Zoo Animals Freeze to Death in Mexico
During the weekend, and icy cold front swept through northern Mexico, leaving 65 zoo animals dead.
Amongst some of the victims of the cold snap include peacocks, crocodiles, and parrots. Temperatures dropped to as low as 5F (-15C) on Saturday morning at the Chihuahua Zoo in Aldama, 1 hour north of Chihuahua.
This alarming amount of deaths represents 10% of the zoo’s animals. Its owner, Alberto Hernandez, said that there were several compounding factors for the deaths. As the temperature unexpectedly dropped so low, the area’s civil protection agency did not send out an advisory for the extremely cold weather that they had on the weekend so zoo keepers did not take any extra precautions before leaving work on Friday night.
As the inclement weather knocked out the power lines to the zoo, this caused heaters and heating lamps to cease working. As a result, without electricity, the night watchmen turned on the gas lines. However, what these watchmen did not know is that when they turned on the gas heaters, they just left it at that. However, they did not know that the gas lines were frozen.
It was only until 6 am the next morning when an emergency generator was turned on, that zoo officials became aware of the whole situation. They were devastated to find a menagerie of animals including 20 hens, 10 peacocks, 5 iguanas, 3 crocodiles, 12 snakes, 14 parrots and parrakeets, and 1 Capcuin monkey had died.
Hernandez said, “There were lots of factors that led to this accident happening. We are accustomed to extreme weather, but nothing like this.”
The Capuchin monkey called Botitas or Little Boots was only 6 months old. It has been born at the zoo, and his parents including his father, Boots, was brought from Central America. There are no more crocodiles at the zoo, as the 3 crocodiles were brought in from Sinaloa, Mexico.
Another challenge that the zoo faced was frozen water pipes. This meant that hoses could not be used to fill the animals’ food bowls. Instead, warm water had to be brought in from outside. Additional workers were also brought in to care for the caged animals that needed the most help.
These people were able to save other animals which were dying from hypothermia. This included a stallion and 2 monkeys.
Electricity was restored on Sunday. The zoo opened for business as usual on Monday, although he expected an economic hit from the loss of these animals. Hernandez said, “It’s impossible to be prepared for something so unpredictable.”