The sanctuary holds more than 400 animals and despite their best efforts, there are just not enough resources to save them all.
The snowstorm in Texas and the subsequent power outage that followed have been making it hard for people and animals alike to survive the freezing temperatures. Several animals including monkeys, lemurs, a chimpanzee, and several birds have died as a result, at a non-profit wildlife sanctuary near San Antonio. The sanctuary holds more than 400 animals. Despite their best efforts to save the animals, there are just not enough resources to save them all. Brooke Chavez, executive director of Primarily Primates in Leon Springs along with staff and volunteers, have been working to keep the animals as warm as possible.
Chavez stated that the power went out at the sanctuary at six in the morning on Monday. They had initially set up generators, space heaters, propane tanks, and blankets to keep the animals warm. But the temperature dropped further and the only choice they had left was to bring the animals into shelters. "I've never faced a decision like this," Chavez said, as per Newsweek. "Having to decide who we can save, depending on the predictability of which animals we can catch." She added, "I never, ever thought my office would turn into a morgue, but it has." While transporting many of the animals, it was found that many of them were already dead.
"I never, ever thought my office would turn into a morgue, but it has," Primarily Primates executive director Brooke Chavez told the San Antonio Express-News. https://t.co/fmIDnPQkok— CNN (@CNN) February 17, 2021
"Someone asked me how many animals have died. I don't know yet," Chavez said. "I know we lost lots of monkeys, lemurs, and tropical birds." Despite the troubles residents in the area are going through themselves, many of them pitched in to help the wildlife sanctuary by providing blankets, peanut butter, jelly, bread, and water. As for the animals that are being transferred, some went to the San Antonio Zoo, some to a sanctuary near the Oklahoma border, while others were taken into the homes of volunteers, reported CNN. Thirty-three chimpanzees remain at the sanctuary because it proved to be difficult to transport them. "Instead of feeling absolutely horrible, I'm trying to look at the positives," Chavez said. "I'm grateful that we have been able to save as many animals that we already have. And I'm grateful for the people who have brought us supplies for our animals. I cannot believe their generosity."
The extremely cold temperature is also taking a toll on the endangered sea turtles that are famous in South Padre Island, located at the southernmost tip of Texas. Dozens of residents have started to venture out on foot to rescue these turtles themselves. Almost 3,500 comatose turtles have been rescued so far and kept indoors to bring their body temperature up. Wendy Knight, the executive director of Sea Turtle, Inc told The Washington Post, “It’s unprecedented. A cold stun like this could have the potential to wipe out decades of hard work, and we’re going through it with no power and a unique, more catastrophic challenge to our efforts.” She fears many of the turtles may have already succumbed to the cold.
In Houston, several dogs were left outside in the freezing temperatures. While many of these dogs were rescued, one dog was found dead and covered in snow. "You can't leave an animal outside in extreme weather to fend for themselves and not have dire consequences like this," Adam Reynolds, the chief animal cruelty investigator for the Houston SPCA stated, according to ABC 13. "We have zero-tolerance when it comes to cruelty." It is illegal by Texas law to restrain your dog during severe weather conditions. One person has also been for leaving his dogs outside, reported KHOU 11.
Houston pet owners could face criminal charges for leaving their animals out in the cold. According to Texas law, it is illegal for owners to leave a dog outside in extreme weather conditions, including temperatures below 32 degrees. https://t.co/nH1CjPa4AY— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) February 14, 2021
Texas is currently facing a snowstorm with record low temperatures. There have even been power outages for three days, that have failed to heat the homes of hundreds of thousands of Texans.