Target: Lake Superior Zoo
Goal: Assume responsibility for the animals killed in a recent flood and revise emergency response plans to prevent future accidental deaths.
Anyone who cares for animals has a responsibility to protect those animals from any potential dangers. But when the Lake Superior Zoo was recently inundated with floods, a startling absence of any emergency response plan led to the unfortunate and preventable deaths of 13 captive animals.
When torrential rains flooded Duluth, Minnesota, the creek that runs through the middle of the zoo swelled and overflowed. Much of the zoo’s infrastructure was washed away or otherwise damaged, while animals confined near the creek soon perished. Three birds, six sheep, four goats, and one donkey named Ashley are believed to have drowned in the flood. One seal, who survived, even swam away from the zoo into the city when its habitat filled to the brim and overflowed.
The Lake Superior Zoo was clearly ill-prepared for a disaster of this magnitude even though floods of a similar nature affected Duluth two years ago in 2010. Flash flood warnings had been issued to the city at large, but the zoo took no additional precautions to ensure the safety of its captive animals once the rains began to fall. The zoo’s security guards went home for the night, leaving the animals alone in the face of the disaster. Because their captors lacked an emergency response plan, these animals died alone, trapped, and terrified in the middle of the night. So far, zoo officials have not accepted responsibility for the deaths of their animals. Ask the Lake Superior Zoo to revise their emergency response plan so that their animals may be rescued from any future floods.
Dear Lake Superior Zoo,
When torrential rains flooded Duluth, the animals held captive at your zoo were left to face the disaster that ensued alone. A blocked culvert caused several habitats to fill with water, drowning 13 of your animals in an incident that could have been prevented.
This is not the first time that floods of this nature have racked the Duluth area. The Lake Superior Zoo even experienced flooded habitats in 2010, yet effective emergency response plans were not then put in place. These animals could have been saved if they had been moved out of their normal habitats into areas less susceptible to complete flooding. I ask that you revise the zoo’s current emergency plans and make provisions for potential flood damages. The lives of the animals in your care depend on your preparedness for situations of this nature.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: 4028mdk09 via Wikimedia Commons.