Flooding in Duluth, Minnesota, June 2012

Seal and Polar Bear Washed Away in Duluth Flooding That Drowns 11 Zoo Animals


A seal and a polar bear were washed away as flooding in Duluth, Minnesota, inundated two-thirds of the Lake Superior Zoo, drowning at least 11 animals.

About eight and a half inches of rain had fallen on Duluth by 8 a.m. on June 20, closing roads and taking out power throughout the region.

"We have 11 confirmed dead animals, most of them barnyard animals," zoo marketing director Holly Henry told msnbc.com. "Two thirds of the zoo is under water."

Drowning victims included a donkey, goats and sheep from the zoo, msnbc.com reported. The raven and vulture cages were still underwater on Wednesday afternoon, and a final casualty count had not yet been made.

The seal swam out of its exhibit, was found on a nearby street and brought back to the zoo, while the polar bear was likewise found, tranquilized and returned. No dangerous animals made it outside the perimeter fence, zoo officials said.

A citywide flash flood warning was in effect through Wednesday evening, and neighborhoods were being evacuated, MSNBC said. The mayor, Don Ness, declared a state of emergency.

Minnesota Public Radio has posted several videos of the rains and flooding. As the radio station points out, Duluth is on a hill, so there is no higher ground to run to.

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