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Calgary Zoo director steps down

Cathy Gaviller resigned today as the Calgary Zoo's Director of Conservation and Research.

The beleaguered Calgary Zoo has suffered another blow as a top official has resigned effective immediately.

Cathy Gaviller, director of conservation at the Zoo tendered her resignation effective Tuesday and Calgary Zoo spokesperson Simon Scott said the decision was hers alone.

“It is a personal matter and it was her decision. It is a huge loss for the organization, and a huge loss for the zoo,” Scott said.

Scott said the zoo is losing a “wonderful” part of the zoo with over 20 years experience.

“At the same time, we have to move on and see this loss as an opportunity for a new way of thinking. I think it’s a signal a change is coming to the zoo.”

Scott said the zoo would work efficiently to find an interim replacement before finding a permanent solution.

Gaviller said in a prepared statement, "I am very proud of what we achieved at the Calgary Zoo and of my contribution. The past few months have been very challenging for the organization and for me personally. I care deeply for the Calgary Zoo and hope my decision can help the zoo move forward confidently and begin a new chapter in animal stewardship."

Gaviller’s resignation comes just days after a near gorilla escape and after years of highly publicized incidents, including several animal deaths and much controversy.