CALGARY - The Calgary Zoo says it will take five months before it can fully reopen its doors after severe flooding that caused an estimated loss of $60 million.

CEO Clément Lanthier says the north part of the zoo will open first on July 31. That section includes the Penguin Plunge, Prehistoric Park and Canadian Wilds.

The zoo is located on St. George's Island east of downtown and was swamped by floodwaters from the swollen Bow and Elbow rivers last month. Lanthier said 40 buildings, including the African Savannah exhibit, were severely damaged.

During the height of the flooding, the zebras were moved to the zoo's wildlife conservation centre outside the city and about 160 animals had to be moved to higher ground. Two hippos almost escaped when high water levels lifted them close to the top of their enclosure.

Giraffes standing up to their bellies in cold water were ailing after the flood, but have since recovered.

Two peacocks, a pot-bellied pig and a variety of fish died.

Lanthier says damage at the zoo is so far pegged at $50 million, with another $10 million in lost revenue.

“The impact of the flood on our operation is staggering because we generate almost half our total revenue in July and August,” Lanthier said in a release Tuesday.

“In addition to damage to land and property, we will have a $10-million shortfall in revenue during the restoration period that we will not recover. In fact, we will lose $5 million in revenue in July alone.

"For a not-for-profit charity, this is a major blow."

Restoration is underway but the zoo will not be able to resume full operations until late November.

“We will work harder than ever to connect people with nature and the animals which share our planet," Lanthier said of the rebuilding effort.

Most of the zoo’s animals will remain in their familiar homes throughout the restoration period, but some may have to be temporarily relocated, Lanthier said.

In other flood-related news, many people who work in Calgary's downtown core returned to their jobs Tuesday for the first time since June 20 when severe flooding following heavy rains forced an evacuation of the downtown and low-lying neighbourhoods.

The office towers that house many of Canada's biggest oil companies were crippled by power outages and water sloshing at their doors.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi had urged downtown workers to stay away to let emergency and cleanup crews do their jobs.

Now he's asking them to take public transit, car pool or ride their bikes to work as parking downtown is still in short supply.

Tuesday was also the first day for Calgarians to apply for disaster funding if they have property damage not covered by insurance companies.

Registration centres will be open until Sunday, but homeowners will have other chances to apply for financial help throughout the summer and fall.

The province is advising anyone who isn't applying for aid right away to take photos of any damage and save receipts for cleaning and repair expenses.

The city also says a preliminary damage estimate for public infrastructure is $256.6 million. The city remains under a state of emergency until at least Thursday.

At a late afternoon news conference Tuesday, Nenshi also reminded Calgarians that despite recent hot temperatures, they must continue to stay off the rivers.

"It is a scorcher, but going for a rafting trip down the Bow or Elbow rivers? Not a good idea."

He said the rivers continue to be full of dangerous debris.

"Do I have to say don't go swimming in them, either? Apparently I have to say that. Somebody yesterday apparently thought it was a good idea to go for a swim in the Bow River."

Nenshi said the good news was that the heat wave was forecast to break overnight, though he noted that also brought with it a severe thunderstorm watch.

"Because we need that, too," he said sarcastically. "I'm just not sure if aliens, zombies or locusts come next."

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  • Calgary Zoo President and CEO, Dr. Clement Lanthier surveying the island.

  • The directors getting a closer look at the island in a boat.

  • Our camels enjoying the sunshine and the fresh air.

  • A look at the elephants in their enclosure, enjoying the sunshine, despite the soggy ground.

  • The directors examining the inside of Kitamba Cafe.

  • The Calgary Zoo's maintenance crew in the staff area, with the administration building in the background.

  • Horticulture staff assessing the impact inside the Butterfly Garden

  • Thank you to CEMA and the firefighters they dispatched to help start the clean up.

  • Inside the ENMAX Conservatory.

  • Looking west from the ENMAX Conservatory on to the Dorothy Harvie Gardens.

  • One of the directors survey the Penguin Plunge Exhibit.

  • Looking out towards the elephant enclosure from Elephant Crossing.

  • The directors surveying the TransAlta Rainforest building.

  • The view looking towards Safari Lodge.

  • A peacock displaying his feathers near the North Gate entrance.

  • The water level at Tribal Treats concession stand.

