Hold Zoo Responsible for Animals Killed in Flood

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.

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  1. Doris murmer says:

    I don’t believe in zoos and this is a classical example of why. Animals should be left alone to live their lives in the environment that God meant them to live in. Our children can learn all they need to know about about animals on TV programs, internet, books, etc.

  2. There should be no zoos without emergency plans for natural disasters, e.g., floods and fires. Leaving animals alone to drown is inexcusable! The officials should not only accept responsibility, they should close down this inadequate facility.

  3. angela rabon says:

    Close this facility. Obviously they do not care about the animals.

  4. As far as I’m concerned, this zoo should be closed down and the animals distributed to zoos that show more of a concern for their animals. someone commented this has happened before. I don’t know if there is an organization that oversees zoos. I know there is something that gives them awards and rates them, but i don’t know if there is any authority. Once is bad enough, no excuse. But twice, this place needs to be shut down as soon as those remaining animals can be places at the best places.

  5. Giana Peranio Paz says:

    Zoos are a necessary evil because they save endangered animals and provide a learning experience for children and grownups, but they must have more concern for their animals and a way to save them during desasters.

  6. Their lives were in your hands and you let them down. Someone should have been there monitoring the situation every moment. They suffered a miserable death waiting for the people who fed them daily to arrive and save them. Think about what happened during their last moments and make sure this never happens again to another captive animal.

  7. When you have the responsibility of caring for animals..you don’t run away in the face of danger and leave them to die.

  8. I have always been against zoos. I consider them to be cruel, inhumane, and totally unneccessary. We are the ones who should be caged. Animals have a right to be free to roam in their natural habitat far from the gawking eyes of we idiot human beings. Idiots who would save themselves and leave behind the innocent animals who have never so much as committed a sin and whose only mistake was to have been born in captivity or captured and enslaved. All zoos have a responsibilty to protect the animals and give them a life equal to or greater than the life of which we have robbed them. To abandon them and leave them vulnerable to harm is irresponsible and disgusting. Shame on the Lake Superior Zoo and any zoo that would allow a situation where an innocent animal’s last moments are filled with panic and terror.

  9. Daniela Bress says:

    Making money with animals in captivity?!
    Then kindly provide for their safety!

  10. Abandonment is not animal preservation.

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