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As people evacuate before the hurricane, animals from the zoo to the inside

This photo is made available by the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, N. C., shows a zoo employee to observe the flamingos to be ushered in with a concrete shelter in advance of Hurricane Florence, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. (Diane Villa/North Carolina Zoo via AP)

If 1.7 million people were urged to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Florence, the workers at the North Carolina Zoo, try to figure out what to do with some 1600 animals.

The staff at the 500-acre zoo near Asheboro as a matter of urgency Wednesday to move elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees and hundreds of other species in order to protect them from the storm predicted to formidable winds and heavy rain.

Spokeswoman Diane Villa said that some of the larger animals such as bison and elk — in the fenced-in yards, because they don’t like in a fully-closed spaces.

But many other animals are kept in stables.

A crew of zookeepers, veterinarians and park rangers will ride out the storm with the animals.

The zoo is located approximately 75 miles west of Raleigh, has 500 acres reserved for the animals, making it the world’s largest walk-through natural habitat zoo, Villa said.

The animals usually have plenty of space to roam, but as the storm approached, they were moved to a more restricted habitats.

“Most of the animals, they know how to take care of themselves,” Villa said. “We are concerned about accommodated within.”

That includes two chimpanzees with the name Ruthie and Nori needed to take medication on a regular schedule. Two zookeepers will stay close to the animals to ensure that they get their medication on time.

The zoo staff also planned to move 33 kennels housing of birds, including vultures, sun conures, owls, parrots, and a condor.

The employees in four separate buildings.

“We bring out cots and air mattresses,” Villa said. “We are just getting ready to take shelter with the animals.”

The zoo is scheduled to be closed until Friday.

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For the latest news on Hurricane Florence, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes .

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