Several mammals and birds died at a San Antonio wildlife sanctuary due to the freezing conditions and losses of electricity. The 70-acre Primarily Primates facility is home to hundreds of primates.
Power failed at the Primary Primates facility in San Antonio at 6 a.m. on Monday as temperatures fell to single digits. Workers scrambled to find mobile generators, space heaters, propane tanks, and blankets in a valiant attempt to save their residents, according to ABC News.
The 12-member staff pulled out animal carriers and began transporting several of the animals to the San Antonio Zoo and another facility in North Texas, Primarily Primates Executive Director Brooke Chavez told the San Antonio Express-News. As they worked to round up as many of the animals as they could, they began to find deceased primates and birds.
“I never, ever thought my office would turn into a morgue, but it has,” Chavez told the newspaper. “Someone asked me how many animals have died. I don’t know yet. I know we lost lots of monkeys, lemurs and tropical birds … We won’t truly know how many animals have died until the temperatures rise and the snow starts to melt.”
The sanctuary is home to more than 400 primates including chimpanzees, various monkeys, gibbons, capuchins, macaques, and lemurs. The facility takes in animals discarded from research and entertainment industries as well as seizures from the exotic pet trade, the organization’s website states.
The non-profit group attempts to provide a more natural setting for the animals and delivers various forms of stimulation to entertain its residents.
Founded in 1978, it became the first primate sanctuary in North America. It also became the first to rescue chimpanzees that required lifetime care after being rescued from medical research facilities.
“To ensure each day is unique, staff provides daily food enrichment treats using a variety of ingredients and enrichment methods that allow the animals to resourcefully seek food as they would in nature,” the website reports. “Additionally, sensory enrichment activities like burning incense, playing music and painting are also offered to stimulate animal residents and prevent boredom.”
The San Antonio Zoo requests help from the community to help with the care of the transferred primates, KSAT reported. The needs list includes blankets, flashlights, propane tanks, heaters, and small animal carriers.
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