Exotic Animals Rescued From California Wildfires

Chris Jasurek
By Chris Jasurek
November 14, 2018Trending

Wildfires in southern California are blazing out of control and driving residents from their homes.

The Hill and Woolsey fires have devastated more than 100,000 acres of California’s Ventura County the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reports.

The Woolsey fire has consumed more than 97,000 acres in seven days, destroyed 435 structures, and claimed the lives of two people. Cal Fire predicts the fire won’t be contained until Nov. 18.

Pickup truck on fire
A photo obtained via social media shows members of the SBC 5-engine one Battalion Chief Strike Team fighting the Woolsey Fire in Calabasas, Ca., U.S. Nov. 9, 2018. (Battalion Chief David Neels/Santa Barbara County Fire via Reuters)

The Hill fire has been 94 percent contained. It has already destroyed more than 4,500 acres and two buildings.

More than a quarter of a million people have been forced to leave their homes to escape the relentless wall of flaming destruction, patch.com reported.

Among the lives threatened by the blaze are many that cannot evacuate at will: animals in shelters and pens, from dogs and cats to horses and some much more exotic animals as well.

Ten different animal rescue centers have been established. Not all of them can manage large animals—and not all of them can provide shelter for giraffes.

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Malibu Wine Safaris‎‏ في الخميس، ٢٨ يونيو ٢٠١٨

Malibu Safari Ranch Lost, All the Animals Saved

Malibu Wine Safari is a popular attraction featuring fine wines and dozens of exotic animals housed on the 1,000-acre Saddlerock ranch.

Guests cruise across the normally pleasant Malibu countryside, weaving among hillsides festooned with grape vines, stopping at local vineyards and seeing animals such as zebra, bison, alpacas, camels, and the safari’s star attraction, Stanley the Giraffe.

Unfortunately, the ranch was right in the path of the combined fires, when they started on Nov.8. Pushed by 50–70 mph winds, the flames swept across the park in only a few hours.

the out of control Woolsey Fire explodes
Los Angeles County firefighter looks on as the out of control Woolsey Fire explodes behind a house in the West Hills neighborhood on November 9, 2018. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Safari staff did not have time to arrange transport and lodging for all the animals in that short a time. According to Wine Safari veterinarian Dr. Stephen Klause, many of the largest animals would have to be tranquilized and lifted by crane onto a truck bed—bison for instance, are not docile creatures.

More than 100 exotic animals, and dozens of horse boarding on ranch grounds, had to be released into the ranch’s open central area, a vast, treeless expanse of short grass with no fuel for a fire. The area includes a lake, so dehydration would not be a problem.

What better way to celebrate becoming a Mrs. ? than with your closest friends and a handsome 17ft tall giraffe named Stanley? ?✨ #malibuwinesafari

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Malibu Wine Safaris‎‏ في الخميس، ١٦ أغسطس ٢٠١٨

Dr. Klause said in a statement on the Wine Safari website, “The fire protocol of moving the animals into the central area was the most prudent and realistic plan to get the animals to safety.”

None of the animals died or were even injured by the fire.

One llama injured the sole of one foot, and one horse cut itself on some barbed wire.

Both animals were treated by ranch staff, which worked through the night to make sure all the animals were checked, fed, and watered by the next morning.

According to the Wine Safari website, 95 percent of the park was destroyed by the fire on Nov. 9.

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I went rogue and went to check on Stanley the giraffe myself. There were a lot of rumors and i didn’t want to be contributing to untrue gossip. I don’t know enough about exotic animals to know if them choosing not to move him was the right choice, but for now he is safe although the conditions are terrible air quality and windy. They are trying to build a barn for him for the night because it burned down. The best thing you can do to help is have as much hay delivered as you can to Malibu Wines/Saddle Rock Ranch or bring some if you live in the area. They lost all their structures, but all the animals are alive right now. I was frustrated that they didn’t evacuate all the animals days ago, but again it’s easy for me to say given i wasn’t there and the fires came in fast. Everyone I spoke to was kind and doing the best they could. I’m sorry I was so aggressive with you guys both in person and on social media. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you did what was best for your animals and humans but in the future I’m offering my services to help with a better evacuation plan and any resources you currently need. Let’s all just stick together right now and deal with everything else later.

A post shared by Whitney Cummings (@whitneycummings) on

Celebrity Attention

The efforts of the Wine Safari staff to keep all the animals safe might have gone unnoticed, lost in the flood of stories about the fires ravaging the state.

However, Wine Safari’s star attraction, Stanley the Giraffe, had won the heart of reality star Khloé Kardashian.

Someone sent Kardashian a text telling her that Stanley was at risk, and the reality star shared it on social media.

Not realizing she was a victim of bad information, Kardashian helped stir up a firestorm of concern for the park’s animals.

Ariel Winter sent a tweet saying she had heard Stanley couldn’t be moved. “Can anyone assist in getting Stanley the giraffe to a safe place??? He’s currently stuck in the Malibu wine safari area and is not safe.”

Comedian Whitney Cummings posted on Instagram that Stanley had been moved but was in a precarious situation. She also criticized the park for not evacuating the animals days earlier—though the fire started on Nov. 8 and reached the park in about three hours, by which time all the animals had been led to safety.

Eventually, enough media reports that the animals were safe filtered through the cloud of frightened social media posts, and the celebrities calmed down, knowing that their favorite four-legged celebrity was doing well.

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