Mogo Zoo’s red pandas have returned to their enclosures after sheltering from Tuesday’s fierce fires in the zookeeper’s house.
Mogo Zoo’s red pandas have returned to their enclosures after sheltering from Tuesday’s fierce fires in the zookeeper’s house.

Mogo Zoo animals return to their enclosures

Mogo Zoo's red pandas returned to their own homes on Thursday morning, after sheltering from the fires in the house of the zoo's new boss Chad Staples.

The gentle pandas and other smaller animals, including monkeys, had been carried in containers into the house, in the middle of the zoo, before the fires swept through on Tuesday.

 

The flames came perilously close to Mogo Zoo on the south coast. Picture: Nine News
The flames came perilously close to Mogo Zoo on the south coast. Picture: Nine News

As the pandas relaxed back into the trees in their enclosure opposite the meerkats, police were organising an escort through the blocked-off roads around the south coast zoo to get a generator to them.

The zoo, which is home to some animals which are now extinct in the wild and other species that are threatened, has been without power since Tuesday.

The generator and fuel to run it has been donated by Kennards Hire.

"It will mean we can breathe a bit easier," Mr Staples, director of life sciences with the zoo's new owner Featherdale Wildlife Park, said.

With dangerous conditions predicted to return this weekend, Mr Staples said they believed they had enough meat and food for all the animals, but did not dare open the big freezers to check until the generator arrives.

Mogo Zoo director Chad Staples puts out a spot fire at the zoo. Picture: John Grainger
Mogo Zoo director Chad Staples puts out a spot fire at the zoo. Picture: John Grainger

"We need to know they have enough food for weeks, not just days," he said.

"It's a bit of an eerie feeling here today, it has been the worst smoke we have had," he said.

"It has been down to only about two metres (visibility)."

All of the animals, including the zoo's famous snow leopards, are back in their enclosures.

After spending all Tuesday fighting spot fires, Mr Staples said the zoo had run out of hand fire extinguishers, having gone through 20 of them, but they still had their water trucks with hoses.

Keeper Cindy McGillivray with red panda Frodo in 2009. The red pandas and other small animals took shelter in the zoo keeper’s during the worst of the fires.
Keeper Cindy McGillivray with red panda Frodo in 2009. The red pandas and other small animals took shelter in the zoo keeper’s during the worst of the fires.

Thousands of dollars has already been raised for the zoo through a GoFundMe page set up by former MP Emma Husar.

Mr Staples said it was important that anyone donating knew they did not need the money to save the animals but that it would go towards helping injured wild animals when roads opened and people could get back to the zoo again.

"This is something we want to do for the community once we are over this crisis," he said.

The nearby township of Mogo has been destroyed by the blaze.

Donate at: Mogo Zoo Fire Recovery - GoFundMe.


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