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Mystic Jungle Educational Facility sees $50,000 in damages from Friday storms

Posted at 1:19 AM, Jun 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-26 01:25:20-04

LIVE OAK, Fla. (WTXL) — For those who take care of the dozens of animals at Mystic Jungle Educational Facility in Live Oak, nothing is more important than the happiness and well-being of their big, and little, residents.

"We have tigers, lions, leopards, bobcats, servals, foxes and lemurs," said Cindy Adams who works at Mystic Jungle.

Around 3:30 p.m. Friday, a severe thunderstorm rolled through Live Oak, damaging animal enclosures at Mystic Jungle.

The National Weather Service in Jacksonville told ABC 27 that as of right now, they don't have evidence that the damage was from a tornado, however, the cause is being attributed to strong straight line winds that could have reached over 80 miles per hour.

"We went out to feed and the temperature dropped about 20 degrees and then lightning struck so I took cover in our reptile room" said Tiffany Sperber who also works at the facility.

Sperber saw the storm roll in and when things cleared up she said she saw damage to one of their tiger enclosure, breaking the top of their fence, ripping the roof off another tiger enclosure and damage to some of their bobcat areas.

Sperber says repairing one of their tiger enclosures could cost $15,000, with total damgae coming to around $50,000 according to Mystic Jungle.

"It was actually pretty heartbreaking to see the damage and to know that in a blink of an eye, things could be drastically different."

For Adams she's noticed that the storm may have been a stressful experience for the animals they care for.

"They're pretty stressed out, they're pretty mellow," said Adams. "I've noticed a difference."

Sperber says although the storm has added stress to the animals, and their staff, they'll be okay.

"We'll make it," said Sperber. "We'll get it done."