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San Antonio Zoo Joins Recovery Effort at Louisiana Zoo Damaged by Hurricane Laura 

  • Facebook / Alexandria Zoological Park
Chainsaws, generators and construction tools will be on board with San Antonio Zoo team members as they head to Louisiana Thursday to help restore the Alexandria Zoo.

The 33-acre park in Alexandria, Louisiana, received extensive damage from Hurricane Laura. Strong winds ravaged the site when the Category 4 storm made landfall in late August.

"The wind raged with a vengeance that snapped, twisted and toppled more than 50 mature trees across our campus," the Alexandria Zoo reported in a news update.

Fortunately, the zoo reported its staff and 500 animals all came through the storm safely.

Ten members of the San Antonio Zoo team will join staff from Audubon Zoo, Baton Rouge Zoo and New Braunfels' Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo for the cleanup effort. The volunteers will assist in clearing debris, tree removal and repairing damage to some of the facility's exhibits.

More than 20 animal habitats were also damaged, with the majority of the devastation affecting the cougar habitat.

"The cougars were securely housed in their indoor enclosures," according to a statement from the zoo. "Both cougars, Jack and Diane, stayed safe during the storm, but their outdoor habitat was significantly damaged."

Fences, roofs and trail passages were also damaged.

"Not only will our team be working to repair the animal exhibits and clear the property of fallen and damaged trees, but they will also be providing a much-needed relief for the staffs who have been at the zoo since the hurricane," San Antonio Zoo President and CEO Tim Morrow said in a statement.

The Louisiana zoo is closed during the repair, with some of the animals temporarily relocated to nearby facilities.

Donated Valero Energy fuel cards will help teams travel to Louisiana. United Rentals provided construction equipment for the cleanup.

The disaster response coordination for the Alexandria Zoo relief was organized by Texas Zoo Response, Rescue and Recovery. The program was formed by a network of Texas zoos after Hurricane Harvey.

The volunteer efforts by the San Antonio Zoo come as it works to recover from COVID-related losses. It's accepting donations to help cover lost revenue from spring lockdown and reduced attendance.

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