Calgary Zoo using pandas' 'star power' to promote wildlife conservation

WATCH: The Calgary Zoo is hoping the “star power” of the visiting pandas will help a new program to promote wildlife conservation. Here's Gil Tucker on how you can do your bit by becoming a “Guardian of the Wild.”

The pandas visiting from China are this year’s star attractions at the Calgary Zoo and now it’s hoping the extra visitors coming in will help boost wildlife conservation.

Thousands turn out to see the pandas at the Calgary Zoo

The zoo has just launched a new program called “Guardians of the Wild,” featuring 10 stations around the zoo where people can learn about what steps they can take to preserve wildlife habitat and encourage species preservation.

One station features information on how buying sustainable paper products can make a difference.

The exhibit had an impact on 10-year-old Arden Alfonso.

“Because if we don’t have trees, most of the animals won’t live,” he said.

Another stop on the “Guardians of the Wild” circuit encourages people to grow a pollinator garden, featuring flowers and plants that provide a good habitat for bees.

“You can also introduce a bee house to your garden,” the zoo’s Roz Freeman told visitors. “That gives them a safe place to live and reproduce, so that we can continue to have bees in our environment.”

Calgary kids enjoy city’s first school bees

It’s a message that’s got 15-year-old Connor Ranta-Dalton thinking about how he might help bees.

“It’s interesting how such a little thing can cause such a big impact on the wildlife,” Ranta-Dalton said.

Each spot at one of the 10 stations provides an opportunity to win a trip for two to visit the Chengdu Panda Base in China, the world’s leading research centre and breeding facility for giant pandas.

Panda cubs pose for New Year greetings in southwest China

Freeman told visitors that a behind-the-scenes tour included in the trip would be a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Zoo visitor Jenn Lanciault said she’d love to win the panda prize.

“I’ve heard lots about all the work that they do on the pandas and saving the species. It’d be really neat to get to see the front-line research that they’re doing.”

The “Guardians of the Wild” circuit will be at the Calgary Zoo until the Labour Day weekend, with the winner of the China trip announced on Sept. 14.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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