ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – There were some incredible images of devastating flooding that came to us out of the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth.
A couple of seals were actually able to make their way out of the park Wednesday. They, along with some other zoo animals, are now coming to the Como Zoo in St. Paul. Officials say it’s a temporary move.
The Lake Superior Zoo calls it a “precautionary measure.” Berlin the polar bear and two seals are being transferred there. All three animals were missing at one point Wednesday morning during the massive flooding.
Several animals escaped when their enclosures flooded, including Feisty the seal. She was the one found out on the city street. Her sister, Vivian, was found swimming in a creek. The seal sisters and Berlin the Polar Bear are coming here to Como Zoo during the clean-up in Duluth.
They were the lucky ones, but several barnyard animals died in the flood.
“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 just incredibly devastating to see it like this,” said Brad Jago, a zoo groundskeeper.
Goats, sheep and a donkey named Ashley were killed. The only barn animal from the zoo that survived was a mini-horse named Darla.
“It’s a bright moment in a really, really dark day, and we thought that we had lost everyone and there she was just waiting for us,” said Lizzy Johnson, her handler. “She just is one of the feistiest animals we have here and she just pulled through.”
Johnson said she thinks Darla swam a few hundred yards to get to safety. The loss of the other animals is hitting the crew hard, and the place is a mess.
At Como Zoo, it’s a fitting temporary habitat for these animals. They of course already have a polar bear exhibit.
You can help families affected by the flooding by donating to the American Red Cross. The phone number is 1-800-RED-CROSS. Or text the word “REDCROSS” from your cell phone to 9-0-9-9-9 to make a $10 donation that will go directly on your phone bill.