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Plumpton Park Zoo damaged in storm, community helps with clean-up

Posted at 6:17 PM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 18:17:58-04

A thunderstorm in Cecil County Wednesday afternoon passed through quickly, but left behind a mess at Plumpton Park Zoo. Four zoo enclosures were severely damaged by the storm.

The zoo put out a call for help on social media, and more than 75 volunteers were quick to respond.

“I put one post down on Facebook and we had 3,000 shares within a couple hours,” said Cheryl Lacovara, the Plumpton Park Zoo Director.

She added that within two hours of posting on Facebook, 50-plus people were on site, helping out in whatever way they could.

“They jumped in. We had moms with kids, we had local companies, we had the big guys who could actually do the construction. They just walked in and said we're here to help, give me something to do,” Lacovara said.

The list of repairs was extensive. Strong winds brought down trees, blew over fences, and toppled some structures.

RELATED: Severe thunderstorm damages Plumpton Park Zoo

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“The tiger enclosure was the enclosure that got hit the hardest. The Watusi pen was also hit, fencing went down, a horse shelter was obliterated. Thank goodness the horse was not in it. And we also had some damage at the llama enclosure,” Lacovara said.

The 30-minute storm closed down the zoo Wednesday afternoon, but with the extra hands, they opened back-up this morning.

Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, Walmart, 84 Lumber, Lowe’s, American Home & Hardware of Elkton, and Blanford’s Tree Service were just a few of the many businesses who donated supplies, food and labor.

“It's a great little zoo. It's not a big, huge place to be walking around. It's nice, it's quaint, it's cozy, kind of like a family feeling here,” said Ronald Garrison, one of the four volunteers who were assisting on behalf of ODEC.

For Lacovara and the zoo, the group effort was a big gesture for a non-profit that relies on the community's support.

“It probably would've taken our staff anywhere from three to six months to repair this damage and it would've had to be done over time if we didn't have the donations,” Lacovara said.

No people or animals were harmed in the storm and none of the animals escaped.

The zoo is also fundraising to build larger enclosures for their pair of tigers and twin bear cubs. If you’d like to donate, click here.

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