  • The water level at the Kinsmen Playground.

  • The Calgary Zoo's directors carrying a raft to survey the damage.

  • A view on to the Dorothy Harvie Gardens.

  • Destination Africa, looking towards Safari Lodge

  • More photos from the Alberta flood:

  • Daniel Boddy, nine, helps with the clean-up work as hose lines from pumps drain water from flooded basement in the Bridgeland neighborhood in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, June 23, 2013. Heavy rains caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuation across Southern Alberta.

  • Daniel Boddy, nine, helps with the clean-up work as hose lines from pumps drain water from flooded basement in the Bridgeland neighborhood in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, June 23, 2013. Heavy rains caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuation across Southern Alberta.

  • A boy crosses a silt covered street in Chinatown as clean-up crews work in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, June 23, 2013. Heavy rains caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuation across Southern Alberta.

  • People place sand bags as the river rises rapidly and begins flooding in Medicine Hat, Alberta, on Sunday, June 23, 2013.

  • Homeowner Glenn Tibbles looks at the damage done by floodwaters to his home near downtown Calgary, Alberta, on Sunday, June 23, 2013. About 65,000 residents of Calgary were being allowed to return to their homes Sunday to assess the damage from flooding that has left Alberta's largest city awash in debris and dirty water.

  • Cpl. Brett Martens from CFB Edmonton helps a resident clear out damaged debris from their home near downtown Calgary, Alberta, on Sunday, June 23, 2013. About 65,000 residents of Calgary were being allowed to return to their homes Sunday to assess the damage from flooding that has left Alberta's largest city awash in debris and dirty water.

  • A home is inundated with floodwaters on the Siksika First Nation, Alberta, on Sunday, June 23, 2013. Alberta's municipal affairs minister says 27 communities are under a state of emergency as some areas begin to recover from flooding while others are still bracing for it.

  • People watch as the river rises rapidly and begins flooding in Medicine Hat, Alta., on Sunday, June 23, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

  • Floodwaters inundate homes in Medicine Hat, Alberta, on Sunday, June 23, 2013. Alberta's municipal affairs minister says 27 communities are under a state of emergency as some areas begin to recover from flooding while others are still bracing for it.

  • Police officers close a bridge as a military helicopter patrols the the area as the river rises rapidly and begins flooding in Medicine Hat, Alberta on Sunday, June 23, 2013.

  • Homeowner Glenn Tibbles looks at the damage done by flood waters to his home near downtown Calgary, Alta., Sunday, June 23, 2013.

  • People help a friend move furniture and personal belongings out of his mud-soaked basement near downtown Calgary, Alta., Sunday, June 23, 2013.

  • Homeowner Glenn Tibbles looks at the damage done by floodwaters to his home near downtown Calgary, Alta., Sunday, June 23, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

  • Cpl. Brett Martens from CFB Edmonton helps a resident clear out damaged debris from their home near downtown Calgary, Alta., Sunday, June 23, 2013.

  • Residents near downtown Calgary, Alta. load bins with their mud-soaked belongings on Sunday, June 23, 2013.

  • Nathan and Sarah MacBey carry a suitcase of clean dry clothes from their home after the waters receded in Calgary's southend Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • Nathan and Sarah MacBey tour their flooded home for the first time since the waters receded in Calgary's southend Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • Furniture is tossed around a flooded home and is seen after the waters receded in Calgary's southend Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • Sarah MacBey pauses for a moment as she walks through her flooded home for the first time since the waters receded in Calgary's southend Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • Sarah MacBey picks up a mud covered book that she had made for her husband for fathers day as she tours her flooded home for the first time since the waters receded in Calgary's southend Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • Sarah MacBey pauses for a moment as she walks through her flooded home for the first time since the waters receded in Calgary's southend Saturday, June 22, 2013.

  • A house is submerged by flood water at a park near the Bow River in Calgary, Alberta, Canada June 22, 2013. Water levels have dropped slightly today.

  • This aerial photo shows the Bow River pouring through the Ghost Lake dam near Cochrane, Alberta, Canada on Saturday, June 22, 2013. The Bow flows trough Calgary and heavy rains plus mountain snow melt have caused evacuations and large scale flooding in the city as well as much of Southern Alberta.