|Riverside Zoo to evacuate animals|
|June 03, 2011 Doug Harris|
Director Anne James speaks to the press Friday morning about evacuation plans for the Riverside Zoo.
SCOTTSBLUFF - Riverside Zoo director Anne James announced today that all animals in the zoo are to be evacuated in the next few days. “The Army Corps of Engineers reported that water levels along the banks of the North Platter River are expected to rise up to three feet in the coming days,” James said at a press conference this morning.
“We are preparing to move up to 180 animals to other regional facilities as soon as possible. This is a huge task. We expect to see water covering most of our grounds within five to six days according to emerging evaluations.”
James added that it is predicted the ground water levels from river spill off will be at least a “six week event.” Riverside Zoo will close on Monday, June 6 and will remain closed until the river returns to safe and consistent levels.
All zoo water and sewer services will be discontinued on Monday. The zoo is asking the public for support regarding water storage during the process of moving the animals.
“With water services discontinued, we need to borrow as many large water storage containers as we can,” James said. “We already have a few 1,000 gallon containers but could use more of any size.”
All the animals will have to be trapped and captured. Zoo staff will take many smaller animals home with them during the closure. Larger animals will be transported to appropriate neighboring zoos. Tranquillizer darts will be used to sedate dangerous animals during transportation.
Dr. Henry Evard from the Pioneer Animal Clinic is overseeing all medical needs for the animals. City workers from Scottsbluff, Gering, and Terrytown are assisting the zoo with the evacuation.
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