How to help the New Orleans Zoo and Aquarium after hurricane

How to help the New Orleans Zoo and Aquarium in hurricane aftermath

How to help the New Orleans Zoo and Aquarium after hurricane

September 5, 2005
[9:49 am PDT update]

Sept 9 Update: Surviving animals moved from aquarium

Despite escaping Hurricane Katrina relatively unscathed, the zoo and aquarium facilities in New Orleans could use donations to help with the feeding and care of their animals.

The American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) has set up a online donation site at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Funds raised will be distributed by the Executive Committee of the AZA Board of Directors.

Facilities update

The Audubon Nature Institute, which administers the Audubon Zoo, the Aquarium of the Americas, the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, reports that animal facilities held up well during the hurricane. Loss of animal life was limited to a pair of river otters at the zoo and a whooping crane at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species (ACRES). A crocodile is still unaccounted for at the zoo.

Duing the storm, staff took refuge in the reptile house at the zoo, which suffered little physical damage besides a number of fallen trees. Dan Maloney, general curator at the Audubon Zoo, reports that the zoo’s staff is doing well and the biggest current concern is the psychological impact of the low flying helicopters on zoo animals.

The zoo reportedly has enough food for animals and sufficient fuel to keep generators running. The facility was quite well prepared for the hurricane.

Meanwhile the aquarium, which held up physically during the hurricane, has lost more than one-third of its 4000 fish due to failing air pumps which normally oxygenate the tanks. Late last week the staff was evacuated from the facility due to mounting violence in the area.

Jane Ballentine, a spokeswoman for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, said “It’s very difficult to get information still about what is happening [at the aquarium]. We’re trying to establish a safe route to bring in more supplies. Once there is a route open to us, we’ll be able to mobilize and get them what they need.”

Special thanks to Lorien Shaw for assistance in preparing this update.


If you want to help in any way, please visit


    Global Wildlife Center 2:23 PDT 04-Sep

    The Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, Louisiana, home to over 3,000 exotic, endangered, and threatened animals from all over the world, posted the following on their web site on Saturday September 3, 2005: “Global Wildlife will remain closed to the public until further notice. All of our animals are doing great and we only had minor damage from falling trees. However due to the lack of electricity and fuel in the area; we are unable to open back up to the public at this time. If you wish to make a donation, please click here

    Outside Louisiana, the AZA reports that

    • the Jackson Zoo (Mississippi) suffered very slight building damage and has about 35 trees down. No staff or animal losses reported, The zoo has power and may open in a week.
    • the Montgomery Zoo had fallen trees, but suffered no animal losses.
    • the Birmingham Zoo had fallen trees, but suffered no animal losses.
    • The Marinelife Oceanarium in Gulfport, Miss., suffered major storm damage to the building and injuries to some animals (more).

    Baton Rouge Zoo

    Lots of downed trees, but no staff or animal losses. The zoo has power and is assisting the zoo and aquarium facilities in New Orleans.

Other ways to help animals in New Orleans

If you have further information on the condition of the aquarium and related facilities, please contact me

Other resources:

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