Salisbury Zoo Staff and Volunteers Clean up Following Flooding - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Zoo Staff and Volunteers Clean up Following Flooding

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Toppled tree in Salisbury Zoo. (Photo: WBOC) Toppled tree in Salisbury Zoo. (Photo: WBOC)
Zoo closed sign. (Photo: WBOC) Zoo closed sign. (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- The Salisbury Zoo was closed again on Tuesday but the zoo staff and a handful of volunteers were hard at work behind the locked gates. Following last week's rain storms and flooding, there was plenty of debris to be removed and cleaning up to do around the park.

The sound of chainsaws periodically rung out in the zoo on Tuesday.  Members of the staff, as well as volunteers from a Salisbury University fraternity, were resizing and replacing landscaping logs that had washed away during last week's flooding.  The volunteers were also raking up branches, sweeping up debris, or whatever else the zoo staff asked of them.

Tyler Heward, who was one of those volunteers, said he was surprised just how much work was needed when he arrived at the zoo.

"Just the amount of erosion that the water brought from the river right behind us," Heward said. "It just flooded the whole place."

Zoo Director Ralph Piland said in talking with long-time staff members and people in Salisbury, this storm brought more water than people had ever seen before.

"It's one of the highest flood levels that we've seen. So there was a lot of water flow through the park that dislodged landscaping timbers, carried a lot of mud and debris through the park, a lot of tree material," Piland said.

Piland said the goal is to clear as many public paths through the zoo as possible so the gates can be unlocked and open to the public. Piland expects most of the zoo to be back open on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, there was some sad news to come out of the flooding in the zoo.  he zoo lost one of its alpacas.  When the waters started to rise, the zoo's gates were closed and locked and the alpacas were allowed to roam free in the park.  Piland said they found high ground and when zoo keepers checked on them Thursday night, everything was fine. However, Friday morning, one of the alpacas was found in rough shape.

"One was lying down in the water and was hypothermic.  And in fact, when we first did an exam, we couldn't get a temperature reading on her, so she was that cold," Piland said. The zoo director went on to say he is waiting on the results of the necropsy but it is believed the cold water, weather, and hypothermia were the main factors in the alpaca's death.

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