Georgia mobilized its special forces on Sunday and warned residents in the capital not to leave their homes after lions, tigers and bears — among other animals — escaped during floods that have claimed at least 11 lives.
Heavy rains and wind hit Tbilisi overnight on Saturday, turning a normally small stream that runs through the hilly city into a surging river. Officials said at least 20 people were injured, while several were missing.
Three zoo workers were killed in the floods, the zoo said. One of them was Guliko Chitadze, a zookeeper who lost an arm in an attack by a tiger last month.
A spokeswoman for the zoo told NBC News that many of the animals were killed in the flooding or by special forces, but it was not known how many remained at large.
Footage from Tbilisi showed a hippopotamus roaming the streets, while a bear could be seen climbing around an apartment window. The hippo was cornered in one of the city’s main squares and subdued with a tranquilizer gun, the zoo said.