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Wild Weather Forces Claws ‘N’ Paws Cleanup

SALEM TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Cleanup continues at an animal park in the Poconos hit hard by a winter storm earlier this month.

Many trees came crashing down nearly a month ago at Claws 'N' Paws Wild Animal Park near Hamlin.

Zookeepers have been doubling as cleanup crews ever since the winter storm hit, knocking out power to thousands and damaging some animal enclosures.

"We are known as the zoo in the woods, so we are surrounded by trees. It was a pretty scary day with all the heavy snow coming down. Trees were falling left and right," said Pamela Voglino, Claws 'N' Paws.

All the animals were OK through the fierce wind and snow. The zoo never lost power but has had to deal with a mess of downed trees while still caring for the animals and getting ready to open for the season in about a month.

"We work long hours. We're usually here 11, 12 hours every day. We work really hard just to get the zoo ready for opening day," Voglino said.

There's a pipe from a spring under Claws 'N' Paws that feeds the river otter pool. When a tree came down on March 2, it broke the pipe. That means it needs a fix, on top of other damage, so the river otters can have their water back.

"The animals do much better than the keepers do trudging through the snow and they have hay," said Lacey Duffy, Claws 'N' Paws.

Now, it's a waiting game for warmer weather and the chance to put the zoo back the way it's supposed to be.

"We already had snow and cold temperatures. Now everything's frozen to the ground," Duffy said.

The silver lining -- a lot of the tree branches will be able to be put to good use in the animal habitats for climbing, rubbing, and even chewing on.

Claws 'N' Paws plans to be open by May.