A zoo in Australia was forced to close after flash floods inundated the facility and forced staff to rescue animals from the overflowing waters as fires continued to burn across the country.
In a post to Facebook on Friday, Australian Reptile Park officials announced their decision to close the park as New South Wales was bombarded with heavy rains that brought relief for firefighters battling a series of bushfires that have burned through millions of acres across the country since September.
But despite the respite, the storms also increased the chance of flooding in many areas, according to the Washington Post.
“This morning we made the tough decision to close the park for the day due to incredibly heavy (much needed!) rainfall resulting in floods we haven’t seen for over 15 years!” park officials wrote in the post. “We’ve even had keepers stationed at our Alligator Lagoon to monitor the water levels, which were rising beyond the fence line.”
The post included a dramatic video of a staff member carrying a pair of koalas over water rushing through the park. Footage also showed a staff member using a broom to keep two large alligators inside their enclosure.
“All animals are safe and the park is enjoying the much needed rain regardless of the circumstances,” a follow-up post by the park read. “The flooding has subsided and the clean-up has begun. We are on track for business as usual tomorrow.”
According to Yahoo, park director Tim Faulkner told local media that he was rescuing animals from drought-effected areas before he returned to the park to help with the flooding.
“The contrast between the current bushfire crisis and this sudden flooding is striking,” he explained. “But we are well aware that a huge part of Australia is still burning, and millions of animals are still under threat. The rain doesn’t replace the millions of hectares of habitat that has been lost over the last few months.”
While the rains have helped to weaken some of the fires, they haven’t been enough to end the devastation.
“Rain has fallen across most fire grounds over the last 24 hours which is great news!” the New South Wales Rural Fire Service wrote on Twitter Thursday. “Our fingers are crossed that this continues over the coming days. This morning 82 fires are still burning across New South Wales, with over 30 still yet to be contained.”
According to CNN, storms are expected to continue over the weekend, though forecasters have warned that flash flooding could be in the cards.
“This will be all of our Christmas, birthday, engagement, anniversary, wedding and graduation presents rolled into one,” the NSW RFS tweeted in response to the weather forecast.
Flooding has also affected the state of Victoria. Earlier this week, the Victoria State Emergency Service posted a series of photographs to social media that showed a newly formed sinkhole and a river of mud flowing across a road.
Since September, at least 28 people have been killed, while more than 17.9 million acres have been wiped out, destroying thousands of homes and buildings in the process, according to CNN. A seven-day state of emergency was declared on Jan. 2, the third of its kind since November, NBC News reported.
Around 1.25 billion animals, including mammals, birds, and reptiles, are estimated to have died due to the crisis, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Thousands more are believed to be injured and homeless.