Jacksonville Zoo and Garden prepares emergency plan ahead of Hurricane Dorian

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In the event of severe storms from Hurricane Dorian, the Jacksonville Zoo and Garden has already started preparing for the worst.

There are more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and about 1,000 species of plants at the zoo. Each animal has a designated facility to take cover during a storm.


“During the most intense parts of the storm, with all the winds and noise, they would certainly be anxious but they’re pretty resilient, and our indoor shelter areas here are substantial,” Deputy Director Dan Maloney said.

For the past week, staff has created an emergency plan. Specific employees and trainers have been selected to potentially stay at the zoo during the forecast storms.

“We always identify ride-out team members,” Maloney said. “There are people for facilities, there’s a veterinarian, certainly the animal care staff.”

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Friday, Action News Jax saw employees tying down potential debris and collecting food and water for animals and staff.

The new indoor shelters were designed with flooding in mind. Action News Jax found storm drains inside the building, elevated floors and beds, and electrical outlets at least four feet above the ground.

Maloney said they are watching the City of Jacksonville for updates and deploy the emergency plan when necessary.