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Palm Beach Zoo moves animals to safer habitats ahead of Tropical Storm Isaias

Staff members working overtime to protect nearly 400 animals
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Posted at 12:48 PM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 17:34:50-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Palm Beach Zoo is closed Thursday and Friday so crews can prepare the animals for any impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias.

On Thursday morning, it was all hands on deck for the staff to get the nearly 400 animals into safe habitats.

RELATED: Latest forecast for Tropical Storm Isaias

WPTV was there as ring-railed lemurs headed to their safe spot.

"A lot of our animals live in spaces that aren't safe during a storm, so we have to move them to hurricane shelters," said Mike Terrell, the general curator at the Palm Beach Zoo.

Some animals, like flamingos, got new temporary roommates.

"These guys behind me will actually go and spend the storm with our bears," Terrell said. "It's totally safe for the flamingos and the bears to be there. They are in totally separate bedrooms."

Storm preparation is a little different this year because of COVID-19, but the process remains the same.

"We have all of the PPE in place to keep our teammates safe," Terrell said. "Whenever we are moving animals, we are in closer proximity with each other, so along with the masks we also have face shields to keep everyone safe."

The last to leave their outdoor habitats will be large animals like the tigers and bears, heading into their hurricane-rated night houses.

"Every animal has a safe place on grounds that we can move them to," Terrell said.

The Palm Beach Zoo said it will take about a day to get all of the animals back out into their habitats, and they hope to reopen as soon as possible.