There’s no place like home – if you’re a seal
March 16, 2012
The Edmonton Valley Zoo’s seals and sea lion are set to welcome Edmontonians to their new home, Arctic Shores.
The new Arctic habitat, which opens March 16, is the first of several projects transforming the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Arctic Shores recreates an Arctic shoreline, including northern landscapes, such as the pingo, and incorporates a new aquatic home for Hula and Makani, the zoo’s seals, and Nauticus, the sea lion.
"The Edmonton Valley Zoo is a place of learning and discovery cherished by many Edmontonians. The new Arctic Shores habitat is part of an overall transformation of the Zoo to become more sustainable and offer a more intimate experience for visitors," said Mayor Stephen Mandel. "Many thanks to the Province for their contribution to the construction of this unique facility."
Visitors to Arctic Shores will be able to get up-close views of the seals and sea lion through an underwater viewing area as they swim, work with staff in the training area, or slide in and out of the underwater access way to their indoor pool.
The Government of Alberta contributed $7 million to the $16.7 million project through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative.
“I have no doubt the seals, sea lion and other animals will thoroughly enjoy their new home and everyone who visits the Edmonton Valley Zoo will enjoy watching them” said Doug Griffiths, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “This project is a great example of MSI being used to build not just a better zoo but a better Edmonton as well.”
The seals and sea lion’s quality of life is much improved with the new indoor/outdoor pool and shoreline. With more room to swim, play and interact with each other – and the public – the animals have already settled into and began to explore their new home. Eventually they will be joined by northern fur seals. Arctic fox and ground squirrels will also live in the new habitat.
“This new habitat reflects the changes coming to the Edmonton Valley Zoo. We continue to transform to a zoo renowned for learning, research and conservation,” said Community Services General Manager Linda Cochrane.
In keeping with the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s commitment to the environment, Arctic Shores has been created with many sustainable features, including a green roof to minimize water runoff, capturing, treatment and reuse of storm water; filtering and treating the water in the seal/sea lion pools on site with a combination of mechanical equipment and subsurface saltwater wetland so it can be re-circulated in the animals' aquatic home; drought-tolerant planting and dark-sky-compliant exterior lighting.
Arctic Shores is just the first stage in the zoo’s ongoing transformation. The next phase of construction will include a new otter habitat, a new education centre and entry plaza, and a central trail system called The Wander that will showcase the ecosystems created by the North Saskatchewan River as it winds its way through Alberta. The City of Edmonton has committed $35 million to this project.
The Valley Zoo Development Society is raising funds to continue building our zoo and Nature’s Wild Backyard, a special place where our youngest guests will have the opportunity to truly get up close and personal with animals. This area will focus on learning through play and will feature a make-believe veterinary hospital and underground tunnels that allow guests to come face to face with prairie dogs and meerkats in the animal’s natural underground habitat.
Updates about Edmonton Valley Zoo construction projects are available online at www.valleyzoo.ca/construction.
The Government of Alberta’s 2012 budget provides $896 million in MSI funding to support municipal infrastructure and operating projects with $167 million going to the City of Edmonton. Since the program began in 2007, the City of Edmonton has received $735 million through MSI. Municipalities determine projects and activities to be funded by MSI based on local priorities within the general criteria set out in the program guidelines and are encouraged to take a long-term approach to planning for capital projects.
For more information:
City of Edmonton
|Title||Communications, Alberta Municipal Affairs|