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'It was so soft': Wildlife festival excites and educates visitors of all ages


Saskatchewan is home to a wide variety of animals, but the Wildlife Festival brought over 50 unique animals from all over the world to show and share.

The traveling wildlife show brought an educational component and a unique experience for visitors.

“Not just the kids, but adults as well,” said Jason Clevett, co-owner of the Wildlife Festival.

“We have the Forestry Farm in Saskatoon which is a wonderful facility, but this is an entirely different experience from there, or even to Calgary or Edmonton Zoos. And some people don’t even make it there, so to be able to bring this to Saskatoon is really special.”

The animals come from YYC Nature Centre, Cobb’s Adventure Park and Cobb’s Exotic Animal Rescue out of Calgary.

With everything from toads, turtles, birds, snakes, sugar gliders, lizards and even a sloth at the show, Clevett says seeing these animals up close is a totally different experience than seeing them on a TV screen.

“There’s people that sort of make that argument, just watch a documentary,” said Clevett. “But this is not that. David Attenborough has a quote, basically that people will not care about, or understand, or respect what they don’t experience.”

Learning about the diversity of living things as well as animals that come from Africa or the Amazon was of benefit to some future wildlife professionals too.

“We had someone volunteer for two days, their son wants to be a vet when they grow up,” Clevett told CTV News. “We’ve had some U of S vet school students that are showing up or volunteering, just to gain some of that experience.”

A chance to see, and pet real animals up close was a treat for the kids too, including one youngster who got all dressed up for the occasion.

“I petted an animal today, a wallaby,” said Kohle Reddekopp, a young festival visitor. “It was so soft.”

While he liked the soft wallaby, his favourite animal is a little less fuzzy.

“It’s a snake,” he said, with a smile.

The Wildlife Festival has wrapped up for this year and is headed west, but Clevett says he’s sure to be back next year with some more animals and educational presentations. Top Stories

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