The Calgary Zoo’s new conservatory opened last week, but the zoo had to compost 80 per cent of the old conservatory plants as a result, according to a zoo horticulturist.

While the Calgary Zoo was able to save 10 per cent of the most impressive and unique plants for the new conservatory and send 10 per cent to other Canadian zoos, they lost the rest in the switch, Boyd Nave said.

“We saved the most valuable; valuable not in money terms, but the more rare and special plants. We couldn’t save them all so we had to go with the endangered ones,” he explained.

The Calgary Zoo sent a portion of the plants to other zoos botanical gardens such as in Edmonton and Winnipeg, he added.

“The others were plants you could perhaps buy in Home Depot, and they were composted.”

Longtime conservatory visitor Adrienne Long noticed the difference right away — and she is unhappy.

“I find myself monumentally disappointed. The only thing I can compare this feeling to is being eight years old on Christmas morning and not getting that special toy I had wanted all year,” she said.

Long said she finds the new conservatory to be bare and lacking in plant personality.

“What was once my favourite place in the zoo has now become the one place I don’t see any value in visiting.”

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