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GLEN ROSE (CBS 11 NEWS) – On Tuesday, tourists hit the trails at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. They watched in awe as Grevy’s Zebra walked right up to their cars.
“If you notice the stripes don’t go down to the belly,” explains Warren Lewis, Marketing Director at the Wildlife Center.
It would be difficult for visitors like Yue Hou to notice anything was amiss. “Enjoying the wildlife. The Texas life!” she remarks while out on her safari.
But just a day earlier, the 1800 acre wildlife center was closed to the public.
“This is one of the bunk houses that was destroyed,” Lewis said, as he demonstrates the damage left by Sunday’s storms. Powerful winds ripped the roof right off, leaving debris scattered everywhere. “This is one of our air conditioned and heated bunk houses, so we’re going to do quite a bit of work to get it back in operating order,” he added.
Downed trees and limbs blocked roads prevented tours Monday. Power was not fully restored until a day later. Seventy-five mph winds from the tornado that struck down near Glen Rose may have left their mark.
The non-profit wildlife center operates 100-percent from tourism. Shutting down for even a day means they took a big hit. “It cost us quite a bit because we weren’t able to generate any revenue for operations,” says Lewis. On Monday, it was all hands on deck for cleanup. “We had every single staff member out to cut trees and clear the roads,” he said.
The severe weather did provide a treat for the resident giraffes, who could be seen eating the leaves from trees that they didn’t need to crane their necks to reach. Lewis said, “They enjoy all that fresh shrubbery out there.”
Fortunately, the animals and staff that live on the massive property were spared. Children’s Zoo Supervisor Amber Wiedman said, “They are braver and smarter than us and get out of the way.”
“We’ve raised our animals in groups and herds and flocks. There’s a social dynamic from groups and herds and flocks, and because of that the older ones know where to go in times like this,” Lewis explains.
Instinct took over. Endangered species, thriving here another day.
Tourist Zechen Dong says the center is the, “Best zoo in the USA!”
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