Monkeys and Lemurs were among animals rescued when floods left a North west zoo two feet under water.
Staff at Milnthorpe’s Wildlife Oasis arrived last Sunday to the severe flooding - the worst since since Storm Desmond in 2015.
With groundwater levels rising for up to three days after the worst deluge, the zoo’s car park, woodlands, walkways and all outdoor enclosures were left under two feet of flood water
Staff rushed to the rescue and ensured the safety of all the animals.
The zoo is attempting to remain open as much as possible, but emergency measures including moving animals and diverting visitor walkways is impacting on workload and revenue.
Especially demoralising was seeing the brand new walls of the recently renovated ‘miniature monkey’ exhibit sodden with rising floodwater, say staff.
Lakeland Wildlife Oasis was founded by Dave and Jo Marsden in 1992.
It has won many awards for its conservation work, and is run by a registered charity, the Lakeland Trust for National Sciences.
Zoo founder Jo Marsden said: “It’s heart breaking.
"We never had any flooding in our first 20 years, but climate change is now causing so many ‘freak’ weather events.
"How can you plan when each time it exceeds all predictions?
"We’ve invested thousands on flood defences, to raise as much of the land as we can, so the impact has been less disastrous than last time, but it’s still devastating and such hard work.
"As a charity, our income is committed to animal welfare and conservation projects; any dip or emergency outlay threatens our work and even survival.”
With the lemur enclosures completely submerged, all hands are literally to the pump so that half term events planned for ‘World Lemur Day’ on October 25 can still go ahead.
Jo said: “We were determined to stay open, but with much of the zoo underwater, we’ve closed risky areas and halved entrance fees.
"Our visitors have been amazing- with offers of help, and donations, we are so grateful for all their support and expressions of concern.”
Any individuals or local businesses who can donate time, practical skills or money can contact the Oasis via 015395 63027, www.wildlifeoasis.co.uk, or ‘Lakeland Wildlife Oasis’ on Facebook, where the zoo is posting regular updates on the crisis situation.
The zoo remains open 7 days a week except Christmas and Boxing Day, 10am till dusk, hosting collections of insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.