Zookeepers Shoot Bison Trapped in Floodwaters

Remnants of Tropical Storm Lee continue to pound Northeast
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2011 7:28 AM CDT
Hersheypark's ZooAmerica: Zookeepers Shoot Bison Trapped in Floodwaters
The off ramp to route 322 East in Hershey Pa. was severely damaged by the excessive rain fall Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011.   (AP Photo/Daniel Shanken)

(Newser) – As the floodwaters rose in Pennsylvania’s Hersheypark ZooAmerica, zookeepers made a tough—and controversial—choice: Rather than let two American bison drown while trapped in their pen, zookeepers shot both. Though other zoo animals were evacuated, officials say no one anticipated how quickly the floodwaters would rise, and that euthanization was the most humane choice. But across cyberspace, angry commenters wondered why the zoo, which had two days to prepare, did not evacuate the bison earlier, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. USA Today adds that the floods currently overwhelming the Northeast are the worst in nearly 40 years.

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Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, two buildings collapsed in the Philadelphia suburbs, and flooding is expected to continue in that area and perhaps get worse, the Inquirer notes. Meanwhile, three more people, including a 12-year-old boy swept away while playing in his backyard, died in flash floods as torrential rains also hit the DC region, the Washington Post reports. Major highways have been shut down, schools and government buildings closed, trains halted, and hundreds forced to evacuate as rain fell there, sometimes as quickly as four inches an hour. A Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson calls the flooding “unprecedented.” The AP reports that a total of 11 deaths have been blamed on Tropical Storm Lee. (Read more flash floods stories.)

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