Here’s how Florida zoos are trying to protect animals from Hurricane Irma

By Gabrielle Okun, DCNF DCNF

Concrete bunkers are now the new homes for some Miami Zoo animals who find themselves in the path of Hurricane Irma.

Smaller animals, such as flamingos and pelicans, were evacuated and placed into concrete bunkers Saturday to brave Hurricane Irma’s wrath, reported Reuters. Larger animals, such as elephants and apes, already have strong enclosures after Hurricane Andrew which devistated Miami in 1992.

While moving animals from their normal surroundings can cause animals distress, the zoo is trying to take necessary steps, following the events of Hurricane Andrew when the pink flamingoes were found huddled in a bathroom.

Protecting their animals from the storm presents other challenges as well.

“We are very concerned about the generators working because we have life system supports for pumping for the aquarium and things like that,” Ron Magill, the Miami Zoo communications director, said according to ABC News. “If they shut down, the oxygen doesn’t get in the water, and animals will die.” Many of the zoo’s exhibits require oxygen for the animals.

“Animals at Miami zoo moved to reinforced buildings as they brace for #Irma’s wrath,” tweeted ABC News Saturday.

Many Miami-Dade County shelters are already filled to capacity with house pets.

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