Post-Irma Update: White Oak gets a little help from our (animal) friends!
In the wake of Hurricane Irma’s destructive path across the southeastern US, we would like to take this time to offer our sincerest condolences to everyone that was impacted by this major storm. Our thoughts go out to you all as you recover from the storm, and we want to sincerely thank everyone that checked in with us before, during and after Irma to make sure that White Oak was OK.
We are pleased to let you know that White Oak is doing fine, and more importantly, so are our species! While Hurricane Irma did impact White Oak, we are quickly bouncing back and are excited that we will be able to host guests again this week.
As many of you know, White Oak is proud to be the stewards of several miles of riverfront ecosystems along the St. Marys River. In the early morning hours on Monday, September 11, the St. Marys River progressively swelled when its banks could no longer contain the massive amounts of rainfall and storm surge from Irma. White Oak experienced flooding along our roads (seen above left), forests, and swamps, but it has almost completely subsided.
The hurricane ride-out team (below) arrived on Sunday to brave the storm and be the first on the ground to handle any hurricane-related issues as soon as they were able on Monday morning. They chainsawed fallen trees to clear roads, put sensitive species (such as our birds) back into their habitats after riding the storm out in safer, concrete buildings, and paved the way for the response team to access White Oak on Tuesday morning to begin the bulk of the work getting White Oak back to normal. There were many trees down, but nothing major that our team couldn’t jump into action and handle! And, with the help of our large herds of browsing antelope species, like the roan antelope pictured at the top of this post, we have been making significant progress on getting back to normal. Some of our species, like our new cheetah cubs, are even enjoying playing some hide-and-seek in downed tree limbs in their habitats!
While we continue recovering from the storm, we wish all of you a safe, speedy recovery as well. If you need a little adventure to take the hurricane off your mind, come see us for a tour or an event. It’s sure to help relieve the stress of the storm! Take care!