Zoo animals ride out storm as Irma rips through Florida

Mo the Sloth and Kramer the Emu do time in county jail

Because of the storm threat, these inmates were relocated to facilities in Palm Beach County.

The animals at Zoo Miami are all fine!

Farmer Jeanne Selander implemented the hurricane plans and prepared all the feed, hay and large plastic trash cans filled with fresh water and bedding for the animals, according to the farm's Facebook page.

Zoo Miami did not evacuate any of its animals ahead of hurricane Irma because the stress of moving an animal away from their regular enclosures is often more risky than the storm itself.

Rather than leave the cells vacant, it was decided that more than 250 animals would be moved indoors to protect them from Hurricane Irma's storm surge, flooding rains and pounding wind. The shelters also needed to make room for new, storm-displaced animals.

Hundreds of thoroughbreds were moved from low-lying areas of Gulfstream Park, near Miami, to other training facilities and barns farther north.

"We live in a hurricane-prone area so our facilities are created to accommodate these storms, " said Brian Dowling, the general curator at Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach County - a facility with lions, chimpanzees, rhinos and more, all of whom stayed put for the storm. 'Obviously, everything can't be hurricane-proof'.

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While humans can easily jump in a auto and drive away, evacuating a zoo full of wild animals could make them less safe.

US News & World Report said that the Miami Zoo had to take special care to secure some of its animals because they're endangered species.

Other animals were left in their usual habitat with gates to their shelters left open to keep them from becoming too stressed. "Animals are dependent on what the owners do for them".

"These animals go through a tremendous amount of stress when you move them away from a familiar area, and that stress could be very, very unsafe to them", Magill said. "But for the most part, they deal with it kind of how they would in the wild", collection manager Lauren Hinson told USA Today.

Both SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay were keeping workers on-site at all hours to care for and monitor the animals.

Five dolphins were moved from the Florida Keys to Central Florida.

Irma provided another reminder of what hurricanes have done to the state's ecosystem.


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