The recent snowstorm in Jerusalem has taken its toll on the animals of the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem.
Despite efforts to secure warm shelter, six animals died from the frigid conditions and falling tree limbs caused by the worst winter storm to hit the city in decades.
Biblical Zoo spokesperson Sigalet Herz said safety and shelter was a number one priority for the zookeepers, and said every effort was taken to make certain that the animals housed at the zoo could weather the storm. Unfortunately, despite the zoo’s best efforts, six animal–including two flamingos, two infant collared peccaries and two Hammer Kopfs–perished.
In the case of the Hammer Kopfs, a species of bird, Herz said that the keepers tried to gather all the birds to get them to shelter, but the massive size of the aviary meant some were overlooked. “The aviary is such a big place that we could not gather all the birds to protect them,” she noted, adding the Hammer Kopfs died from the harsh conditions in the aviary.
The cold also took its toll on animals well-adapted to the cold. Two infant peccaries succumbed when the temperature fell. “Peccaries don’t require heating because they congregate closely and have thick fur,” Herz said, “but the two little ones were still vulnerable.”
The pair of flamingos were also killed after harsh conditions toppled trees in their living environment. “The flamingos are a really sad story because many of the older trees collapsed from the snow and two of them were killed by a huge one that fell at the exhibit,” Herz explained, adding that the remaining 30 flamingos in the exhibit managed the storm unscathed.
The majority of the zoo’s animals are enjoying extra heat while zoo keepers work feverishly to repair their enclosures that were damaged by the storm.
“There is so much work to be done, including cutting limbs off trees and fixing bushes that were bent by all the snow,” Herz said of the clean-up effort now underway. She added that the animals clearly want to get back outside and the keepers hope to release them back to their environments gradually as the temperatures rise and repairs are made.