Greater Vancouver Zoo plans major safari expansion

Greater Vancouver Zoo

The Greater Vancouver Zoo is planning to revamp the park in a multi-million dollar expansion.

CBC News reports that the zoo is planning on moving away from small enclosures after years of criticism about the welfare of its animals. The new plan involves converting half of the Greater Vancouver Zoo into a safari-style park.

Creating a safari-style park

Serge Lussier, General Manager of Greater Vancouver Zoo has four decades of experience in the industry. He said that he wants “this to be a piece of Africa in the heart of B.C. I’m going to open this up, to have all the land open for African animals.”

Lussier also plans on renovating several of the enclosures and ensuring that the animals do not get bored by providing more “enrichment” for them.

These plans will cost between CAD10-20 million over four or five years. But, Lussier hopes that this renovation will make the zoo “among the best in the world.”

Zebras at Greater Vancouver Zoo

Greater Vancouver Zoo

Animal welfare

The Greater Vancouver Zoo has previously received criticism over conditions for its animals. The non-profit wildlife protection Zoocheck released a report last year in which it recommended several improvements the zoo could make.

This report was commissioned by The Vancouver Humane Society, which voiced concerns over these plans. Spokesperson Peter Fricker told CBC News that the society needs “to see exactly what the plan is and how it’s going to be rolled out. Our concern would be that too much investment might be just to enhance the visitor experience, rather than improve conditions for the animals.”

Furthermore, the society has concerns about the proposed savannah exhibit. “People need to remember the savannah is a very hot, dry place and B.C. is not a hot, dry place for most of the year,” Fricker added.

Several zoos and aquariums have reported concerns over how they will stay open and continue to care for their animals as coronavirus forces them to close to visitors. The Vancouver Aquarium has said it may have to close permanently.

Images: Greater Vancouver Zoo