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.
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.”
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.