At least 12 individuals are dead in severe flooding that surged through the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, and residents had been being warned to keep indoors to avoid wild zoo animals set no cost by the flooding water.
Tigers, lions, bears, wolves, a wild pig and a hippo named Begi escaped their enclosures and were roaming by means of the streets of damaged capital.
Heavy rainfall triggered the river Vere, which flows via Tbilisi, to flood and sweep away buildings and vehicles, and damage roads.
A specific police unit was dispatched to the neighborhoods about the zoo to hunt for the roaming animals, whilst helicopters have been made use of to spot them.
Some animals have been re-captured, though other folks had to be killed by police not equipped with tranquilizers.
Begi, the hippopotamus seen wandering in the street, was later tranquilized and taken back to a short-term makeshift zoo. A bear named Balu was observed clinging to a building to avoid the waters below.
“We’re nonetheless not totally sure how many animals have been lost,” Mzia Sharashidze, the spokeswoman for Tbilisi’s zoo, told ABC News by telephone. “It really is a disaster. We lost three staff and extra than half of our zoo’s population.”
“The only predator animals who survived the flooding are a white lion and leopards,” she continued. “It’s like a Noah’s Ark, but unfortunately, in our case, not even half of the animals survived.
“We will not know the complete extent of the damage to the zoo until the flooding stops and we are provided a possibility to inspect and begin the cleanup process,” she mentioned.
The zoo has been portion of Tbilisi’s landscape due to the fact 1927, but it has never knowledgeable a disaster such as this.