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New York and New Jersey were overwhelmed with water, prompting a state of emergency to be declared. Storyful

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Animals from the Turtle Back Zoo did not escape and were not roaming the streets of Essex County during the storm, despite what you may have seen or read on social media.

Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said in a statement that those reports were "unequivocally false" and that the animals were safe and secure during Tropical Depression Ida and the zoo did not suffer any power loss.

"Turtle Back is an accredited facility that takes the care and welfare of our animals very seriously," the statement said. "In advance of Hurricane Ida, our animal care team secured all the animals indoors and staff remained on grounds to monitor the situation."

The zoo tweeted out a similar statement, thanking people for their concern.

Several Twitter users posted a photo of a text message from NJ34777 notifying residents of West Orange that animals were "fleeing" the zoo property including penguins, lions, bears, otters, gorillas, reptiles and other exotic animals.

While the zoo is home to a number of animals, gorillas are not included on the list.

More: The worst of Ida flooding in North Jersey may be to come as rivers continue to rise

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County spokesman Anthony Puglisi said they believed the text message was random.

Many people on social media poked fun at the notice animals had escaped, some posting photos of the animals from the "Madagascar" film franchise.

In the end, it was just another example of how quickly rumors and falsehoods travel on social media.

More: Ida flooding kills man in Passaic while trapped in car, woman and child swept away

Kaitlyn Kanzler covers Essex County for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: kanzler@northjersey.com

Twitter: @KaitlynKanzler8

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