Greater Vancouver zoo handler with one of the African savannah monitors.

Animal Care Centre opens at Zoo

The Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove officially opened its new Animal Care Centre on Thursday, July 25.

The Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove officially opened its new Animal Care Centre on Thursday, July 25.

It was the culmination of several years’ work in meeting requirements and garnering approvals from various government agencies as well as almost a full year of construction work, but the long-awaited results were worth it, said zoo manager Jody Henderson.

The 5,400 square foot facility at the north side of the zoo property will provide all aspects of animal care, from quarantine to food preparation to medical service, all under one roof, in a secure, efficient and safe environment.

The custom-designed facility boasts many special features, including treatment and quarantine rooms that are individually climate controlled for the needs of different types of animal species, and skylights that allow natural light for the animals and ponds in the rooms. The building has a total of 23 rooms including: one walk-in cooler, one walk-in freezer, a modern kitchen area for food preparation and nutrition, hospital area for the treatment of sick and injured animals and minor surgery with five rooms for overnight or longer term guests, six rooms for animal quarantine, a laundry, veterinarian technician office and laboratory area.

The building has a propane heating and cooling system that is environmentally friendly (natural gas is not available in the area), and has back-up generators in case of power outages. A large and modern septic treatment system was especially built for the facility.

The final cost of the new centre is approximately $1 million dollars.

Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting ceremony the group of 80 invited guests were led on a guided tour of the new facility. The tour began in the quarantine section, followed by the food preparation and nutrition area, and lastly the operating room, where guests learned about the Western Painted Turtles, a new conservation program for the Zoo, and observed a basic health check up on a Savannah Monitor lizard by animal care technician Clair Stead.

“After months of eager anticipation the day has finally arrived… for the disbelievers in the world, we are truly a bunch of determined people who do not give up easily,” said Henderson.

“We are so proud to be standing in front of our new Animal Care Centre, even though we are in the very early stages of developing our new facility. We will begin operating immediately as a basic centre for minor check-ups, vaccinations, food preparation and nutritional analysis, and animal quarantine purposes.”

KURT LANGMANN PHOTO

Greater Vancouver Zoo animal health technician Clair Stead shows the distinctive underside of the local western painted turtle. This creature is threatened in this area and in recent years the zoo has successfully implemented a breeding program that has released the turtles back into their local environments.

KURT LANGMANN PHOTO

Greater Vancouver Zoo staff rolled out a massive python snakeskin during the grand opening of their new Animal Care Centre on Thursday, July 25.

KURT LANGMANN PHOTO

Greater Vancouver Zoo cut the ribbon the open the new Animal Care Centre on the zoo site. From left are zoo manager Jody Henderson, Langley Township mayor Jack Froese, zoo vice president Charles Choi and zoo president-owner Mr. Park.

KURT LANGMANN PHOTO

Greater Vancouver Zoo’s horned owl Harriett visited with guests at the opening of the zoo’s Animal Care Centre.

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