See How Miami's Biggest Zoo Is Preparing For Hurricane Irma

Hilary Hanson

Preparing for a major hurricane is even more complicated when you have more than 3,000 wild animals in your care.

Zoo Miami, also known as the Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, has spent the past few days making sure its facilities are ready for the wrath of Hurricane Irma, which is now expected to make landfall in Florida on Sunday.

Senior keeper Jennifer Nelson walks a cheetah to a shelter ahead of Hurricane Irma. (Adrees Latif / Reuters)

There are several reasons why it doesn’t make sense to evacuate thousands of animals from the zoo, communications director Ron Magill told NPR this week. For one thing, transporting the animals can cause stress so great that it could kill them. Plus, the zoo wrote on Facebook, hurricanes’ paths can change so quickly that evacuating the animals could wind up putting them in more danger.

Magill told the Miami Herald that the zoo learned a lot of lessons after weathering Hurricane Andrew 25 years ago. That was the first time the zoo herded a flock of flamingos into a bathroom, resulting in an iconic, widely circulated photo. Flamingos rode out the storm in bathrooms during Hurricanes Georges and Floyd, too.

Flamingos huddle in a bathroom during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. (Tim Chapman via Getty Images)

This time around, the flamingos, like many of the zoo’s residents, will be kept inside concrete enclosures that Magill told NPR are strong enough to withstand “the strength of a major hurricane.”

Take a look at some of the photos of the zoo readying animals for the storm:

(Adrees Latif / Reuters)

Brown pelicans and an American white pelican take shelter at Zoo Miami.

(Adrees Latif / Reuters)

Flamingos take refuge.

(Adrees Latif / Reuters)

A zookeeper guides an Indian white-rumped vulture into a cage.

(Adrees Latif / Reuters)

Cheetahs are moved into a shelter.

(Adrees Latif / Reuters)

An African grey parrot at Miami Zoo.

(Adrees Latif / Reuters)

Senior keeper Jennifer Nelson walks a cheetah to a shelter.

(Adrees Latif / Reuters)

Brown pelicans and an American white pelican in a shelter. 

(Adrees Latif / Reuters)

A macaw looks out of its shelter cage.

(Adrees Latif / Reuters)

Cheetahs are moved into a shelter.

(Adrees Latif / Reuters)

An African crested porcupine.

(Adrees Latif / Reuters)

Flamingos take refuge in a shelter.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.