Even Zoos Are Learning the Art of Doomsday Prepping

·Author: Ellen Airhart

Staff at the Los Angeles Zoo prepared to evacuate animals as a nearby wildfire burned a portion of Griffith Park.

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

When smoke from California’s wildfires was smothering the Bay Area last month, the Oakland Zoo closed to the public. The staff worked in shifts, many of them wearing N95 face masks, monitoring how animals dealt with the smoke from the fires more than a hundred miles away.

Southern California was also dealing with wildfires and heavy smoke. In both regions, zoos had to make some tough decisions. Since Oakland has generally pleasant weather, and the zoo only houses animals that can thrive in California’s climate, it lacks large indoor holding areas. Zoo coordinators had to choose between exposing animals to the smoke or restricting their ability to roam, both of which can inflict stress. The Los Angeles Zoo decided to evacuate its birds, along with some small primates, away from the smoke from a brush fire that ignited at Griffith Park, just a little more than a mile away…