Winter can be rough in Roanoke with temps below freezing for several days, winds howling across the region making it feel even cold than it is, snow piles up and makes driving difficult, and ice storms are becoming more and more regular, so when the snow and ice arrive, we hunker down and wait for the all clear.

But that cannot happen at the Mill Mountain Zoo. The staff and management must be ready to sacrifice everything to keep the animals safe.

The winter is harsh enough in the Valley below, but with winds racing up the face of Mill Mountain, temperatures a few degrees colder and the snow and ice piling up at higher rates, the staff at Mill Mtn. Zoo need to be ready for anything.

The care and tending to the animals at the Zoo is never ending so if a big storm arrives, it is all hands on deck at the zoo.

Staff stay overnight in temporary quarters to tend to the animals, keep the snow off the trees and icy off the enclosures.

Loss of Electricity is a major concern, so nearly a dozen portable generators are deployed to keep the refrigerators going for the food supply and the heating.

Weather is not kind to Mill Mountain, especially in the winter. But with dedicated staff members who put the safety of the animals above their own, the Zoo is secure and operational.