The massive flooding caused by torrential rains in northeastern Minnesota overnight wreaked havoc at the Lake Superior Zoo, where several animals died and a polar bear escaped its enclosure in the high water.
Berlin, the zoo’s polar bear, made it out of her exhibit, but did not wander far before zoo officials were able to tranquilize her and get her to quarantine at the zoo’s animal care center.
“Even though it’s a large white object, it’s pretty nerve racking,” said police spokesman Jim Hansen, whose department helped in the search for the bear.
Berlin was not the only animal on the run following the flood. Two harbor seals escaped their exhibit, but were eventually caught and taken to the animal care center.
Other animals were not as lucky. The zoo says six sheep, four goats and a miniature donkey died in the flood. A raven and a turkey vulture are still unaccounted for, and the zoo presumes they too perished.
“[The] entire staff is devastated,” said Peter Pruett, the zoo’s director of animal management.
“Our hearts are broken and we very much appreciate your kindness and compassion,” the zoo said in a statement on its Facebook page. “We assure you we are continually working to maintain the safety and well-being of our beloved animals.”
Zoo spokeswoman Keely Johnson told ABC News that by 8 a.m. the situation was under control.
“We have removed all the animals that are in danger from their exhibits and brought them up to our animal care center and placed them in quarantine,” she said. “We have put our large carnivores in their holding areas in their exhibits so they aren’t able to get out on exhibit.”
Read more on ABC News.