Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Better Days at Tbilisi Zoo

Sunday morning, Richard and I both received the oddest of text messages at little after 7 in the morning.

Uh...okay, that will make you open your eyes fast. Unfortunately, we don't subscribe to cable here (since only Mason would be able to understand some of the Russian and nobody would understand the Georgian), so it was hard to really find out what was going on. I did find this YouTube video of the destruction. From my understanding, there was a bad thunderstorm that triggered a landslide. The debris from the landslide hindered the Vera creek's ability to handle all the rainwater....hence massive flooding. As of now, there are 12 deceased people, 20 missing, and half of the Zoo's 600 animals were lost.

This article has a number of photos of the loss as well.

I drove through this tunnel last week! (Photo from Tbilisi City Hall Facebook page...they have a ton of photos on their webpage....the out pouring of donations and manual labor to help with the destruction is remarkable).

Tbilisi City Hall Photo

The hippo became quite the sensation showing up on the news around the world (seen in Washington DC, Missouri, and Iowa to name a few). A number of news outlets have posted this photo of Tbilisi's now famous hippo. This short video shows the hippo happily at home again in the last minute or so.

AP Photo/Tinatin Kiguradze

At the end of April, Clarissa's class took a field trip to the zoo (I also took the kids one day last summer). While it was small, they had a good variety of animals. So I thought I would share some of the photos Clarissa's preschool teachers took of the kids at the zoo (you can also get an idea as to how easily the animals were able to get loose) and it is a better way to remember them than lying dead among the debris.

Clarissa's favorite animals were the penguins. I've read (don't know how accurate it is) that only 6 of the 17 penguins survived.

* Update: I read here that one of the penguins swam 60 km and made it to the Azerbaijan border! How funny!

 One of the bears.
Another bear. 
Not sure if this is the same crocodile shown swimming in the streets. 
The hippo at home before the floods.
One of the wild dogs.
More lions.
I haven't heard anything about the elephants. That makes me sad.
I am at a loss for what else to say. The city is working hard to get Hero's square (huge traffic circle) opened back up. From what I've heard, a normal 20 minute drive to/from downtown is taking closer to 2 hours due to all the road closures forcing all the traffic onto a couple roads. With school getting out today, we will likely avoid downtown until after we return from R&R to just help alleviate some traffic congestion because we can get most of what we need in our area.

1 comment:

  1. Heartbreaking, isn't it. We've been thinking about you all and hoping you were dry and safe. Hopefully Tbilisi will get through this soon and people's lives and the surviving zoo animals can get better quickly.