“We’re no longer here to just display animals”.
That from Saskatoon Zoo manager Tim Sinclair-Smith as council approved a partnership that will lead to the building of a Wildlife Research Centre in Saskatoon.
The partnership is between the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo and the Foothills Research Institute.
Sinclair-Smith says the two sides started talking in November when the Saskatoon Zoo’s two grizzly bears went into hibernation for the first time.
Through the partnership, the Saskatoon Zoo will provide space in current facilities to house a Wildlife Research Facility. Initial research would focus on grizzly bears, but Sinclair-Smith says they will study endangered animals at the zoo in the near future.
Sinclair-Smith believes zoos should put their focus on conservation, research and education, and while he feels they’ve been able to address education, they have not had any focus towards research and conservation.
By creating the research centre, Sinclair-Smith says “we’re literally going from really not doing anything to world class in one go, and that’s a huge leap”.
The Wildlife Research Centre will also allow the zoo to work with other zoos across Canada and the world to conduct research.
The two sides will also be working to obtain grants and raise funds to build their own esearch centre in the future.