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Chch zoo on lockdown after storm

Thursday 12 Sep 2013 10:45 a.m.

Orana Wildlife Park (file pic)

Orana Wildlife Park (file pic)

Christchurch's Orana Wildlife Park has been forced to close its doors indefinitely after wild winds caused widespread damage around the zoo on Tuesday night.

Zookeepers were just last week dealing with escaping apes, but now staff are dealing with a loss of power and water along with uprooted trees and damaged fences.

Park chief executive Lynn Anderson says all the animals are safe and inside their enclosures.

"The one thing I'm really pleased to report though is that all of the animals are accounted for," she says.

"All of our damage is to fences, not one of these trees actually fell on a building."

The zoo has been using holding tanks and moats to water the thirsty animals and are working with generators to get their pumps back up and running.

However it's not known when they'll open their doors again as the power lines leading to the park are severely damaged.

"The whole of the road out to the zoo needs the power lines restrung," Ms Anderson says.

"This is isn't just reconnect a couple of broken wires, there's broken poles [too]."

The wildlife park itself is also unsafe with damaged trees still posing a potential risk to the public.

"No power, no water, nothing and fundamentally it's dangerous, all trees on the park need checking as well," Ms Anderson says.

"Not just animal safety, we take public safety first too. There's no way we could consider opening until the tree damage is dealt with."

The zoo has been battling with a number of disasters over the past few years, including the Christchurch earthquakes, several snowstorms, flooding and now wild wind.

3 News / RadioLIVE

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