floods of 2002
Petr Velenský has been employed at the Prague zoo in Troja since 1981. The current curator of reptiles at the largest zoo in our country recalled for eXtra.cz the twenty-year-old floods that catastrophically affected the zoo itself. The thousand-year-old water overcame all flood prevention measures, and breeders often had to risk their own lives to save those of their animals. The photos provided by the zoo also prove this.
“I have several predominant memories of that flood,” begins Petr Velenský, curator of reptiles at the Prague Zoo, who played a relatively crucial role in the 2002 floods in the Prague Zoo. “In terms of the atmosphere, it was about when we evacuated the bats from the big turtle pavilion. We didn’t have information about what the floods would be, but the big turtles were already gone. We tried to be one step ahead of that information.” depicts an energetic nurse.
A scene like from an action movie
“We said to ourselves that kites fly, so they can’t cost that much. And then, when we arrived at the pavilion, they were left with a seventy or eighty-centimeter-high pocket in the ceiling. Finally, the pavilion was flooded up to the ceiling. The electricity no longer worked, on the rain was drumming on the roof and a helicopter was flying above us urging us to evacuate,” describes situations like from the action movie Velenský, how bats had to be dropped into the water and evacuated.
“Then, when it was all over and the animals were evacuated, we were here for a week straight, because many of us didn’t get home, we were walking on one mast of the cable car and looking at one gigantic river that was between the zoo and Letna, “ describes the breeders of the scene as from Hollywood. “Cars, cottages and the like were floating there. After our great exertion, it was quite calming, but the massiveness of the element here from the cable car mast was unreal.” he tells.
Both the hippopotamus and the elephant died
With enormous effort, it was possible to essentially minimize the damage to the animals’ lives. One of the saddest victims remains the sea lion Gaston, who sailed down the river to Hamburg, where he unfortunately died after being caught. The brave sea lion has his own monument in the zoo, and they even named a restaurant after him, as the website says Pražskyden.cz.
Vets also had to euthanize the drowning elephant Kádira, who could not be evacuated. The hippopotamus Lentilka also had to be euthanized, as she threatened to swim out of the zoo and threaten people.
The Prague Zoo survived the ravages of the flood mainly because of the incredible dedication of people like Petr Velenský. Take a look at the photos that capture the ravages of the elements and the evacuation.