Reporting Holly Wagner
DULUTH (WCCO) — Several animals escaped from their cages and nearly a dozen drowned at the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth due to flooding.
It’s a sad and stressful day at the zoo Wednesday. Water from the Kingsbury Creek rose so sharply overnight that the water filled up the polar bear exhibit and left two-thirds of the zoo covered in water.
Zoo officials reported that several barnyard animals have died in the flooding, including birds, six sheep, four goats and one donkey. A polar bear also escaped from its enclosure, but it was tranquilized and returned.
As of about 6:30 a.m., zoo officials said all big-game animals have been accounted for.
Officials said two seals, Feisty and Vivian, escaped their exhibit at about 3 a.m. after Kingsbury Creek, which runs through the exhibit overflowed the more than 10-foot wall that normally keeps the seals in. The seals were eventually recovered and brought back to the exhibit.
Now, the zoo grounds are now sopping, muddy mess. For groundskeeper, Brad Jago, it’s tough to see.
“It’s devastating. I’ve been a member of this community my entire life. I’ve worked here for just under a year and it’s incredibly devastating to see it like this,” said Jago.
According to the zoo, the animals weren’t saved earlier because nobody expected the water to rise so rapidly in such a short period of time.