TBILISI, Georgia – All of the lions and tigers that were missing after severe flooding swamped Tbilisi's zoo have been found dead. One jaguar remained unaccounted for, but zoo staff said they have little hope that it survived.
The discovery of the last of the missing lions and tigers on Tuesday as the waters receded eased fears in the capital of Georgia, an ex-Soviet republic, that some of the big cats were still wandering the hills of the city.
The human death toll rose to 16 on Tuesday when the body of a missing woman was found in a children's park, the police said. Seven people are still missing after an intense downpour that began late Saturday turned a stream that runs through the city into a raging torrent that destroyed houses and tore up roads. About 40 families lost their homes.
Zoo spokeswoman Mziya Sharashidze said eight lions, all seven of the zoo's tigers and at least two of its three jaguars were killed. Only two of the zoo's 14 bears survived, while nine of its 17 penguins died, she said.
Ivane Daraseliya, chief veterinarian for the zoo, said staff on Tuesday found the carcasses of three lions, a tiger and two wolves.
A young white lion named Shumba, one of the zoo's most beloved attractions, was found shot in the head on zoo territory on Sunday. Most of the animals appeared to have been killed when water and mud inundated their enclosures.
The flooding also killed hundreds of homeless dogs at a private shelter near the zoo, shelter staff said.