Tigers escape Georgia safari park hit by tornado damage, recaptured soon after, park says
Two tigers escaped from an animal park in Georgia after tornadoes struck the area Sunday. The big cats were soon recaptured, the park said.
According to a Facebook post from Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari, no animals or employees of the park were hurt in Sunday morning's tornadoes. But several animal enclosures were breached by the storms.
The animals were "found, tranquilized, and safely returned to a secure enclosure," the park wrote. The Troup County Sheriff's Office confirmed both tigers were recaptured.
USA TODAY reached out to Wild Animal Safari on Monday for a statement. According to Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari's website, the park remained closed because of the storm damage.
The Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain is about 77 miles southwest of Atlanta. The park said on Facebook that it suffered extensive tornado damage "like much of Southwest Georgia" on Sunday.
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Georgia hit with severe weather, tornado warnings
Two confirmed tornadoes slammed into Georgia Sunday morning, damaging buildings and closing roads because of downed trees and power lines. Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency, and authorities warned residents of dangerous conditions.
Tornado watches and warnings – as well as severe thunderstorm and flood warnings – remained in effect for parts of Georgia early Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
Flood and tornado watches and warnings also were in place across much of Mississippi and Alabama on Monday.
Violent tornadoes have left a path of destruction across the South, and residents were preparing for another potentially catastrophic round of storms days after at least 25 people were killed in Mississippi. One man in Alabama also died.
Amid Friday's devastating storms, which hit one of the poorest regions in the U.S., houses were torn from foundations and entire blocks were wiped out, leaving hundreds of people displaced.
President Joe Biden, who called the damage "heartbreaking," issued an emergency declaration for Mississippi early Sunday, making federal funding available to the counties that were hit the hardest Friday night.
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Contributing: Susan Miller, John Bacon, Jorge L. Ortiz and Ross Reily, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tigers escape Georgia's Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari, recaptured