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Some Zoo Animals Drown Because Of Flooding In Minnesota

Minnesota is seing the worst flooding in decades. Heavy flooding in Duluth caused the evacuations of homes and also caused the death 11 zoo animals at the Superior Zoo in Duluth.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that two seals escaped from their exhibits. MPR reports:

"The zoo's polar bear, Berlin, also escaped from her exhibit area, but Susan Wolniakowski, the zoo's director of guest services, said that 'rumors that the polar bear was out and wandering Duluth' were incorrect.

"'She did not get very far before the zookeepers found her and she was able to be tranquilized,' she said. 'She is also safe and secure and in her holding area.'

"Zoo officials are still trying to determine if other animals escaped or died in the flood, but they have not been able to reach all of the exhibits.

"'The middle of the zoo is a pond,' said zoo spokesperson Keely Johnson, who estimates that about two-thirds of the zoo remains submerged in flood waters as of noon Wednesday."

Eleven barnyard animals died. They were "just kind of swept away in the flood," Johnson told MPR.

Duluth police spokesman Jim Hansen told Reuters that the last time he had seen something like this was in 1972.

Reuters reports that the danger is not over. Five to 9 inches of rain have already fallen and a flash flood warning was "in effect for Duluth, a Lake Superior port city, and other parts of the area until 10:30 p.m. local time."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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