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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 19:44 GMT 20:44 UK
New Orleans zoo survives Katrina
Giraffes at New Orleans zoo

Nearly all of the New Orleans zoo's 1,400 animals have survived Hurricane Katrina, zoo officials say.

Two otters died at the Audubon Zoo, curator Dan Maloney said.

The zoo is at one of the highest points in the city so the flood levels did not reach them. Officials said they had planned for years for a major storm.

Twelve members of the zoo's staff stayed to ride out the storm, which felled trees and ripped off branches in the grounds.

"They are a stubborn lot, zoo people," Julie Balentine from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association told the BBC.

"They care greatly for their animals, and feel that the responsibility they have is one they take to heart."

Lost alligator

The zoo had laid in enough food to keep its animals alive for days, Mr Maloney told Reuters.

We stayed here because the animals can't leave
Dan Maloney
Curator

He said that some animals went missing after the storm hit, but he stressed that all were accounted for, except for an alligator.

"I'm sure the alligator will return too," Mr Maloney told AFP news agency.

He said the human suffering outside the zoo's fence was a tragedy, but he was grateful he and his staff managed to save the animals.

"We stayed here because the animals can't leave," he said.

Thousands of people are estimated to have been killed in the flooded city.


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See how the animals survived Hurricane Katrina



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