TBILISI, June 16. /TASS/. A hippo that escaped from a flooded zoo in the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi and roamed the city streets for quite a time until being recaptured is now recovering from stress, a spokesman for the zoo administration said on Monday.
"Our favourite hippo that managed to survive the flooding and was photoed standing confused in a square near the zoo has lost weight over the past two days but today the situation began to improve. The hippo has slept its fill and began to eat well," the spokesman said.
The hippopotamus, the zoo’s long-liver, "was placed in an enclosure along with elephants as his own enclosure was destroyed by the flooding," the spokesman said, adding that there were no problems between the hippo and the elephants.
Heavy rainfalls in Tbilisi overnight to June 14 sent Tbilisi’s River Vere bursting its banks. The zoo was partially flooded. Some of the zoo’s residents died in the flooding, some managed to escape. Among the escapees were tigers and bears. Some animals were recaptured, others were killed as posing danger to people.
After water subsided, three dead lions, one dead tiger, two dead wolves and a number of other smaller animals and birds were found in the zoo. The zoo’s aquarium with unique fishes and other sea dwellers and reptiles has not been damaged by the flooding.
According to the latest data from the Georgian interior ministry, as many as 15 people died in the flooding. Ground floors of more than 100 houses, underground walkways, squares in Tbilisi were damaged. Water also damaged motor ways, electricity transmission lines and other infrastructure facilities. Dozens of families lost their homes.