Polar bear habitat planned for Calgary Zoo in 2023

Calgary Zoo president and CEO Dr. Clement Lanthier speaks at an announcement the Canadian Wilds zone is being redeveloped and will become home to polar bears.

Polar bears are coming to the Calgary Zoo as part of an effort to protect the species from extinction.

An $8.5 million donation from the Taylor Family Foundation, along with funding from the province, will allow the zoo to make a "significant investment" and redevelop the Canadian Wilds zone, making it "one of the most comprehensive and engaging experiences of iconic Canadian wildlife and habitats anywhere in North America,” said zoo president and CEO Dr. Clément Lanthier in a release.

“The Calgary Zoo is globally-recognized for our successful conservation work spanning decades to save vulnerable wildlife populations from extinction," he said.

"We will be partnering with other conservation-focused organizations already doing important work to help save polar bears from extinction”.

The project has an estimated cost of $31 million, with $15 million being subsidized by the province.

The project is expected the create thousands of Jobs in Calgary and completion is planned for fall 2023.

“The zoo is a conservation organization. [We] connect family and educate a lot, but this is also an institution that creates a lot of jobs and has an economic impact of over $100 million every year," said Lanthier. 

"And it’s not only attracting Calgarians, as there is a significant impact when it comes to keeping tourists in Calgary for an additional night, two nights.”

Up to four polar bears are expected to call the new habitat home and the zoo also plans to redevelop the otter and whooping crane exhibits.

The zoo hopes this project will bring more tourism to Calgary and promote conservation and awareness of arctic species.