Duluth Flooding Causes Animals To Escape Zoo
Flooding in Duluth, Minn., intensified as storms dropped several inches of rain, inundating city streets and allowing animals to escape the zoo there.
The flood caused massive damage in the city and surrounding areas, covering homes and businesses and causing roads to crumble, the Duluth News Tribune reported. Emergency crews were forced to rescue an 8-year-old boy who was swept away by rising floodwaters and carried five to six blocks from his home. The city has declared a state of emergency.
Several animals at the Lake Superior Zoo drowned when the flooding overtook their enclosures, including all but one of the zoo’s barnyard animals, the News Tribune reported. The zoo’s Polar Shores exhibit was completely flooded, allowing a seal to swim out and into the city. It was later apprehended on Grand Avenue in Duluth.
The polar bear Berlin was also able to escape its exhibit but was rounded up by zoo officials and placed in a quarantine area of the zoo’s veterinarian.
“Obviously, our entire staff is devastated,” Peter Pruett, the zoo’s director of animal management, told the News Tribune.
The Duluth flooding was caused by a culvert on local Kingsbury Creek that backed up after heavy rains. It has since washed out and floodwaters are beginning to recede, city officials said.
The flooding is said to be the worst the area has seen in years, and cleanup is still ahead for residents. Zoo officials said they still won’t have an accurate estimate of how many animals were killed until the water fully recedes, MSNBC reported.
“We have 11 confirmed dead animals, most of them barnyard animals,” zoo marketing director Holly Henry told msnbc.com. “Two thirds of the zoo is under water.”
The flooding in Duluth may have waned but it’s far from over, warned meteorologist Dean Melde.
“It’s not going to get any better any time soon,” Melde told the News Tribune. “In Duluth, we could easily see another two inches, and there’s a line of strong to severe storms forming to our west that could bring more.”