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Saskatoon Zoo wins 2 national awards

The Prairie Dog Exhibit and an educational program at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo were honoured by Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums. File / Global News

A national organization has bestowed two awards on the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo.

The Prairie Dog Exhibit and an educational program at the Saskatoon Zoo were honoured by Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) at its 2021 annual awards of excellence.

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The Prairie Dog Exhibit won the Thomas R. Baines Award, which recognizes excellence in habitat design and development.

The exhibit features a naturalistic habitat for the prairie dogs and allows visitors to get an up-close look at their natural digging and exploring behaviours.

An area was created behind the scenes to provide space for future medical and physical checks of the animals, which was also recognized by the award.

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“We are so proud of our new Prairie Dog Exhibit and to receive an award recognizing the new habitat is very exciting,” zoo manager Jeff Mitchell said in a statement.

“A big thank you our zookeepers and our partner organizations including the Saskatoon Zoo Foundation, that came together to make this exhibit a reality.”

Read more: Toronto Zoo says endangered Sumatran orangutan is pregnant, expected to give birth in April

CAZA awarded the Eleanore Oakes Award for Education Program Design to the Saskatoon Zoo Society for developing five virtual environmental education programs for kids in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The programs featured animal interactions in real time and matched the Saskatchewan curricular objectives by incorporating Indigenous-focused content.

“Our team developed virtual programs when restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic forced our programming to move to a virtual environment,” said Kathleen Zary, the society’s education manager.

“We were so thankful to receive support from several funders to deliver over 350 virtual programs designed to connect students to nature by bringing animals and students together through interactive education while fostering a respect for nature with a Saskatchewan focus.”

The CAZA awards of excellence recognize facilities that have made significant investments to ensure world-class care of animals and inspire global conservation.

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