Zoo: Animals safe from Hurricane Sandy

BALTIMORE - Officials with the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore say the animals are safe as Hurricane Sandy whips closer to the area, bringing heavy rain and damaging winds up to 90 miles per hour.

Jane Ballentine, spokesperson for the zoo, says concerns at the zoo about the birds in the African aviary were alleviated yesterday as all the birds were safely placed in their winter holding barns.

Overnight, the penguins will be locked indoors and all other animals have been taken to their nighttime holding areas, cleaned and fed.

Ballentine said Saturday that the process of removing the birds from the aviary would be "controlled chaos." Rounding up the birds, she said, isn't as simple as blowing a whistle or beating on a drum. To bring in the rhinos, for example, zoo officials beat on a tambourine.

As far as animal instinct in regard to the arrival of the storm, Ballentine said most of the animals should be calm and comfortable as they will be in their normal indoor homes. The elephants, she says, are probably the most likely to respond in a defensive way to the storm.

"You just have to keep their routine going and stay calm," she said. "You really have to maintain your composure around them, that helps." ( MORE )

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