Jungle Island, Zoo Miami Survive Irma; Both Closed For 2 Months

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The roughly 600 monkeys, birds and other animals at Miami’s Jungle Island made it through Hurricane Irma just fine.

But the park sustained a lot of tree damage.

The park’s managing director Christopher Gould tells the Miami Herald the tree damage was worse than in Hurricane Andrew.

“We have weeks of work ahead of us to overcome this type of damage,” he said, unsure of when the park will reopen. He says workers are still estimating the damage.

After Hurricane Andrew, the park — which was then called Parrot Jungle — suffered nearly $5 million in damage and was closed for three weeks.

The animals rode out the storm secured in hurricane-proof enclosures. Gould says there were specialists on hand to help the animals deal with the stress. All of the animals were back in their habitats by Monday.

Zoo Miami avoided structural damage but Irma left it a mess.

“Here’s the bottom line, it was a rebuilding effort. That is huge,” said spokesman Ron Magill. “This is a rebuilding effort, that’s what this is. And there’s a big difference.”

A handful of birds died in the stresses of being transferred.

“We didn’t lose a single mammal,” Magill added. “All the mammals, even the baby anoa, baby giraffe, that were just a few days old, they thrived, they’re doing well. The animals protected themselves well, we protected the animals well. The bottom line is we’re safe, the overwhelming majority of animals are safe. Yes, we lost a handful of birds. But God, it could have been so much worse.”

Both Jungle Island and Zoo Miami expect to be close for two months while they recover.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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