ALEXANDRIA — Parts of Central Louisiana suffered severe damage during Laura. The Alexandria Zoo is closed because the storm damaged at least 20 habitats, forcing the zoo to send its animals to other facilities around the state.
Trees were uprooted and fences crushed all over the park.
"50-70 big large mature trees were down. [There are] at least 20 exhibits with compromised fences," Interim Zoo Director Lisa Laskoski said.
Now zookeepers from around the country are working to get it back open.
"The zoo community is pretty tight-knit. We may be all over the world, but once they heard of the damage, they started calling, offering to send people here, and they did," Laskoski added.
No animals were injured during the hurricane, but one did manage to make a short escape.
"The iguana exhibit did sustain severe damage, she did get out of that. She was only free for maybe 12 hours because green iguana, green leaves on the ground...a little hard to find her," Laskoski laughed.
Although the zoo looks a lot better than it did two weeks ago, Laskoski said it could still be weeks before it's re-opened.
"We don't know a time frame, but it's going to be a while, at least a month. There's still a lot of structural damage, decks and things that need to be repaired. So it'll be a while" she said.
The cougars habitat sustained the most damage; for now they will reside in Baton Rouge until their enclosure is fixed.