Holding On For Deer Life

Ronni Spaulding, Journalist

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Deadly gusts of wind swarm throughout the Southeast, destroying anything in its path. As another hurricane approaches, the Southern states, Hurricane Irma hits land in the Florida Keys, including the many zoos located there.

With gusts up to nearly 130 mph, Irma was marked as a Category 4 storm, with wind speeds strong enough to destroy many houses, stores, etc. In deadly situations, precautions of all sorts are implimented to ensure the safety of not only humans, but animals too.

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew hit the Southeast, causing many homes and enclosures to evacuate. Moving zoo animals can often be very stressful, causing many animals to die. Zookeepers evacuated their animals to ensure their safety, but moving them made the situation become worse. Multiple animal deaths occurred in zoos during Hurricane Andrew, causing this year’s Irma precautions to change dramatically.

The Zoo Miami, containing 3,000 animals, is housing all animals in the zoo throughout Irma. Many citizens are curious as if housing animals in the zoo is actually a safer way to avoid animal deaths.

More delicate animals such as smaller animals, birds, and endangered species will be placed in underground housing facilities. The more robust and larger animals will be placed in their night houses at the zoo.

A Miami resident, Glenn Larssen, has experienced 3 major hurricanes and many tropical storms. He claims that the animals will be in good condition, “With all of South Florida’s very strict building codes, I would assume most of the structures are built to withstand 200mph,” he said.

Strict building codes, experienced employees, and altered hurricane precautions; for the zoo-all the changes enacted to protect the animals. With Larssens comment in mind, we can be assured that with all the animals moved into night housing and underground housing, will be able to make due throughout the storm.

Damage from Hurricane Irma had a devastating effect. Poles, power lines and other large fixtures were severely damaged. The belongings of residents were torn from homes, and some houses were destroyed.

Fortunately, the Miami Zoo had minimal damage. Some trees and fixtures fell, but the enclosures were fine. With no animal deaths and no employee deaths, avoiding moving the animals in hurricane warnings will replace the animal evacuations.

The zoo was closed for about a month due to hurricane warnings, but a reopening is soon to come. On October 14 with original hours from 10 am to 5 pm. All general admissions will be 50% off October 14th-15th, and the first 1,000 visitors on each day will get  a free pair of Miami Zoo branded glasses.

For additional information on the catastrophe visit https://www.local10.com/weather/hurricane-irma/zoo-miami-to-reopen-oct-14-after-hurricane-irma. If you would like to donate to those in need due to Irma’s destruction, you can visit https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-irma-donations, and click on the amount you would like to donate and enter the information Payment Details below.