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Santa Barbara Zoo Transfers Some Animals, Prepares To Move More Because Of Thomas Fire Threat

(Santa Barbara Zoo photo)
Santa Barbara Zoo staff helps move some animals in face of Thomas brush fire threat

Tens of thousands of people faced the difficult task of deciding what they would take with them when they were evacuated as the Thomas brush fire threatened their homes.

But, what would you do if you were responsible for hundreds of animals? The Santa Barbara Zoo had to implement evacuation plans staff members thought they’d never have to use.

The Zoo was a haven last week for thousands of families looking for safe activities for kids as the Thomas Fire led to schools canceling classes.

Saturday, the advance of the fire into Montecito, Santa Barbara put the zoo into the danger zone, forcing its shutdown. Some rare California condors were moved to the Los Angeles Zoo, and a baby anteater was sent to the Fresno Zoo.

Marketing director Dean Noble says they were ready for more animal evacuations, with a number of animal created in the zoo’s education center so they could be quickly evacuated by truck. But, those evacuations weren’t needed. Noble says the animals are all safe, but they don’t know yet when the zoo will reopen.