JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WFOX) – While hundreds of thousands of people prepare for Hurricane Dorian, employees at the Jacksonville zoo are doing the same for their residents.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is home to more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals, and hurricane preparations are in full swing as staff tie down debris and collect food and water.
“There are people for facilities, there’s a veterinarian, there are certainly the animal care staff,” Deputy Director Dan Maloney said about who is working to prepare the zoo residents.
Most of the animals will stay in indoor facilities during the storm. Maloney said the facilities are build with flooding in mind.
The zoo’s indoor facilities have higher sleeping boards than most zoos along with new storm drains and electrical updates.
The Caribbean Flamingos is one species that will not be moved indoors. They are naturally resilient to bad weather, and putting them inside in an unfamiliar environment will actually upset them more.
“Animals recover much faster than people,” Maloney said. “We’re worrying about a whole bunch of things that certainly the animals are never going to worry about.”
Some staff members will stay at the park throughout the entire storm. Maloney said that the zoo will look to Jacksonville city leaders before deploying an emergency plan.