EDMONTON -- Edmonton Valley Zoo has doubled the size of its tiger habitat with a new expansion unveiled Friday.

The reveal came on International Tiger Day.

The project expanded the Amur tigers Amba and Taiga's living space to more than 4,800 sq. m and added two new viewing areas. New lighting and security systems were also installed.

"Having such a large space just gives them more exercise and gives us the ability to change that environment more so that every day just like in the wild," trainer Brenda McComb explained. "If they are migrating around they are going to see something different."

The expansion could allow the zoo to participate in breeding programs for the tigers, which are an endangered species.

“This investment demonstrates our commitment to protecting this amazing species and supporting wildlife conservation in general,” Lindsey Galloway, director of the Edmonton Valley Zoo said in a written release. “The Edmonton Valley Zoo can now expand its role in the Amur tiger Species Survival Plan, which is an international coordinated breeding program for captive endangered species.”

The zoo has also committed to donating a portion of proceeds from ice cream and the sales of special face masks on site to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Siberian Tiger Conservation Project.

Sponsors and donors to the Valley Zoo Development Society helped fund the $1.1-million expansion.

The zoo reopened to the public on June 15 after closing in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New precautions include online ticketing, caps on attendance and additional cleaning measures.