Monday, September 05, 2005

Animals in the wake of Katrina

Russlings is a good source of information about the fate of animals in the wake of Katrina:

New Orleans Zoo Hurricane Plan:

Audubon Zoo has a well devised plan to deal with the threat of a hurricane making landfall in the vicinity of New Orleans. In 1993 Audubon Zoo staff met with the General Curator from the Miami Zoo in order to upgrade our hurricane preparedness. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew devastated the greater Miami area, including the zoo, and we incorporated the Miami Zoo's experience and recommendations into our plan.

At Audubon Zoo the Reptile House is the command center for the Hurricane Response Team as it is sturdily constructed and positioned in the highest part of the zoo. Prior to a storm's arrival, animals would be secured in night houses, barns and other buildings, most of which, such as Asian Domain and World of Primates, are well constructed.

High voltage portable generators are positioned at critical places in the zoo and a large freezer and refrigeration truck is used to store a stockpile of perishable animal food. An eight member Hurricane Response Team of zoo staff stays on zoo grounds (even in the event of a Category 5 hurricane). The Reptile House is provisioned with ample quantities of food, water and survival gear.

When the storm passes the team would venture out into the zoo to shore up fences, buildings and to deal with the downed power lines (we have a qualified electrician on the team). When the zoo is secure, the team would direct their attention to the animal collection. The experience at Miami Zoo showed that the animals were so traumatized by the storm that they refused to eat for a couple of days, so primary attention would focus on capturing any escaped animals and securing our fences - especially our perimeter fence. When the staff and the animals have settled down, routine animal feeding and general care would commence. Eventually other zoo staff would manage to make their way to the zoo and more detailed animal procedures could begin.
ZOO hurricane update:

This is what we know about the status of AZA member institutions in the affected area as of 7:30 pm, 3 September 2005.

Audubon Zoo
Audubon Nature Institute executive staff continue to assess the impact of Hurricane Katrina on all Audubon facilities. Audubon staff are working around the clock on recovery efforts. They are in contact daily with AZA staff and are working with the Zoo and Aquarium community to secure the resources required to address the needs of the facilities. The staff of Audubon wishes to express their gratitude for the outpouring of support from the Zoo and Aquarium community.

We are receiving messages from our international colleagues.

BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo
The Zoo has electricity but there are brown outs. There are lots of trees down, but there were no animal losses. They are already working on clean up.

Alexandria Zoo
They are doing fine. They had no animal loss.

Jackson Zoo
The Zoo suffered very slight building damage and has about 35 trees down. There was no injury to any staff or animals. About half of the zoo has power. They will be closed for about a week while they clean up the trees.

Birmingham Zoo
The Zoo was without electricity for one day but power is now restored. Some trees are down, but the zoo suffered no animal losses.

Montgomery Zoo
The Zoo has some electricity, had some trees are down, but they suffered no animal losses.

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