KURT LANGMANN PHOTO Greater Vancouver Zoo staff, in their tie-dyed Western Painted Turtle t-shirts, jump in celebration of the zoo’s 48th anniversary, Saturday.

Zoo celebrates 48 years in Aldergrove

Greater Vancouver Zoo actively involved in environmental enhancement projects

The Greater Vancouver Zoo hosted a 48th birthday party over the weekend, celebrating its achievements in protecting species and enhancing its local environment.

There was plenty of entertainment, from bouncy castles and the Springman family band performing in the zoo’s picnic area, for the families who turned out for a day’s stroll around the parklike setting.

The zoo has benefitted from major investments by the new owners over the past three years. A Chinese investor, who prefers to remain anonymous, has made major investments in much-needed infrastructure improvements, says animal care manager Menita Prasad.

“Many of these things are not visible, such as water well and septic upgrades, but they have made a real difference for us here,” said Prasad.

The 120-acre park has also welcomed a number of new residents, such as a young giraffe who joins his brother in their habitat.

“They really get along great, it’s been good to see them enjoy each other’s company,” said Prasad.

There were also a pair of black bears and a pair of cougars, all orphans, who have all recovered from their traumas and injuries in the zoo’s care. The bear and cougar enclosures are next to each other and while they are playful with each other they keep a close eye on their new neighbors — they cougars are especially watchful of what the bears are up to.

Also celebrated is the ongoing western painted turtle conservation program, in conjunction with Wildlife Preservation Canada (WPC).

The turtles are endangered on this coast and are protected under law, but since 2011 the zoo’s breeding program has grown to be an outstanding success. This year about 170 one-year-old turtles will be released into the wild from the zoo’s quarantine section, and there are 200 hatchlings that will follow in the next season.

Andrea Gielens of WPC said the turtles are about the size of a quarter and weigh five grams on birth, and are highly vulnerable to predators at this stage. Once they’ve reached 30 grams their shell is hard and they can be released, safe from the jaws of raccoons and other predators, at 15 sites in the Fraser Valley. They can live to be 60-years-old and the females are about the size of a dinner plate and weight two and a half pounds, while the males are quite a bit smaller.

“Between May 15 and July 15 biologists go out and look for the turtle eggs and cover them with a metal cage to protect them from being trampled on or eaten,” said Gielens. “Some are brought back to the quarantine area at the zoo where we incubate them and raise them for release the next year. It’s been very successful, over 90 per cent of the turtles breed every year.”

The zoo also breeds the endangered Oregon spotted frog, a program the zoo has been involved with since 1999. Special tanks currently hold 2,300 tadpoles, and of these 2,000 will be released in river areas in the Fraser Valley.

The zoo is also involved with the Salish Sucker enhancement program in conjunction with the salmonid river restoration work in the Salmon River which flows throughout the 120-acre zoo site.

Mike Pearson of Pearson Ecological recently completed an off-channel pond for fish to winter in, connected to the Salmon River, and shoreline planting of native species will be completed shortly.

While these are not programs open to the public they are an important part of the zoo’s mission here.

 

KURT LANGMANN PHOTO Aldergrove’s family band, the Springmans, perform at Greater Vancouver Zoo ‘s 48th anniversary, Saturday.

KURT LANGMANN PHOTO Western Painted Turtle hatchlings at the zoo are about the size of a quarter.

Just Posted

Hallmark holiday flicks highlight Langley

How many Langley locations can be spotted this year in Christmas movies-of-the-week?

Christmas comes alive in Aldergrove this Saturday

26th annual Elks Kid’s Christmas party and Christmas Light-Up Parade in motion

Tribute breakfast a Krause Berry Farm’s Christmas tradition

Happy husbands and friends flip flapjacks every year together for a cause

Cloverdale hospital could take pressure off Langley Memorial

Fraser Health says about 20 per cent of patients at LMH are from Surrey

Aldergrove Kodiaks sign two new forwards in push for victory

Teams hits a rough patch this December, currently faces a two-game loss

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla Highway

Up to 25 cm of snow is expected to fall in the region by Thursday

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Most Read