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Pasco Tribune

Pasco storm damages Mystery Monkey, panther cages

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Published:   |   Updated: March 26, 2013 at 10:18 AM
DADE CITY -

A severe storm knocked down several trees at Dade City’s Wild Things on Sunday afternoon, damaging the cages of the Mystery Monkey and a Florida panther.

None of the animals were injured, according to zoo director Kathy Stearns.

The zoo is closed today, and Stearns said she was not sure if it would be ready to reopen on Tuesday.

The Mystery Monkey, who now goes by the name Cornelius, was moved to a lockdown house. The chain-link cage of the panther, named Mariah, was compromised when trees fell on it.

Stearns said the panther could have escaped, but stayed in the cage until workers could move it to another area.

“We got very lucky. Very blessed,” she said.

Stearns said three of the enclosures will have to be replaced. She estimated the damage as “definitely in the thousands.”

The habitat of a coatimundi, a mammal in the raccoon family, also was destroyed. She said the 8-foot tall enclosure was crushed by a large tree, and the animal also was relocated to another enclosure.

The cages of an iguana and several birds were also damaged.

“It was definitely a tornado,” Stearns said of the storm. “We have trees down everywhere.”

Also, two Siberian tiger cubs were born during the storm. “It was quite eventful,” she said.

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