Saturday, September 03, 2005
Audubon Zoo safe - nola.com
By Michael J. Montalbanoand Jeff DuncanStaff writersLike Noah at the helm of the Arc, a weary but determined Dan Maloney stood at the gates of the Audubon Zoo on Friday and shook his head as he described the journey he and his skeleton crew of animal caretakers endured while guiding the facility's collection of 1,400 animals through Hurricane Katrina.Amazingly, only two animals were killed by the Category 4 storm, which devastated the Gulf Coast on Monday, said Maloney, the zoo's vice president and general curator. One other animal was killed in the aftermath.Maloney said the 58-acre zoo suffered little structural damage from the storm, which he called "the worst natural situation to hit" the 120-year-old institution. The biggest damage was to the trees and horticulture.Maloney and a team of about a dozen, including two security guards, are caring for and maintaining the zoo's population of more than 350 species. The zoo's normal operation numbers 30 to 40 staffers daily, he said."We feel very fortunate," Maloney said. "We're hanging in there. We did our homework. We're doing the best we can."