Jerusalem Zoo Flamingos Killed by Storm

Peccaries and other birds also reported dead at Biblical Zoo, shelter remains without power.

Mordechai I. Twersky
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Mordechai I. Twersky

The snow storm that wreaked havoc in the country over the past three days also took its toll on Jerusalem’s animal population.

Two flamingos at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo were killed by a falling date tree, says Sigalit Herz, zoo spokeswoman. Other casualties included two peccaries and a number of birds at the zoo’s marsh aviary.

“All of our large animals are in heated spaces,” said Herz, who noted that zookeepers transferred its collection of tortoises to a warm location. The zoo remained closed Sunday, as workers removed fallen trees that littered a number of roads and access routes throughout the sprawling, 62-acre complex, according to Herz. It plans to reopen to the public Monday.

A shelter housing 400 cats and dogs at the Atarot-based Jerusalem Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been without power since Thursday, but no casualties have been reported, according to Chaya Beili, manager of the shelter. The society has been resorting to Facebook to secure volunteers with 4x4 vehicles who can navigate the snow-blocked roads to the site and feed the animals there, according to Beili.

“Phone calls to the shelter have increased by 100%,” said Beili, who said residents mainly call to report lost pets or to donate blankets to the shelter’s animals. “I have been on the phone non-stop.” With snow having penetrated the shelter and knocking down its fences, according to Beili, a decision to transfer the animals to foster care is pending.

Asked to estimate the loss of life to street cats throughout the snow-covered city, Beili said it was doubtful that kittens could survive the extreme elements. But she said adult cats were mostly likely to find adequate hiding places and ride out the storm.

Persons wishing to come to the aid of the animals at the shelter may reach Beili at: 054-770-0221.

A black swan and flamingos in their snow-covered enclosure in Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo in January 2013. This time the storm was even worse for the animals.Credit: Reuters

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