OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The Oakland Zoo experienced a sinkhole on the zoo’s property, and on Sunday, officials announced the facility will remain closed until at least January 17.
The record-breaking rain the Bay Area faced over the past week brought many challenges out of the woodwork, and the most recent is a sizable sinkhole in the East Bay. Oakland Zoo officials announced that a collapsed culvert caused the sinkhole to form under the vehicle entrance to the zoo on Golf Links Road.
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The Oakland Zoo said that the culvert, a large pipe-like structure that helps to drain water from the area, was “overburdened by the historic and unprecedented amount of rainfall throughout the region over the past few days.” The culvert is connected to the Arroyo Viejo Creek just under the entry road that leads into the zoo.
The sinkhole is estimated to be 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep, and due to its location, prohibits guests from entering the zoo, according to officials. Engineers were on site yesterday to examine the sinkhole, and they warned that due to more rain expected in the coming days, it could get worse.
The engineers hired to repair the sinkhole advised that the work would take at least two weeks, the Oakland Zoo announced. Zoo officials also wrote that the amount of water that was flowing across zoo grounds on Saturday caused soil erosion, flooding in multiple buildings, downed eucalyptus trees and overwhelmed nearby drainage systems. Power went out multiple times, and the zoo navigated intermittent internet outages as well, according to the announcement.
The zoo announced no animals were harmed as a result of the extreme weather. The Oakland Zoo staff will take care of all animals as the zoo is closed while also navigating cleanup and damage from the storm.
Anyone with Oakland Zoo or Glowfari reservations before January 17 will receive an email from zoo staff with instructions for refunds. The Oakland Zoo stated it may also extend the Glowfari dates, and officials will make an announcement about the experience soon.