Volunteers needed Wednesday to help clean Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

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Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo will be accepting volunteers starting Wednesday, January 4th at 10 a.m.

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo will accept volunteers beginning Wednesday at 10 a.m to help clean up after a strong storm swept through the area Monday afternoon. Volunteers are asked to bring work gloves, a rake and wear closed toe shoes. All volunteers must be 16 years old or older.

Donations are also accepted by visiting their website here or you can also send them gift cards to Lowes, Home Depot, True Value or Gulf Shores Builders. Donations will be used to purchase wood for fencing, new plants, trees and shrubberies, tin roofing, wire and fencing, and caging material.

Volunteers are asked to wait and show up on Wednesday because there will be heavy duty tree equipment at the zoo on Tuesday.

To send the your donations click here.


Officials say the Gulf Coast Zoo will be closed for at least a week but all animals are accounted for and are safe.

When the severe weather began, employees locked the park down and got inside the main building for cover.

A severe storm then ripped up trees and threw them into exhibits, nearly destroyed bird cages and it tore down fences.

Zookeepers at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo were comforting their animals, all of which rode out the terrifying weather Monday afternoon.

Patti Hall, Director of the Gulf coast zoo, says numerous exhibits were damaged by either falling trees or high winds.

"It just basically almost came out of nowhere," said Hall.

Lions were inside of their night house at the time part of it was crushed by a large tree.

Several birdcages were blown into a pond and the animals inside climbed to the top to survive.

"We were able to save the birds. The keepers swam in and got them out of the cages," Hall said, "We can account for a lot of our animals, but they're under a lot of stress. They've been rained on and wind blown."

Zoo workers spent hours cleaning up what they could before nightfall and locals helped the zoo put up a wall to replace a broken exterior fence.

But zoo wasn't the only victim.

Grant Brown with the city of Gulf Shores says numerous trees as well as light poles were knocked down and several businesses suffered severe damage.

"Our biggest concern we have is there are still power lines down across the roadways. Our EMC is working to remove those but if you see them, don't drive over or touch them. Call the police department," said Brown.

Zoo officials say that this is the worst damage they've seen in years and actually comparable to the damage they suffered in Hurricane Ivan.

The zoo could be closed at least a week or longer.

If you'd like to help, volunteers are needed at the zoo on Wednesday.