Dade City zoo reports storm damage, no animals injured - WFLA News Channel 8

Dade City zoo reports storm damage, no animals injured

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Pieces of an oak tree crushed Mariah the FL Panther's cage Pieces of an oak tree crushed Mariah the FL Panther's cage
Facebook image, Wild Things zoo Facebook image, Wild Things zoo

Severe weather whipped through Dade City's Wild Things Sunday. High winds toppled trees and damaged several animal enclosures, including the Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay's new habitat.

"We're blessed that nothing got hurt, nothing got out," said Wild Things President Randy Stearns.

Stearns said the squall line passed by his family's 22-acre zoo in Dade City Sunday afternoon. Three animal enclosures were damaged by falling oak branches.

A Florida panther, named Mariah, had a close call. Nearly her entire chain link living space was crushed. Stearns said, thankfully, she wasn't injured and didn't escape from a hole, which opened up on the roof.

"We were able to get her in that to secure her. We contacted FWC to let them know what was going on," explained Stearns.

Mystery Monkey, "Cornelius", escaped injury, but his new house will have to be rebuilt after several large oak branches fell on his roof.

"We were able to secure him in his house. So he is safe. He's not going to escape again," said Stearns.

A South American raccoon's habitat was completely destroyed. Stearns said its 8-foot tall enclosure was crushed down to 3-feet. The uninjured animal was relocated on the property.

The zoo is a non-profit and Stearns is asking for public help, as they clean up and rebuild the animal enclosures. Several volunteers showed up Monday morning to help rake up debris.

Wild Things is always closed on Mondays. Stearns said if they're able to clean up most of the damage Monday, they will reopen for public tours Tuesday.

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