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Bomb threat evacuates Louisville zoo

by John Jefferson
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Dozens of people were evacuated from Louisville Zoo in Kentucky after a bomb threat was made to the park, but has since been given the “all-clear.”

The staff of the Kentucky-based zoo received a threat of a bomb at around 8.47am on Friday before it was open to the public, the zoo said in a statement.

The zoo staff were going about their usual daily morning routine getting ready for the day, setting up the park and tending to the animals awaiting the guests and the school groups to arrive, when they were alerted of the threat.

“We had to stop all that and get people to safe spots,” Dan Maloney, the zoo’s director told WLKY in an interview after the incident.

He explained that people working on the zoo’s switchboard received the call, and alerted all the staff around the park.

Mr Maloney praised all the employees at the zoo for reing calm during the incident.

“Everybody responded extremely well, everybody stayed calm, and our person at the front desk took it in stride and made sure that we moved quickly,” he told the outlet.

Employees, contractors and members of a walking club were all evacuated from the site and waited at the nearby Joe Creason Park while the Louisville Metro Police Department investigated, the zoo said.

The authorities were able to give the “all-clear” to zoo staff at around 10.45am after they conducted a sweep alongside zoo officials and “nothing was located,” the police department told WDRB.

The zoo said they reopened the park at noon, returning to their normal day.

The zoo director told WLKY that they “really, really appreciate all the help” of the authorities who responded to their threat, who were able to clear the area in a matter of hours, despite the zoo spanning 130 acres and housing more than 1,100 animals.

“I didn’t have any sense of what time it would take,” Mr Maloney said. “This is my first experience with a bomb threat; I hope it’s the last; it’s just one of those unfortunate artefacts of times that were in.”

He added that his employees drill for all types of scenarios and emergencies.

The threat came in before the zoo was open to the public, so there were only a limited amount of people at the site at the time to be evacuated.

School field trips to the zoo were contacted and have been rescheduled for another day, the zoo’s statement read.

It has already been a turbulent few weeks for the zoo, after they lost their beloved orangutan Teak, after he was euthanised following years of battling heart disease, local reports say.

Teak was loved by staff and visitors to the zoo, but his condition started to deteriorate and progressed into cardiac failure, prompting the very tough decision to euthanise him.

Opening in 1969, the zoo has served as one of the most popular family attractions and is known for working with endangered species and keeping botanical gardens.

The Louisville Metro Police Department said their investigation into the threat is ongoing.



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