Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Those who were left behind

How are animals faring in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? As this report points out, most of the zoo animals have weathered the storm. Two sea otters died of stress; some waterfowl, and an alligator, were missing. Not only the zoo animals, but the zoo staff's own animals seem to be fine.

Chicago's Lincoln Zoo is coming to the aid of the Audubon Zoo and the aquarium in New Orleans:
Officials say fish are dying by the hundreds and some otters have died. A white alligator and a black vulture are missing, but the elephants, orangutans and rhinoceroses have fared relatively well.

A skeleton staff of about 12 people, instead of the usual 200, has remained around the clock, feeding and tending to the animals. The American Zoo and Aquarium Association announced a national fundraising initiative headed by the Lincoln Park Zoo. People can donate through the Lincoln Zoo website.
Pets, however, are not doing as well. There are thousands of abandoned pets in the city. Some have formed packs and are foraging in the streets; others are still locked inside houses:
"It's just overwhelming," said Laura Maloney, the executive director of the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "There are countless thousands of abandoned pets in the city. And hundreds and hundreds are stuck inside their homes."

Maloney said she had been bombarded with calls from evacuated residents who left pets in their homes. Many people were forced to abandon pets because they weren't allowed to take them on evacuation buses.

For the past few days, about 10 volunteers have been going to addresses where people left animals and are breaking in to save them, Maloney said.

Not everyone in New Orleans left pets behind. Lalande refuses to evacuate without his dog, Charlie, and his cats, Miranda and Babettes. "I've never cried in my life, but the saddest thing in the world is when all night long you hear dogs crying; big dogs, little dogs, medium dogs," said Lalande, 62. "People left thinking they'd be gone two or three days, but now they can't come back and their pets are starving. Tomorrow, I'm breaking in and feeding dogs."
One more effort for animals.

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