In August 1992, Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm, wreaked havoc in the Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana. The National Weather Service reported that the storm had caused damages worth $26.5 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history until Hurricane Katrina surpassed it in 2005 with $81 billion in damages.
Ron Magill, the goodwill ambassador and communications director of Zoo Miami, captured the extraordinary measures taken to protect the zoo’s flamingos from the storm. On August 23, 1992, Magill and his team moved the entire flock of 38 flamingos to the ladies’ restroom, a safe haven with no windows, a tile floor for easy cleaning, and ample space for the birds.
The restroom was equipped with a ready supply of fresh water. The team filled the toilets and spread hay on the floor to create a makeshift bed for the flamingos. Despite the flamingos’ resistance, the team managed to move all the birds to the restroom.
Magill, a photography enthusiast, couldn’t resist capturing the unusual sight of the flamingos huddled together in the restroom. He took a few shots with his point-and-shoot camera, not realizing then how historic the storm would be or how much attention his photos would receive in the aftermath.