Duluth zoo's Berlin, Vivian and Feisty on another trip — this time to St. PaulThree animals that lost their homes when a flash flood swept through the Lake Superior Zoo are finding safe haven in St. Paul.
By: Elizabeth Mohr, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Three animals that lost their homes when a flash flood swept through the Lake Superior Zoo are finding safe haven in St. Paul.
Berlin the polar bear and two harbor seals arrived Thursday morning at Como Park Zoo.
Berlin will make her new home in Polar Bear Odyssey, Como’s new state-of-the-art, 16,000-square foot facility for the large arctic carnivores.
But the 23-year-old bear will not immediately be visible to the public, said zoo spokesman Matt Reinartz.
She will remain in quarantine for 30 days, typical for polar bear transfers, before joining the Como bears, Buzz and Neil.
The seals — 20-year-old half-sisters Vivian and Feisty — will be placed in the zoo’s Aquatic Building alongside Sparky the sea lion, penguins, puffins and other aquatic animals. They will be on public display, Reinartz said.
Como Park Zoo officials reached out to Lake Superior Zoo on Wednesday after reports of damages caused by torrential rainfall and flooding.
“We contacted them and asked if there was anything we could do,” Reinartz said. “We were in communication all day Wednesday, and then late afternoon, it was determined it was in the best interest of the animals that we go up and get them and make a temporary home for them.”
The Duluth animals won’t be the first to find refuge in St. Paul after being displaced by flooding.
The zoo houses two brown bears and a grizzly bear from Minot, N.D., which arrived last year after the Souris River flooded and forced an evacuation of the Roosevelt Zoo.
“We’re no strangers to helping flooded zoos,” Reinartz said.
It’s unclear how long the latest guests will stay at the Como Park Zoo, Reinartz said. The focus now is on the animals’ well-being and allowing “our friends at Lake Superior Zoo to get back on their feet,” he said.
Details — including the cost — will be worked out later, he said.
The Duluth animals escaped briefly from their exhibits when rising waters flooded the facilities Wednesday. The bear was found near its enclosure and tranquilized. The seals made it farther — one reached nearby Grand Avenue. All three were removed to a safe area of the zoo.
Shortly after news of the animals’ escape broke, they became social media darlings, and an image of Feisty on the lam went viral. Twitter accounts were created for Berlin and Feisty — @DuluthPolarBear and @DuluthZooSeal — with cheeky posts purportedly from the animals.
One tweet from Feisty said: “Road trip! Too bad we didn’t make it to @comozoo until after bar close. Would have ordered a shrimp cocktail.”
And one from Berlin said: “I can not confirm or deny rumors that reason for my escape was to see Madagascar 3.”
Zoo officials said the Twitter accounts were not their doing, and they weren’t sure who was behind them.