Hogle Zoo conducts first-ever flood drill

Apr 13, 2023, 5:30 PM | Updated: Oct 17, 2023, 9:33 am

hogle zoo lion pictured...

A lion from Utah's Hogle Zoo is pictured. (Utah's Hogle Zoo)

(Utah's Hogle Zoo)

SALT LAKE CITY — With record snow and heat, comes runoff down Emigration Creek which runs besides and underneath Hogle Zoo. What is the zoo doing about keeping its animal occupants safe from a possible flood? 

Joining Dave Noriega & Debbie Dujanovic (D2) is Jeff Landry, who is Hogle Zoo’s risk manager. 

Both the mayors of Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County have issued states of emergency as of Thursday.

Due to record-breaking snow and associated spring runoff, here are the areas in Salt Lake County at the highest risk of flooding:

  • Red Butte Creek
  • Emigration Creek
  • Big Cottonwood Creek
  • Little Cottonwood Creek
  • Millcreek

“Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson is issuing an emergency order about flooding in the Sugarhouse area at 17th South and 15th East which, just for context is kind of close, a little too close for comfort to the Hogle Zoo,” Debbie said.


Keeping an eye on the creek

“We’ve been actually preparing for potential of a flood, even though it’s not really likely . . . but we’ve been preparing for over a month,” he said. “There’s no thought at all right now of evacuation of the zoo. Matter of fact, we’re open. Come on up and enjoy the snow that just started falling,” Landry said.

He said for the first time in its history, Hogle Zoo staged a planned full-scale flood drill Wednesday with all staff on deck. 

With Emigration Creek rising, Landry said an infrared camera has been mounted atop a railway trestle, which is part of the Zoofari Express Train Ride. 

“I don’t know if you’ve ever ridden on the train before, but we mounted a infrared camera on that, pointed to the culvert that goes underneath the zoo — a 60-inch culvert. So we have 24-hour-a-day coverage of that,” Landry said.

He added jersey barriers have been put up to channel water away from animal enclosures.

“It’s one of those things where it’s better to have it ahead of time then to try to scramble and doing it when you need to do it quickly.”

How do you evacuate an elephant from a zoo flood?

“Is there ever a situation where you do need to evacuate the animals? Who draws the short straw and has to evacuate the lions?” Dave asked.

“Yeah, hopefully it’s not me, but you actually do have to have plans,” Landry said.

He said the zoo’s response to flooding is twofold: shelter in place or ship the zoo animals to other zoos.

“To move an elephant is a big thing. But their building is made basically — it’s like a bomb shelter so it’s pretty much immune to anything.

“If there were a “cataclysmic thing, like we had a major earthquake in Salt Lake City, we do have contact information from every zoo within five  — actually, I think up to 600 miles away,” Laundry said.

He said Hogle Zoo is prepared for any flooding event.

“We have absolutely no concern about that with the flood potential of Emigration Creek. We would just re-canalize the creek and then have it go down the backside of the zoo.”

Related reading:

Salt Lake County mayor issues state of emergency after spring runoff


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Dave & Dujanovic

Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Scot Peterson shown, a school arming school staff is aw...

Curt Gresseth

Utah lawmaker discusses arming school workers

Arming school workers will lead to safer schools, says a Utah lawmaker whose bill awaits the governor's pen to become law.

3 days ago

FILE: A "For sale" sign in front of a home in North Salt Lake on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023....

Curt Gresseth

Utah home prices not likely to fall soon, says real-estate expert

Utah home prices are back up and so are interest rates -- and they will stay high says a Utah real-estate expert.

5 days ago

pay gap...

Curt Gresseth

Why is the gender pay gap not closing?

The gender pay gap in the U.S. and Utah is not closing. A Utah financial planner details the impact that wage shortfall can have on a women workers over a career.

10 days ago

a hockey stick shown, utah may get a nhl stadium...

Adam Small

Utah lawmaker asks for $1 billion for an NHL stadium in Salt Lake City

To fund an NHL stadium in Utah, Salt Lake City's sales tax rate would go from 7.75% to 8.25% if the bill is approved.

11 days ago

crime Ballpark...

Curt Gresseth

Cop talks knocking down violent crime in Ballpark Neighborhood

Violent crime in the Ballpark Neighborhood of Salt Lake City is down. A deputy chief details how the SLCPD achieved the results.

12 days ago

UTA Frontrunner commuter rail. UTA Plans to address delays by updating cars and adding a new line t...

Curt Gresseth

UTA boss talks about train delays, says improvements coming

Despite frustrating delays, UTA has a 90 percent "on-time" record, says the executive officer.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Hogle Zoo conducts first-ever flood drill