An Australian zookeeper took home monkeys, pandas, and a tiger in order to keep them safe from bushfires
- An Australian zoo was able to save all of its animals facing threat of bushfires thanks to a zookeeper who sheltered monkeys, pandas, and even a tiger in his home.
- The Mogo Wildlife Park is located along the South Coast of New South Wales which has been severely impacted by bushfires this past week.
- The zoo houses nearly 200 endangered and exotic animals, including Sumatran tigers and southern white rhinos, and boasts the largest collection of primates in Australia.
- Chad Staples, director of the zoo, took several of the smaller animals home with him, while zookeepers felt it was safer to keep larger and more dangerous animals including lions and gorillas in their night enclosures where they would feel more comfortable.
- Staples told The Canberra Times that the scene staff faced on Tuesday morning looked like "Armageddon."
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An Australian zoo was able to save all of its animals facing threat of bushfires thanks to a zookeeper who sheltered monkeys, pandas, and even a tiger in his home.
The Mogo Wildlife Park is located along the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia and is just 10 minutes from Bateman's Bay, a popular tourist area that has been severely impacted by bushfires. The fires roaring from Bateman's Bay down through the South Coast have prompted thousands of people to evacuate and have left at least seven people dead, according to the New South Wales Police.
The zoo houses nearly 200 endangered and exotic animals, including Sumatran tigers and southern white rhinos, and boasts the largest collection of primates in Australia.
Chad Staples, director of the zoo, told the Australian Broadcasting Company that zookeepers were well-prepared to protect the animals as bushfires broke out in the region over New Year's Eve.
"Due to the amazing staff here and a well-executed plan, no one is hurt, not a single animal," he told the ABC on Tuesday.
"Any species of animal that was small enough, or was in an area we couldn't protect, we caught up," he told the ABC. "Right now in my house there's animals of all descriptions in all the different rooms with different pet packs so that they're safe and protected."
Sara Ang from the wildlife park told BBC Radio 5 that some of the smaller monkeys, red pandas, and even a tiger were moved into Staples' home.
Staples told the ABC that zookeepers felt it was safer to keep larger and more dangerous animals including lions and gorillas in their night enclosures where they would feel more comfortable as bushfires raged around them.
He added that only a few animals, including giraffes and zebras, showed signs of stress during the bushfire preparations.
"We've been sitting in a plume of smoke for weeks now, so it wasn't like today set that off worse. But yes, there were times that it got a bit tense," he told the ABC.
The zoo tweeted out photos from the bushfires on Tuesday, which showed smoke billowing out near the park grounds.
Staples told The Canberra Times that the scene staff faced on Tuesday morning looked like "Armageddon."
"The scariest thing was how fast those winds were," he said. "It got so dark it felt like it was midnight which was such a scary feeling."
He told The Times that the team on-site battled spot fires at the 65-acre park for several hours. He thanked his staff for working tirelessly to protect the animals because they "love them like their own family."
The zoo confirmed on Tuesday that every animal was "safe and in wonderful care."
According to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, 1,298 homes have been destroyed so far in the state this fire season.
According to the BBC, fires have burned more than 4 million hectares of land in New South Wales.
Ecologists from the University of Sydney have estimated that nearly 500 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have been killed in the bushfires since the season started in September.
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