Aquarium Animals Abandoned As Workers Forced To Evacuate Under Threat Posed By Hurricane Florence

The aquarium workers are "distressed" over leaving the animals after evacuation orders.

Aquariums are abandoned.
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The aquarium workers are "distressed" over leaving the animals after evacuation orders.

Three North Carolina aquariums are still teeming with animal and sea life, but they’ll all be expected to weather the storm alone, according to Reuters. This is because all of the handlers have been forced to evacuate. The workers did everything they could to prepare the fish and animals for a potentially long time without any care or food, but many have expressed their distress at having to abandon the animals. Spokeswoman for the North Carolina Aquarium, Robin Nalepa, said the following.

“It’s not only personally distressing that there’s a hurricane that we’re all trying to prepare for personally, but that it could impact the animals that they care for on a daily basis. It can really take a toll.”

The workers all fed all the fish and animals as best they could before they left. Water levels in the tanks were topped off, and generators were installed to help oxygenate the water during the humans’ absence.

It’s still unknown what the effects of Hurricane Florence might have on the area, and that’s what’s bothering spokeswoman for the Pine Knoll Shores aquarium, Danielle Bolton.

“The animals are part of our family… It is very emotional having to close and not know exactly what’s going to happen.”

And while some animals, like sharks, may get through the period without problems, the same can’t be said about some of the other sea life.

Bolton explained further.

“Sharks can go two to three weeks without eating. However, we don’t normally let them go that long in the aquarium… We might find one or two of the smaller fish missing. We hope that’s not gonna happen.”

The North Carolina Aquarium locations are located on the coast, which could be one of the heaviest-hit areas if the hurricane does move inland as predicted this weekend.

The website reveals that there’s a steady stream of feeding events, which include alligators, stingrays, and sharks. Turtles and otters also reside at the centers. It’s hard to know how the otters will do without food, considering that Otter-World says that they eat between 15 to 25 percent of their body weight in food every day.

And as the storm moves inland, Gov. Cooper has warned residents. “Don’t relax. Don’t get complacent,” Cooper was quoted as saying by ABC11.

Meanwhile, over a hundred shelters are filling up with thousands of evacuees. One private company is estimating roughly $50 to $60 billion of damages due to the hurricane, mostly attributed to flooding and coastal damage.