Australia floods: Zookeepers beat back alligators with broom as waters rise

Andy Gregory
Australian Reptile Park screengrab

Australian zookeepers have been filmed using broomsticks to keep alligators at bay, and rescuing soaking wet koalas, after a deluge of rainfall led to flash floods.

Australian Reptile Park in New South Wales (NSW) was forced to close as a result of what park director Tim Faulkner called the worst floods for 15 years.

The wildlife park published footage of Mr Faulkner carrying drenched koalas to safety amid roaring floods. Keepers were reportedly kept stationed at Alligator Lagoon to monitor the rising water levels, which appeared close to the top of the enclosure fence.

Some 35 alligators live in the lagoon, and while there is reportedly another fence between the carnivorous reptiles and the wild, keepers would have been forced to catch them had they escaped.

The intense thunderstorms brought a welcome reprieve to firefighters, who have spent months battling bushfires that have killed 29 people and millions of animals, and destroyed more than 2,500 homes as they razed an area roughly the size of Bulgaria.

Fire services said the rain would not extinguish all the blazes, but would greatly aid containment.

Severe storms are forecast to continue in many fire-stricken regions of NSW and Queensland, including areas that have not seen heavy rainfall for years, slightly easing a three-year drought.

But it also comes with dangers, such as landslides, flash flooding and falling trees.

On Friday, a three-year-old girl and her Jack Russell who spent “nearly 24 hours of being alone and without shelter” after their route home became blocked by floodwaters were both found alive and well.

And despite the dramatic footage, Mr Faulkner said all staff and animals at the reptile park were also safe and accounted for.

“All animals are safe and the park is enjoying the much-needed rain regardless of the circumstances,” Mr Faulkner wrote on social media on Friday. “The flooding has subsided and the clean-up has begun.

“We have been overwhelmed with offers of community support and help.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

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