Hurricane Irma Recovery

While generous donations helped to rebuild exhibits and structures in a few months, the winds of Hurricane Irma removed decades of growth inside the botanical garden in just a few hours – including two nearly century-old specimens planted by gardens founder Dr. Henry Nehrling. 

Recovery was expedited by a tremendous team effort between staff and volunteers   –  and even crews coming from as far away as Kansas City  Zoo, Oklahoma City Zoo, Sedgwick County Zoo, St Louis Zoo, and Topeka Zoo. Naples Zoo also received wonderful support from other zoos sending needed equipment, checks in the mail, and even online donors who purchased items through an Amazon wish list. This incredible support enabled the Zoo to open in about the same amount of time as that following Hurricane Wilma in 2005, even though the damage was more severe with Hurricane Irma.

We are very thankful to the generous support of our community and friends from all over the world!

Hurricane Irma Aftermath Photos:

  • Big branches of the ficus tree between the gift shop and Safari Canyon fell on top of the macaw exhibit. Date: 9/12/17
  • The path from the Primate Expedition Cruise to the Honey Badger exhibit was flooded. Date: 9/12/17
  • Many branches fell on the path between the Black Bear exhibit and the Coyote exhibit, damaging the fence. Date: 9/12/17
  • The path between the Black Bear exhibit and the area of the Fosa exhibit was completely blocked by trees and limbs. Date: 9/12/17
  • The path between the Coyote exhibit and Black Bear exhibit coming from the other side was also impassable. Date: 9/12/17
  • The path around Cypress Hammock, in our botanical garden area, was completely flooded. Date: 9/12/17
  • The area around the Shona sculpture, which is right next to the Honey Badgers, was flooded. Date: 9/12/17
  • Many of the paths near Lake Victoria, where the Primate Expedition Cruise takes place, were flooded. Date: 9/12/17
  • Crews from the Davey Tree Expert Company work to remove a tree from the roof of the Fosa exhibit. Date: 9/12/17
  • A Kapok tree toppled over in our "Backyard Habitats" area, where guests can typically view butterflies, and destroyed the fence there. Date: 9/12/17
  • A pandanus tree fell onto the flooded path next to the Cheetah exhibit. Date: 9/12/17
  • A palm tree fell between the Red-Footed Tortoise exhibit and the Anteater exhibit. Date: 9/12/17
  • A ficus tree fell on the roof of our panther building. Luckily, the inside of the building remained intact. Date: 9/12/17
  • Crews from The Davey Tree Expert Company work to remove debris from Rainforest Grove, our event space. Date: 9/12/17
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