As many of you know, today has been a very difficult day at ZooAmerica. First and foremost, the Zoo staff cares deeply about the safety and well-being of the animals in their care, and truly considers them members of their extended families.
Today the Zoo experienced unprecedented flooding, more than we experienced with Hurricane Ivan or any other severe weather event in the company’s memory.
The Zoo team began flood preparation two days ago by moving all animals to higher ground. Recognizing the likelihood of serious flooding, the team activated our animal evacuation plan at noon today to ensure that the animals were out of harm’s way. This plan has been in place and effective in all other weather-related emergencies that the Zoo has experienced.
Unfortunately, no one could anticipate a weather event that went from inches of rain to feet of flooding in a matter of a few short minutes. While we were able to ensure the safety of the vast majority of the animals in the Zoo, flood waters rose too quickly in the area occupied by two of the Zoo’s bison and we were not able to rescue them.
Faced with the prospect of watching the extended suffering of the bison and their eventual death due to drowning, the Zoo staff chose the most humane path possible and euthanized the bison.
This is a very sad day for us, as we’ve built strong bonds with all the animals in our care. We can tell you that each of us feels this loss very deeply.