November 1, 2012
Thanks to the hard work of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo staff, the animals, grounds, and people of the Zoo all came through the storm safely.
At Rock Creek, all the animals are alive and well, and staff was continually safe and on the job. Large, potentially dangerous animals such as our great cats, bears, and elephants were kept inside during the storm and while we assessed the damage. Flamingos and other birds at the Bird House that usually live outside were kept in protected holding structures and then released after the storms, when crews were sure their enclosures were safe.
Staff stayed after Boo at the Zoo on Sunday to clean up the decorations and take down the tents. Hay bales, which were originally used as decorations for Boo at the Zoo, were repurposed to filter leaves out of rain runoffs to prevent drain clogging. They’ve all been removed and cleared. Our tractor-mounted blower brigade has tackled the leaf litter blanketing our walking paths, and the downed trees and branches have been cleared. We’re assessing various minor roof leaks.
Some structures near the Bird House and the Elephant Trek were affected by the storm, but no animal enclosure was hurt. Our horticulture and facilities teams worked hard all night long, keeping up with Sandy. They raced all over the park dealing with downed trees as they fell to make sure our animal enclosures were secure and that animal care staff could reach them.
We activated the flood gates on Rock Creek and continually cleared storm drains to prevent flooding. A few buildings did spring small leaks, but they’re being addressed.
At SCBI Front Royal, the buildings all lost power, but backup generators ran successfully and power is now restored. None of the animals were hurt and none of their enclosures were damaged in the storm.