MIAMI, AUG. 26 -- The dik-dik is dead, the bears are dazed and the antelope have no home to roam.
At South Florida's popular Metrozoo today, forklifts scurried after fleeing 600-pound Galapagos tortoises. Hundreds of tropical birds were missing. And Andrew the antelope, born in the hurricane he was named after, was flown out of town because his mother was so stressed out she couldn't care for him. The place was a zoo.
"If we reopen, it definitely won't be until 1993," said zoo spokesman Ron Magill.
Hurricane Andrew hit hard here, throwing open cages, tearing up fences, blowing the metal mesh that had covered the aviary into the sky. Paddle boats were hurled into the gorilla exhibit. The monorail that carried thousands of children and parents around the 740-acre park every day was crushed. A horse trailer flew 100 yards, barely missing Toshi, the 4,000-pound rhinoceros from Japan.
Yet, miraculously most of the 1,000 animals in the zoo were unharmed. Many of the missing birds were presumed dead -- although increasing numbers were flying home today, including a bleeding heart dove, a blue kingfisher and a sacred ibis. But only four animals -- an impala, a male ostrich, a dik-dik and an African crown crane -- were killed by the storm. "All of them died of trauma," said a busy Magill, explaining that on the third day after Andrew people started focusing their attention on the needs of the area's animals.
Some neighbors arrived with food for the animals or the keepers and offers of help. Outside the zoo, animal kennels were inundated with calls about boarded poodles, tabbies and other pets.
Steven Schachter, a veterinarian at Aaesops Fabled Animal Hospital in Hollywood, said some pet lovers even rode out the storm with their animals at the clinic.
"They left their families at home and slept in the office here during the hurricane," he said. Today the hospital was busy performing surgery on pets cut by flying glass or otherwise harmed during the hurricane.
Humane Society spokeswoman Pat Hennings took to the airwaves to warn people to stay away from stray pets because they might be carrying rabies.
Some baboons escaped from the University of Miami's Primate Center and were considered dangerous if cornered. People who encountered one wandering were instructed to drop any food in case the animals challenged them for a bite to eat.
All the attention on the animals was a bit baffling for Magill.
"We are getting things from people who wouldn't think of donating the bottled water, clothing and food to the Red Cross," said Magill. "We don't want to seem ungrateful. We appreciate it. But we want people to get the first attention."
The National Zoo in Washington called to offer to house some of Metrozoo's homeless animals, as did zoos from around the country. Andrew, the newborn antelope who was born in the midst of the storm, was airlifted with the koalas to Tampa's Busch Gardens.
The remaining animals, some in temporary housing, seemed a bit anxious, wandering amid the downed bamboo and palm trees. A spoonbill waddled and panted on a pedestrian walkway. The giraffes looked traumatized. Rare birds flew overhead as keepers tried to recapture them with food-laden traps.
The stench was powerful. More than a ton of rotten animal food was being burned as a truck with fresh worms and insects and fish arrived to make sure that none of the beasts went hungry.
"It's going to take a long time for things to return to normal," Magill said. "I don't know if it will ever be as it was. It really was a fabulous place."
Special correspondent Anne Day contributed to this report.