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Roosevelt Park Zoo reflects on 2011 flood

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 5:32 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – Ten years ago, at this time, the Roosevelt Park Zoo along with most of the City of Minot was completely underwater.

Staff had to take into account not only their own safety but also the safety of their animals.

Staff at the Roosevelt Park Zoo worked for 36 hours to evacuate more than 150 animals.

“We had prepared for it because we knew that if we had to relocate the animals we would have to have provisions,” said Zoo Curator Brandi Clark.

Clark said it was only due to volunteers and help from zoos all over the country that they were able to relocate all of the animals to safety.

“The great part is within the Zoo community, several other Zoos, Dakota Zoo, Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton, reached out to us and basically said ‘We’re on our way! Whatever we can do to help,” said Clark.

Clark said she’ll never forget returning three weeks later to an empty zoo.

“That was probably the hardest thing, you get so used to hearing the kids laughing and talking, and there was nothing here, nothing. It was just so surreal,” said Clark

The Zoo was able to reopen fully two years later in 2013 with 80% of the animals brought back.

“We had wonderful volunteers that showed up every day to help us with it so it took a little bit of time and a lot of hard work but here we are today,” said Clark.

The zoo has continued to expand since then, most notably with the big cat habitat additions. And they have more work to be done, including expanding their Amur Leopard exhibit.

Continuing to move forward while remembering the past.

The zoo currently has their flood response history on display just inside the main gate for visitors to learn more about how they were able to adapt during the flood.

The zoo will celebrate its centennial in August.

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