12 Animals Die At Texas Sanctuary Amid Arctic Cold Snap

by : Emily Brown on : 18 Feb 2021 18:28
12 Animals Die At Texas Sanctuary Amid Arctic Cold SnapPrimarilyPrimates/Facebook/PA Images

A nonprofit animal sanctuary caring for primates in Texas has announced the death of 12 animals amid the ongoing Arctic cold snap. 

Millions of Texas residents have been experiencing blackouts since the arrival of the winter storm earlier this week, when a surge in demand for power prompted the state’s electricity grid to fail.


Among those without power is the Bexar County sanctuary Primarily Primates, which provides lifetime care for hundreds of animals, including 32 chimpanzees.

Monkey at Texas sanctuaryPrimarily Primates/Facebook

In a statement released on its website, the sanctuary explained that it has been without power since Monday morning, February 15.

In the wake of the extreme weather, staff and volunteers worked around the clock to evacuate dozens of animals from the 78-acre sanctuary, while also relying on heaters and generators to keep the remaining animals safe from the cold.


Despite their efforts, the sanctuary announced that it has sadly lost 12 animals, including monkeys, lemurs and one chimpanzee named Violet. Priscilla Feral, president of sanctuary manager Friends of Animals, said staff are ‘devastated’ at the loss of the creatures, noting, ‘Every animal matters to us.’

Chimpanzee at Texas sanctuaryPrimarily Primates/Facebook

Feral also expressed thanks to staff from the San Antonio Zoo, which has been helping transport and care for the animals.

She commented:


We know this unprecedented Arctic blast is taking a toll on humans, which is why we are so grateful to the San Antonio Zoo staff… as well as the more than 60 volunteers who have organized meetups and driven their 4x4s in treacherous conditions to bring us supplies.

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

Texas weatherPA Images

Violet was the oldest chimp at Primarily Primates, though the sanctuary noted that she ‘certainly did not act like it’. She had previously been used in biomedical research and is thought to have died from a stroke.

Brooke Chavez, executive director at Primarily Primates, has assured that the rest of the chimpanzees are doing well and keeping warm in the cold snap with properly-ventilated propane heaters. Staff members are checking on them every 20 minutes.

Chimpanzee at Texas sanctuaryPrimarily Primates/Facebook

Staff are also making sure all the other primates on the property are comfortable and being provided with heat through the use of generators and heaters.

In an update posted on Facebook today, staff said the sanctuary had received ‘plenty of blankets and a dozen donated generators’ from people looking to help, though they are still in need of gasoline and propane for the heaters, as well as water, more generators, paper towels, cleaning supplies and mop solution.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Animals, Now, Texas


Primarily Primates and 1 other
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    Primarily Primates’ staff, volunteers make heroic efforts to protect animals from historic Texas freeze

  2. Primarily Primates/Facebook