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Zoos prepare for Hurricane Irma as it bears down on Florida



Many zoos and conservation centers are moving their animals to safety as Hurricane Irma approaches Florida on Saturday.

"We're as ready as we can be," Zoo Miami spokesman Ron Magill said.

His zoo has moved five dolphins from the Florida Keys to Central Florida in advance of the storm. However, most zoos in the Miami area are trying to keep their animals safe from Hurricane Irma.

"We live in a hurricane-prone area so our facilities are designed to accommodate these storms," said Brian Dowling, the general curator at Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach County."Obviously, everything can't be hurricane-proof."

"We allow those animals to decide where they want to go," Dowling continued. "It actually reduces the stress level considerably. Their instincts tell them how to ride out the storm."

Animal facilities such as SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay say that they will have workers on-site at all times to monitor the animals.

SeaWorld reportedly took in the five adult male dolphins from Dolphin Discovery in Duck Key. Officials said they will stay there "until they can be safely returned to their home in the Florida Keys."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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