Hail Storm at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

August 15, 2018

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Hail Recovery Update

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs suffered a catastrophic hailstorm on August 6, resulting in the deaths of five animals, injuries to multiple people and an incredible amount of destruction to the zoo. Videos from visitors spread across social media and the news, showing enormous ice chunks hammering into buildings, cars and those unfortunate enough to be caught in the open when the storm unleashed. After a four-day closure to repair damage, care for the animals and remove disabled cars from the zoo parking lot, the zoo reopened on August 11. As one of the most-loved attractions in the Pikes Peak region, many people have expressed concern over the recovery efforts still to come. Here’s what we know so far:

Animals Injured by the Hailstorm are Recovering

While zoo animals have access to shelter, the size and speed of the storm’s hail was completely unexpected. As such, many animals were injured as they sought cover or panicked in the storm’s chaos. The zoo sadly reported the loss of a vulture, a peacock, a peahen, a meercat pup, and a Muscovy duck during the storm. The loss of those animals has been painful for the staff members, who build strong relationships with the animals in their care. Many of the zoo’s other 750 animals escaped with only minor injuries or no injuries at all. The zoo has reported that injured animals are on the mend, with several taken off the medical concern list. A Rocky Mountain goat named Twinkie remains under the watchful eye of the vets and is improving.

Zoo Infrastructure is Being Cleaned Up and Repaired

It took four straight days of dedicated clean-up to get the zoo safe and accessible to guests. In a recent Gazette article, it was noted that the extended closure was the longest in the zoo’s existence — the zoo is normally open 365 days a year. Skylights were shattered, trees and plants were pummeled and many different parts of the zoo’s décor, signage and infrastructure were damaged or destroyed. As of publication, the cost of the damage to the zoo was still being assessed. It has been estimated that the four-day closure cost the zoo more than half a million dollars. The parking lot, which was filled with broken glass, car pieces and tree branches, was also cleaned up and the last of the damaged vehicles on zoo property were removed on August 14.

How You Can Help the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Hail Relief Efforts

Many in the Colorado Springs community have offered to volunteer or asked how they can help the zoo. While the zoo is not requesting volunteers at this time, it has mentioned that it may put out a request for help in the future.

While the loss of animal life is deeply saddening, the Colorado Springs community and fans of the zoo from all over the world have been thankful that the toll this has taken on the zoo was not greater. And in closing, we know one more way you can help the zoo — visit! Your admission makes a difference and you get to have a great day out with the family. Next time you’re wondering what to do with your day, show the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and its incredible staff a little love. They could really use it.

Related Articles