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While the animals in the Houston Zoo were safe and snug during Harvey, a nearby zoo wasn’t so lucky.

The Texas Zoo in Victoria  has struggled throughout its existence. Largely supported by donations and fundraisers — the city pays just 18 percent of costs, plus water and sewer — the zoo cannot afford to make necessary safety upgrades to protect zookeepers and animals during a massive weather event.

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The zoo learned a tragic lesson in 1998 when a flood devastated the facility and took 75 animals. Though it fared better during Harvey’s wrath, zookeepers were once again forced to seek safety on the roof of the facility.


A month after Harvey, nine animals are confirmed dead, with another 12 still missing.

In the tragedy, however, a few of the zoo’s animals are getting a new start. Two lions, a tiger, and a family of tamarin monkeys are settling into the Austin Zoo.

“That’s what we do,” head curator John Gramieri explained. “We’re a rescue zoo, and, typically, its not circumstances like this that involve us, but its things like inappropriate pets being surrender to us, animals being confiscated by law enforcement.”

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The animals will quarantined before they are introduced to other animals in the facility so zookeepers can monitor them for illness or parasites — the tiger already has a confirmed parasite infection.

Although it’s possible the animals will return to the Texas Zoo once repairs are made, it’s likely the Austin Zoo is their new fur-ever home.

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