Story at a glance

  • Amid mass blackouts, 12 primates died due to cold temperatures that are besieging Texas.
  • Other zoos across the state are working to relocate vulnerable animals.

Twelve primates who called San Antonio home died amid freezing temperatures after a prolonged power outage at their sanctuary, while millions of people across the South struggled with the same blackouts.

Primarily Primates, in Bexar County, Texas, lost power on Monday. The official Twitter confirmed that the sanctuary received power back early Friday morning.   



In a statement released on Wednesday, the nonprofit said that its staff and volunteers worked amid the cold climate to keep the hundreds of animals housed in the sanctuary safe, often using heaters and generators to temporarily heat spaces. 

Among the 12 animals that perished were monkeys, lemurs and one chimpanzee. The single chimpanzee was named Violet, and at 58 she was the oldest resident at Primarily Primates.

“Every animal matters to us and we are devastated,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, which has managed the sanctuary since 2007. All the sanctuary’s residents are rescues from animal abuse or experiments, Feral said. Feral acknowledged that more than 60 volunteers supported the zoo’s staff by organizing drives to source supplies. 

“Their kindness brings some comfort during this nightmare,” she added. “They are heroes, and so are our staff members.”

Other zoos and animal sanctuaries in Texas have been keeping a close watch over their animal occupants, with some species being relocated to warmer indoor climates.



Some animals, however, such as the African wild dogs at the Dallas Zoo, are enjoying their surprise snowy experience.



Published on Feb 19, 2021