While animal shelters in Sonoma and Napa counties are inundated with fleeing, lost, and abandoned animals, workers at the Safari West Animal Preserve in Santa Rosa are working to protect and save the safari animals located on their 400-acre property which has sat dangerously close to the Tubbs Fire since Sunday night and is in the evacuation zone.
The Chronicle reports that Safari West's African animals — cheetahs, rhinoceroses, giraffes, and more — are currently being tended to by preserve workers who returned to the site to figure out a way to evacuate them if that need should arise. They issued a statement about the preserve's status, which they shared to Facebook. It read:
While the situation remains dynamic and very dangerous, we have received word that the Safari West Wildlife Preserve appears to have weathered the worst of this firestorm. The situation is still very much active and could take a turn, but for the moment, it looks like our preserve and our animals are OK.
Following the workers' return on Monday evening, all animals were found to be present and accounted for. That all said, the preserve is still concerned over possible smoke inhalation issues for the animals, given their short distance from much of the fire damage. A solution to that particular problem is still under development. This morning, they shared another statement on Facebook, thanking people for their concern, and asking that they remain safe, allowing people to do their work. They wrote:
Thank you everybody for your thoughts and prayers. The status on the ground at Safari West remains much the same as reported last evening. The preserve remains intact and the animals safe and contained. However, fires continue to burn nearby and the situation is far from stabilized. Please continue to help by keeping the roadways as clear as possible and allowing our firefighters to do their work. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and please stay safe out there.
The Chron also refuted reports from social media that the fences were cut to allow the animals to escape.
In addition to animals at Safari West, many animal shelters in the North Bay have found themselves inundated with animals and a few lost pets as just about all forms of life are doing their best to get away from the raging wildfire. According to ABC 7, the Napa County Animal Shelter has had to take on a few pets who were dropped off by their humans, as evacuation orders went out yesterday and the day before. The shelter has put out a call for volunteers, pet food, and blankets for the boarded pets.
KRON 4 shared an update from the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter, which is doing the same, and also requires donations from people who are willing to share pet supplies and equipment with the shelter. When asked how many animals they've taken in thus far, a worker told them, "We’ve taken in so far about 20 cats, 12 dogs, 5 chickens. But we are currently still taking animals in and we do have space for more animals to be brought in." They also said that if you have any larger animals, you can evacuate them to the Sonoma Fairgrounds.
Update: Here's a GoFundMe to help support employees of Safari West.