DULUTH, Minn. - The polar bear and seals that escaped their exhibits at the flooded Lake Superior Zoo are temporarily calling a St. Paul zoo home.
Animal care director Peter Pruett, in Duluth, says the move to Como Park Zoo is precautionary and in the best interest of the animals.
A team of four Como zookeepers drove to Duluth Wednesday evening to retrieve the seals and polar bear. They arrived back to Como Zoo in Saint Paul at 2:00am Thursday morning.
"We were in communication with the Lake Superior Zoo for much of the day Wednesday. When they determined it would be in the best interest of the animals to temporarily send them to Como as they dealt with the flooding, we were ready to respond" said Michelle Furrer, Como Park Zoo & Conservatory Director.
The Lake Superior Zoo suffered devastating damage when overcome by floodwaters from Wednesday's historic rainfall. At this point it is uncertain when the facility will reopen.
The animal guests will be quarantined away from Como Zoo's animals, a standard procedure with all incoming animals. The polar bear will make his temporary home in Polar Bear Odyssey, Como's new 16,000 square-foot state-of-the-art bear habitat.
The harbor seals will be in the Aquatic Building, home of Sparky the Sea Lion, penguins, puffins and other aquatic animals. It is not clear how long the animals will stay or if they will be on display.
This isn't the first time Como has been called upon to assist a flooded zoo. Como Zoo is currently the temporary home to two brown bears and one grizzly bear from the Roosevelt Zoo as a result of a 2011 flooded Souris River in Minot, North Dakota.
KBJR- TV reports that the Lake Superior Zoo's other animals, including brown bears and lions, will be quarantined in the animal care building at the Lake Superior Zoo.
About a dozen animals in the barnyard exhibit died when flood waters the engulfed the zoo early Wednesday. After Feisty the seal was found on a city street, zoo employees were called in and began searching for animals in the dark.
Berlin the polar bear was found on a rock wall that encloses her exhibit. Another escaped seal was found on a walking path.
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