Zoo Miami was closed Monday after South Florida’s record rainfall flooded several of the attraction’s major exhibits, said Ron Magill, the zoo’s communication director.
“I have never, in my 36 years here, seen anything like this in December,” Magill said. “The rain just won’t give up.”
Walkways and paths are flooded at Zoo Miami, prompting the attraction’s shut-down. Zoo Miami
The zoo shut down at 11 a.m. Saturday and has not reopened since. He said a decision about reopening Tuesday has not yet been made — especially because more rain is in the forecast.
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Magill said the pathways and walkways to exhibits including Amazon and Beyond are completely underwater, making it unsafe for the animals and guests. He said the rain is so high there are fish, from a nearby lake, swimming under benches and near trees.
Animals including the lions are kept in a areas separated by moats. When the water table is down the barrier works, Magill said. But when the water level rises a lion can potentially swim across the moat and climb the wall.
“With a high water level, there is no longer a barrier,” he said. “In reality, most animals can swim.”
Magill said more rain Monday means there will likely be even more flooding.
David Ross, a meteorologist with National Weather Service, said the chances for rain in South Florida will decrease as the week goes on, but the wet weather will stick around for a few days. A flood watch was issued for Miami-Dade County through Tuesday morning, he said.
“The main threat is that we are already so saturated that any rain could cause flooding,” he said.
At nearby Miami Executive Airport, formally Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, there has been more than 13 inches of rain since Dec. 1, the wettest since the weather service began tracking it there in 1998, Ross said.