Many exotic animals, including an albino kangaroo, are among the pets left behind by evacuees as they fled their Northern California homes near the Oroville Dam this week.
California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers checking on abandoned properties following the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people this week were surprised to find animals, including kangaroos, mini deer and zebras.
"We never know what we'll discover out here. We hope life gets back to normal here real soon and that the owners are able to return to their properties," CHP North Sacramento wrote in a Facebook post along with photos of the temporarily orphaned critters.
The CHP said the animals were taken in by "a kind stranger" outside the evacuation zone. "We are thankful for the random acts of kindness we find out in the community. Everyone seems to be coming together to take care of each other. This is what makes California so special."
Californians who live downstream from the country's tallest dam were urged to flee early this week after damage to spillways — which were being used after unprecedented winter rains — threatened to send a 30-foot wall of water onto towns below.
Those fears had ebbed by Tuesday, when the evacuation order was lifted.
However, with uncertainties that a fix consisting of rocks and boulders piled onto the damaged spillway would hold as renewed rains threaten the area, officials warned the evacuation could be renewed.
California's Department of Water Resources continued Tuesday to reinforce the emergency spillway. More than 125 construction crews worked around the clock placing 1,200 tons of material on the spillway per hour using helicopters and heavy construction equipment.
The area is being continually monitored from the ground and by the use of drones.
The mandatory evacuation order was reduced to a warning Tuesday afternoon.
"An evacuation warning means the immediate threat has ended but the potential for an emergency remains and therefore residents must remain prepared for the possibility of an evacuation order," Butte County Sheriff Kory L. Honea said.