Memphis Zoo workers go across globe to help rebuild historic Tbi - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis Zoo workers go across globe to help rebuild historic Tbilisi Zoo

(Source: Memphis Zoo) (Source: Memphis Zoo)

Workers from the Memphis Zoo traveled across the planet to help rebuild a zoo that was devastated by a major flood.

Tbilisi Zoo in Tbilisi, Georgia, was ravaged by flooding of the Vere River in June 2015. The zoo was one of the casualties of the flooding.

This month, members of the Memphis Zoo were chosen by the U.S. Agency for International Development to travel to Georgia to help with the rebuilding efforts.

CLICK HERE for more pictures from the group's visit.

The group, led by Memphis Zoo animal curator Farshid Mehrdadfar and director of research and conservation Dr. Kimberly Terrell, spent seven days working to rebuild the zoo.

During the 2015 flooding, three staff members and 300 animals were killed. Major damage was also caused to the buildings and enclosures.

The Tbilisi Zoo was founded in 1927 and welcomed more than 500,000 visitors per year as the oldest and largest zoo in the country of Georgia.

“I knew from following what happened on the news that the flooding was tragic, but until I landed in Tbilisi, my mind struggled to grasp the enormity of the situation,” Mehrdadfar said. “The lower section of the zoo was gone. In the midst of twisted cage bars and dried up mud that covered everything, I was reminded of those images that portrayed an open zoo where Georgians enjoyed an afternoon visit and marveled at the sights of black jaguars, brown bears, Siberian tigers, a hippopotamus, wolves, lions, crocodiles, as well as a number of primate species. They were all gone.”

Memphis Zoo was chosen for the efforts because of their expertise in animal care, public education, research, facilities management, and ability to leverage additional resources.

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