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Update to Woodland Park Zoo fire: It’s likely 6 hibernating turtles died

Woodland Park Zoo has announced that yesterday’s fire in the Night Exhibit building likely killed six hibernating turtles. While the building has been closed since 2010 due to funding issues and most of the animals moved to other exhibits and institutions, turtles hibernating in the winter were placed in a special room of the building’s basement.

 

SFD and our animal care staff worked together to evacuate over 200 animals from the adjacent Day Exhibit. Additional staff from all over the zoo helped by gathering transport crates, and bringing blankets for animals and warm jackets for staff standing outside. Evacuated animals were swiftly transported into vehicles and transferred to warm, safe locations around the zoo.

Rescued animals include reptiles, amphibians and a tree kangaroo. Our Animal Health team performed health assessments last night, and are continuing throughout the day today.

While the Night Exhibit has been closed to the public for nearly seven years and has no longer housed animals, a special room in the basement was used for turtles hibernating in the winter. Sadly, it is highly likely that six turtles hibernating in this room have perished in the fire.

Seattle Fire Department released a statement today saying two firefighters were injured, one with minor burns, the other from possible contact with an electrical panel. Both were treated and released from Harborview Medical Center.

Damage was estimated at $1.5 million dollars, but the cause of the fire could not be determined, “due to structural instability and partial collapse.”

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