Zookeepers carried drenched koalas to safety and used a broom to stop alligators from escaping their lagoon in dramatic footage filmed as flash floods hit New South Wales in Australia on Friday.
A torrential downpour brought a temporary reprieve from the searing heat that has been exacerbated by the bushfires burning across the state and country since September.
But the rain turned pathways into rivers at the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, some 70 kilometres north of Sydney, forcing the park’s closure for the day as staff rescued animals and cleaned up the damage.
Check out the footage here:
In a Facebook post, the park said the “incredibly heavy” yet “much needed” rainfall had resulted in floods like “we haven’t seen for over 15 years!”
The facility had been “overwhelmed” with offers of help, it wrote in another post. “The team and I have been working in fire affected areas these last months and now flood……. What’s next?!!!” it said, noting that all animals are safe and accounted for.
Park director Tim Faulkner revealed how “just last week, we were having daily meetings to discuss the imminent threat of bushfires” only five miles away.
“The contrast between the current bushfire crisis and this sudden flooding is striking,” he told SBS. “But we are well-aware that a huge part of Australia is still burning, and millions of animals are still under threat. The rain doesn’t replace the millions of hectares of habitat that has been lost over the last few months.”
The park re-opened Saturday with a message of thanks to its “hard working and passionate staff who have not stopped until our park looked as good as new.”