5 animals killed at Wild Animal Safari in Sunday’s tornado, 1000’s of timber down as cleanup continues
Revealed 4:01 pm Friday, March 31, 2023
The Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain is often a joyous location full of women and men of all ages. Each single couple of minutes, you possibly can usually hear the hilarious scream of any person who acquired an animal slobber on their palms or the shocked response of one other one who did not anticipate a zebra or giraffe to happen correct as much as their window.
And, with Spring Crack about to start out out in Troup County, this might generally be the busiest 7 days of the entire yr for the vacationer attraction, which gives in a little bit round 200,000 friends for every calendar 12 months.
As an alternative, the seems of laughter are changed by chainsaws, welding units and development autos, all side of clean-up makes an attempt after an EF-3 twister hit the park Sunday producing 1000’s of timber to drop and leading to important destruction to properties, fences and enclosures.
“Typically, our entire walkabout, yow will discover not a solitary present that was untouched,” talked about zoo director Katie Harrison.
There are 2,000 to three,000 timber down, in accordance with Mark Whitfield, govt vp of Parks The usa, who owns the Wild Animal Safari and two very related parks in Missouri and Texas. 5 animals — a brand new guinea singing canine, capybara, peacock, miniature zebu and fallow deer — had been killed in Sunday’s storm.
Harrison, who has been the zoo director for 10 a very long time, will get choked up chatting concerning the animals that didn’t survive.
“I usually are not in a position to talk about about it means too significantly or I’m going to cry,” she reported at a press convention Friday. “… That is my pleasure and pleasure. myhome.”
A distinct handful of animals been given slight accidents, Harrison defined. A veterinarian from Zoo Atlanta arrived down following the storm to help deal with the animals.
Zoo Atlanta Spokesperson Rachel Davis reported a gaggle from Zoo Atlanta went to the safari Sunday, which embody associates from the zoo’s animal remedy, facilities, horticulture, and veterinary teams.
“Our groups assisted in ensuring that animal areas have been being safe, assisted with downed timber, and helped put collectively animal consuming plans,” Davis reported.
The animal safari turned a nationwide matter Sunday instantly after two tigers escaped their enclosures when the storm got here by. Equally tigers had been noticed inside a a number of hrs — every inside the confines of the park. And each — completely a white Bengal tiger and a liger — have been protected.
“My group realized what to do. They’ve been absolutely educated on it. They acquired each particular person tranquilized and again once more by which they required to go,” Harrison acknowledged. “They hardly nonetheless left the property. I am so, so glad of my crew.”
Harrison reported he was arranging to go to the animal safari instantly after the twister warning expired throughout 7:30 am Sunday. Alternatively, she obtained a contact urging her to get to the park promptly.
“We had any particular person on this article on web web site, who referred to as me and acknowledged ‘you need to should get listed right here now,’ Harrison claimed.
The an individual staff member who was on the park rode out the storm beneath a compact room, round by which the walkabout place begins.
The aftermath of the storm was timber down in every single place, animals that required to be shortly moved to their sister park in Missouri and quite a lot of get the job carried out to get reopened.
“It truly might’ve been an incredible deal worse,” Harrison acknowledged, in search of above the broken property.
The park hopes to reopen in early April, although no particular day is acknowledged nonetheless with an incredible deal cleanup remaining of the underpass.
“(Spring crack) is nearly our busiest week of the overall 12 months each single 12 months, so we’re getting a serious hit there,” Harrison defined. “However we have purchased to do what we now have to do to maintain the group and the animals innocent. That’s our main precedence.”
Whitfield in comparison not being open for Spring Crack to the cancellation of a big celebration.
“Think about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Working day Parade the place by an occasion occurred the place you could not have the parade,” he defined.
Nonetheless, he mentioned the Wild Animal Safari isn’t going to be deterred by this storm and can rebuild.
“The spring cut up at any park at any zoo at any Wild Animal Safari Park is usually a extraordinarily, fairly chaotic time to the park and, and for us, it’s actually one specific of the busiest weeks of the yr. So the financial have an effect on is substantial and sizeable,” Whitfield mentioned. “However Parks America, the guardian group, and Wild Animal Safari, we’re on this enterprise for the prolonged haul, we’re on this group for the prolonged haul. We have been listed right here for 30 yrs and a tornado isn’t prone to chase us out.”
Within the aftermath of the storm, PETA issued an announcement calling for the escaped tigers to go to an animal sanctuary.
“Wild Animal Safari’s very lengthy background of leaving enclosures in disrepair and its apparent unwillingness to program for a pure catastrophe made the escape of harmful tigers inescapable,” defined PETA Basis Director of Captive Animal Welfare Debbie Metzler. “Earlier than this roadside zoo dangers the general public’s and huge cats’ life once more, PETA is asking for the feds to crack down on the shady safari and for the animals to go to revered sanctuaries that know find out how to give them the remedy they want and put together for the worst.”
Whitfield reported he skilled not seen the PETA assertion, however he acknowledged the Wild Animal Safari takes fairly implausible care of its animals.
“Our parks, just a few of months previous to this, you recognize simply handed a unique USDA inspection. We handed it with touring colors,” he talked about. “We look after our animals higher than any particular person. Our animals are quite a bit correctly fed by us and all of the nutritional vitamins and that we give them after which by our friends. Our animals are very correctly cared for. When you’ve got a class 3 tornado with a direct strike, you recognize, search what transpired to properties and companies all through this glorious state of Georgia. Nothing in any respect can endure that.”
Harrison and Whitfield thanked Callaway Gardens and different Pine Mountain neighbors for supporting with cleanup makes an attempt. Callaway Gardens additionally fed the safari staff beforehand this 7 days.
She urged anybody who wishes to assist to maintain on supporting the safari.
“Simply hold supporting us. Proceed to maintain sending people constructive vibes,” she mentioned. “That may assist our crew. Simply to see all individuals who cares and enjoys us so loads. Proceed to maintain sending the take pleasure in. That’s what we’ll want correct now.”