Egypt’s environment ministry warned that reptiles and “unusual” animals might have escaped from the Petrified Forest Nature Preserve in eastern Cairo after heavy rains earlier this week caused the partial collapse of an enclosure wall at the site.
The ministry urged residents to report any unusual animals in nearby residential areas via its hotlines.
“The Ministry of Environment calls for the immediate reporting of any unusual creatures in residential areas, especially in the area around the Petrified Forest Preserve in New Cairo," the ministry said in a statement published on its official Facebook page on Thursday.
The ministry said its zoology specialists have scanned the vicinity, fearing that the wall collapse might have led “terrestrial animals or reptile species” to wander from the preserve into nearby residential areas.
The Petrified Forest nature reserve in New Cairo, Egypt, April 26, 2018 (Photo: Official Facebook of Egypt's Ministry of Environment)
“The search found no traces or presence of any type of reptiles along the boundaries of the reserve, especially in the areas of collapse of the fence, where reptiles may exit from.”
The ministry added however that a number of white ants had been found outside the reserve’s fence, but said they are not harmful and do not transmit diseases.
Renewed searches around the preserve are planned for Friday and Saturday, the ministry added.
Flash floods caused by the downpour on a street near the Petrified Forest nature reserve in New Cairo, Egypt, April 26, 2018 (Photo: official Facebook of Egypt's Ministry of Environment)
A technical committee is set to assess the magnitude of losses and lay out a timeframe for repair work.
Workers have already began re-paving a road leading to another nature reserve, Wadi Degla, in the southern suburb of Maadi, after heavy rain damaged sections of it, the ministry added.
The New Cairo suburb was the hardest hit by the severe rains, which flooded roads and apartments and shut down major highways in and outside the capital.
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Thursday that he understands the suffering felt by Egyptians in the aftermath of the bad weather conditions and pledged that the government will step up efforts at preparedness in the future.