community for their continued support as we work towards our ultimate goal of becoming Canada’s leader in wildlife conservation.”
The Zoo said over 1.4 million people visited in 2018, breaking the previous attendance record set in 2012.
The Zoo is crediting the Panda Passage exhibition for the new record.
“The year really took off with the opening of Panda Passage on May 7, which unveiled the giant pandas for their five-year stay in Calgary,” the Zoo said. “That opening month set a torrid pace, with 190,067 visitors smashing the visitation record for the month.”
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The Zoo is also reporting a 25 per cent spike in memberships, hitting 100,000 members in 2018.
Along with attendance and membership records being broken last year, the zoo said over 200 endangered animals were released back into the wild.
“One of our big goals is to reach the point where each year we are releasing more animals into the wild than we care for at the zoo, and this year we took some important steps to build our capacity to achieve that goal,” said Lanthier in the news release.
“We’ve proven that when people work together – such as we do in partnership with other conservation organizations, various government departments, committed donors and with the support of our community — we can save animals in the wild.”