Despite intensive clearance work, there still remains a risk of branches or trees falling into the paths under the weight of the snow. The zoo is therefore expected to remain closed until Friday, 8 December 2023. “The safety of our visitors, as well as our employees and our animals, is our top priority. The volumes of snow are so huge that there are still too many hazards on the paths in the zoo, such as black ice and falling branches due to the weight of the snow and ice,” said zoo director Rasem Baban. Set in 40 hectares of a beautiful conservation area, Hellabrunn Zoo has 15 km of visitor paths and around 2,300 trees, some of which are very old.

Baban adds: “I would like to thank all our employees for their enormous help over the last few days. The snow currently poses a special challenge. In order to ensure the safety of everyone, we have decided that Hellabrunn will remain closed until Friday due to the inclement weather forecast." The closure will make it easier to carry out planned clearance work with lifting platforms and other heavy machinery as it allows these to be operated freely along the paths. Due to the clearance work, the St Nicholas parade planned for today, Wednesday, 6 December 2023, has been cancelled.

On Monday, the snow load on the flamingo aviary was so heavy that the zoo had to call the Munich fire department for help. Although the flamingos were already safely housed in the aviary’s heated hut due to the sub-zero temperatures, the heavy snow on the aviary netting and a number of broken branches put the habitat’s structure at risk and had to be cleared urgently. Fortunately, there was no danger to the animals. The fire brigade also helped to reduce the massive amount of snow and ice covering the large aviary

Most animal species, such as the agile wallabies, capybaras and giraffes, have chosen to stay indoors for the past few days or only ventured outside briefly while their indoor facilities were being cleaned. However, some animals such as the wolves, wood bison and polar bears feel perfectly content in the deep snow outside and are not affected by the sub-zero temperatures.  All animal enclosures that require snow and ice removed have been cleared, so that there are no restrictions or hazards for the zoo residents. For example, the icy moat by the pelicans’ habitat was broken up to ensure the birds have access to this water source again. “I would like to thank our visitors for their patience and very much hope that next weekend we can invite you back to discover our diverse wildlife in a beautiful, wintry  and, above all, safe environment.”