Zoo Animals In Republic Of Georgia On The Loose After Floods

Surreal scenes on the streets of the Georgian capital

Devastating floods responsible for the death of at least 10 people
These were the surreal scenes on the streets of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, on Sunday, as wild animals were reported on the loose following devastating floods responsible for the death of at least 10 people.

Three zookeepers are believed to be among the fatalities caused by the floods, while rescue workers were also killed, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said on Sunday.

One of them, Guliko Chitadze, lost an arm after a tiger attack last month.

“All relevant services have been mobilized and everything is being done as quickly as possible to return the runaway animals,” Prime Minister Garibashvili said.

In the footage, a small bear can be seen climbing on an air conditioning unit.

What looks to be a tiger, or large cat, can also be seen.

Two penguins, a long way from home, are filmed swimming through flood waters.

Remains of a hyena were reportedly found on the premises of the Tbilisi State University.

The animal reportedly chased off a staff member who locked himself inside until the animal was shot dead. No one was reported to have been hurt by the animals, but authorities are said to be trying to recover them as fast as possible.

Garibashvili said the damage caused by the floods was “substantial” and appealed for residents to stay at home while the search for the animals continues. The city’s zoo director, Zura Gurielidze, also said the zoo has been almost completely destroyed — the animals which didn’t escape either drowned or were shot dead.

Among the animals to have succumbed to the floods was a rare white lion called Shumba, who became one of the zoo’s main attractions after the “friendship” he struck with a dog.

“It’s an unbelievable tragedy,” Gurielidze said.

Heavy rains in recent days have caused the Vere river, which runs through Tbilisi, to overflow. While eight people have been confirmed dead, many are still missing.


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