ZooMontana Reopens - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

ZooMontana Reopens

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BILLINGS -

Forecasted rain and snow has ZooMontana personnel on edge with eroding banks.

It was a mixed bag of emotions at ZooMontana on Monday with relief and frustration. Zoo staff say they're waiting a few days to really clean up the muddy mess, but zoo-goers are excited the facility is back open. Slowly but surely attendees trickled back in to see the exhibits, even though a few are still closed from flooding. The high waters left a muddy mess zoo staff are looking forward to cleaning up. "We have a lot of work ahead of us. It's nothing we can't handle. We've done it before. It will allow us to mulch some things. We'll take it in stride," ZooMontana Director, Jeff Ewelt said.

The water is receding nicely but the forecasted moisture has ZooMontana Executive Director, Jeff Ewelt Concerned about the erosion along Canyon Creek. "We'll be on watch. Someone will be here all night to make sure these waters don't rise. We'll be watching these night houses. The animals are warm and dry, so there's not much worry there. We are going to assess fences and make repairs where needed," Ewelt said.

With the winter weather affecting attendance, Jeff said the flooding is another blow to the zoo. "Knock on wood, we're rolling with punches, and we're just hoping the summer is nice and smooth. We're ready for it. We'll make it work when it comes," Ewelt said.

Despite broken fences, eroding banks and un-earthed paths, Jeff said he's hopeful the community will show their support, "It's excites us to move forward and grow the zoo, and make something the community is proud of, and I think we're getting there."

After the zoo grounds are completely dry, Jeff said he plans to recheck the exhibit's fences to ensure there's a safe barrier between zoo animals and attendees.

Jeff said zoo staff are waiting for the forecasted moisture to pass through the area before starting real cleanup. Ewelt plans to invite the community out midweek to help with the cleanup.

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