After more than two years of major renovations, the Montreal Biodome is about to reopen to the public.
The facility houses thousands of species of plants and animals but the three-decade-old building needed a serious makeover.
“There’s a lot of humidity in the tropical forest and of course you have a lot of stress on the building also,” said Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, director of Espace pour la vie, the organization that runs the Biodome.
He said bringing nature indoors is key to the conservation work being done at the facility, adding that the organization is very involved with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums of North America in the species-specific conservation program.
There’s now more space for visitors to move around the five ecosystems inside the structure. Emiko Wong, head of the live collections division, said the facility has received between 20 and 30 new species of plants and animals so far.
“We have the blue and gold macaw here as well as a broad-snouted caiman,” she told Global News.
Wong said the Biodome is expecting as many as 30 more species once pandemic transportation restrictions are lifted.
Brunelle stressed that the staff’s main goal is to educate the public about the fragility of nature and that’s why, with the $37-million building upgrade, they’re increasing their education and species preservation programs.
“Twenty of those species are actually species that we are actively working for conservation here,” he said. “They are bred here, like the Panamanian golden toads and the capybara and the golden lion tamarin.”
Wong says the Biodome has had the tamarins for “a long time.”
“We have a male and a female and the male was actually born in the Montreal Biodome,” she said.
Brunelle sees the role of institutions like the Biodome as reconnecting people with nature and raising awareness about issues threatening certain species.
The Biodome will reopen to the public Aug. 31.