Just a couple weeks ago Brad and I spent an afternoon at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. This is a different park than the famous San Diego Zoo. The Wild Animal Park is located quite a bit North of the city and is 1800 acres. By contrast, the San Diego Zoo is 100 acres and is located downtown in Balboa Park. The Wild Animal Park is set up like a giant safari with many different species of animal roaming freely together. (Don't worry - the carnivores are housed in their own free-roaming enclosures!) It is a wonderful park, and I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.
Unfortunately, the Witch Creek Fire burned 600 acres of the park this week. Thankfully, only two animals were lost due to the stress of the evacuations - none to fire. This was mostly thanks to the staff that worked for two days to evacuate any animals that were in danger. Many of these species are endangered and the animals in the park represent a significant portion of those animals left in the world! Not to mention the fact that many of the employees themselves were evacuated from their own homes, 10 of which lost their homes all together in the fires.
Thankfully, the large portion where the animals are held was safe - mostly due to the design of the park, which keeps fire prevention in mind. Below there is a link to an article from the San Diego Union Tribune that talks about what was done to save the amimals - pretty amazing. The park is already open again. I also included some of our pictures from a couple weeks ago.
As for a fire update, life seems to be returning to normal a bit. The weather has cooled thanks to the change in wind, and we even had a cloudy day today! The fires are still burning though - they are between 20-50% contained. An unbelievable amount of acreage and homes have been lost. Now we are starting to hear the stories of people returning to their damaged or lost homes. It is all very sad. But there have also been amazing stories of the generosity throughout the city. Some evacuation sites had more donations than they could even handle. I thought that was pretty amazing.
Enjoy the pictures and the article!
Here are a couple views of the expanse of the park. If you click on the picture you can see a larger version. In the photos you'll notice various kind of animal roaming together.
A lion asleep on top of a "broken down" safari car. All you see behind him is part of the park, as well.
One of the many giraffes that came to see what our "safari" car was all about.