Chehaw's Zoo ready to re-open - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Chehaw's Zoo ready to re-open

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

January 8, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - All parts of the Parks at Chehaw will open Friday morning.

The zoo was closed Wednesday and Thursday after tropical storm force winds blew through early Wednesday.

Crews worked hard all day to clean up the mess and get the park back to normal.

The damage from an early morning storm Wednesday left a big mess at Chehaw's Wild Animal Park.

Chainsaws made quick work of some of the down trees and limbs.

"We started cleaning out the roads and trails so we could maneuver," said Ben Kirkland, Chehaw Operations Manager.

High winds brought oak trees tumbling down damaging fences.

On Thursday afternoon, most of the walkways which were covered were cleared.

"We concentrated on the public areas once we made sure the animals were safe," said Kirkland.

The quick response will ensure the zoo at the park opens on Friday morning.

"The zoo crew came in they couldn't even walk down the trails, the zoo trails were covered up in several places from the trees and from the debris," said Kirkland.

The elk enclosure and a boardwalk at the zoo will not see visitors until it's repaired.

"We're going to have to take down the elk fence to be able to get in there to them and then drag those out and may end up damaging the board walk even more," said Kirkland.

Open areas saw most of the damage but luckily no animals were injured.

"It seems to be a straight line wind force that came through a fairly narrow section of the zoo," said Kirkland.

As they prep for normal operations of Friday, work still remains to clean a few other hard to reach areas.

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