CALGARY – The Calgary Zoo celebrated their official reopening on Thursday after five months of hard work.
The June flood caused at least $50 million worth of damage to the zoo, forcing officials to temporarily close their doors – although the north portion of the Calgary Zoo was reopened to the public on July 31st, including the Penguin Plunge.
GALLERY: Flood aftermath at the Calgary Zoo
On Thursday, hundreds of people including Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi gathered at the zoo to celebrate the reopening and see their favorite animals.
As many as 40 buildings at the tourist hotspot suffered damage in the flood, as well as animal enclosures and the botanical exhibits.
Officials had to find new homes for dozens of displaced animals, and about 300 employees were laid off.
The flooding was also linked to the death of two peacocks, a pot-bellied pig and a variety of fish. In the following months, a zebra and several penguins have also died, however the zoo says their deaths were not directly related to the flood.
GALLERY: A tour of the Calgary Zoo ahead of their reopening.
The disaster has been hard on the facility’s pocketbook with $160,000 a day in lost revenue. Singer Jann Arden has been among those to help support their rebuilding.
“I have been anxiously anticipating the day when I could announce to our community that their Calgary Zoo is back,” says Dr. Clément Lanthier, President & CEO, Calgary Zoo.
The Calgary Zoo will host their opening celebration at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 28th – followed by the launch their holiday Zoo Lights program at 6 p.m. on Friday.
– With files from The Canadian Press