How Zoos, Wildlife Centers Are Preparing for Hurricane Irma

What You Need to Know About Hurricane Irma As the Storm Heads for Florida

Employees have been working around the clock to make accommodations for the more than 3,000 animals at the zoo, following basic disaster plan protocols spelled out by the The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, according to NPR. Meeker animals were moved indoors in kennels, said Zoo Miami spokesman Ron Magill.

Animals throughout South Florida are being moved to secure facilities at zoos, though not all will be able to be moved inside. "Their instincts tell them how to ride out the storm".

A number of animals are said to be at risk.

Magill said he's confident that Zoo Miami will be able to weather Hurricane Irma.

She said: "That is our command center, that is also our surgery and triage center". "It's not like moving a dog or cat or domestic animal". That includes birds, smaller mammals, howler monkeys, dingoes and turtles. "Obviously, everything can't be hurricane-proof". Talking with the Miami Herald, Magill said the zoo is stunningly better arranged this time.

The zoo added that prior experience with Hurricane Andrew, which hit Miami over 25 years ago, has given them many insights on how to best manage the situation. Plus, the zoo wrote on Facebook, hurricanes' paths can change so quickly that evacuating the animals could wind up putting them in more danger.

According to NPR, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which represents more than 230 animal care facilities in the USA and overseas, requires all of its members to practice an annual disaster preparedness drill to keep their accreditation.

Most of the animals - including the tigers, lions and apes - will be kept in their normal night quarters, which are made of concrete and metal.

What You Need to Know About Hurricane Irma As the Storm Heads for Florida
How To Protect Miami Zoo Animals While Hurricane Irma Strikes

These shelters are made of concrete and steel, created to secure the animals as well as withstand storms in the hurricane-prone state. "The wind is something that we hope to protect them within the structures that we have here", he said.

SeaWorld Orlando also reported it will close early on Saturday and shut down during the storm.

"We have large African antelope here and unfortunately they can not be caught up and put in small spaces they're out in their environment and hopefully they'll hunker down and be fine", said Dr. Paul Reillo, founder and president at the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation in Loxahatchee.

Even places where the animals never go outside are battening down the hatches and staying put.

"People don't realize an animal can die from the stress of moving them", Magill says. The reason for that, Dowling said, is simple: the animals sense when things are going wrong, and raising their own stress levels can complicate matters.

Reillo added that the zoos and centers across the region would help each other, too.

"It's our life's work".

"It's about believing that wildlife deserves a chance for the future, we should do all we can to prevent extinction".

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