FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Fort Worth Zoo delayed their opening until noon on Thursday, after hailstorms killed several animals.
Zoo spokesperson Alexis Wilson said veterinarians were treating a few animals at the hospital, but that a several fowl were killed by falling hailstones. “Five flamingos, a pelican and a couple of other small birds. So, it was a difficult morning to come in and discover those things,” she said. “But we also have a park that was covered in with ice.”
Wilson said injuries to the surviving animals are not considered serious. “We did have a few birds injured, they are over in our hospital. We do have an animal hospital on premises. Some of them were just a little stunned, probably had gotten hit by hailstones.”
Damage at the zoo could be seen on the ground and from the air. The pathway leading to the front of the elephant exhibit was nearly completely covered with hailstones. Hail mounds up to almost a foot greeted workers at the exit from the Zoo Museum of Living Art (MOLA).
Numerous skylights throughout the Zoo were damaged, in addition to roofs of buildings and vehicles belonging to employees and the park.
Workers at the park had to check on and care for animals, as well as clear pathways littered with hail. Before allowing visitors inside, officials said they would open the Zoo as soon as they could, but that the “safety of our guests and employees is our first concern.”
Zoo visitors had no intention of letting the weather impact their plans, but the delayed opening meant hundreds of people lined up outside the park. The Fort Worth Zoo did meet their deadline and opened the gates right about noon. Every part of the Zoo, including the bird exhibit, was open to visitors.
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