Officials with Hersheypark and ZooAmerica have confirmed the deaths of two bison caused by Wednesday's flooding.
Mindy Bianca, a spokeswoman for Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, said the bison were euthanized when zoo staff were unable to save them from the high water. She said the staff worked very hard and did the best they could under the conditions.
Bianca added that ZooAmerica staff spent the night at the park in order to care for animals that had been rescued.
Neighbors, meanwhile, were saddened and angered by what had happened after many of them said they watched the animals die in the flood waters.
"It looked like the animals were panicking," said one woman who watched the rescue efforts. "The two bison that were in the enclosure, their heads were barely above water and they were panicking."
Bancroft said the workers tried very hard to save the animals.
"The water, of course, kept getting higher and higher and they were just trying to keep their head above water, and at one point they had a rope and they were just trying to hook that around the horn of the bison," she said.
Neighbors insist there were many more deaths than just those of the two bison.
"The coyotes, a lot of them did not make it," said one witness. "A lot of them were standing on the hill. You could hear them crying from our house."
Bianca said the zoo does not have coyotes.
Some people said the park should have planned ahead for the heavy rains.
"I think Hershey should be called on the carpet for this, Jack Bancroft said. "There's no reason that animals should die. I guess it's just a write-off for Hershey."