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Twelve primates — including a beloved 58-year-old chimpanzee — died at a Texas animal sanctuary amid a crippling statewide power outage and historically low temperatures, the wildlife center said.
Primarily Primates, which houses hundreds of animals formerly exploited by researchers near San Antonio, also lost several monkeys and lemurs as workers scrambled to set up generators to warm the sprawling facility, the sanctuary said in a statement.
“Every animal matters to us and we are devastated,” said Priscilla Feral, president of the nonprofit Friends of Animals, which manages the sanctuary.
Workers rushed to evacuate the primates and transport them to the San Antonio Zoo before they succumb to conditions sparked by the frigid weather and lack of electricity.
“While the staff and volunteers work tirelessly around the clock to evacuate dozens of animals from the 78-acre sanctuary and use heaters and generators to keep the remaining animals safe – they are also mourning the loss of approximately 12 animals, including monkeys, lemurs and one chimpanzee,” the sanctuary said.
One of the primates — a chimp named Violet who had previously been used for biomedical research — died from unknown causes amid the power outage, according to the sanctuary, which noted she may have suffered a stroke.
”She was young at heart, outgoing and spirited,” the sanctuary said. “She loved to explore her habitat, which sits up on a hill overlooking the pond at Primarily Primates, where she had a great view of waterfowl and other wildlife. [She] also liked watching movies and looking at her reflection in her care staff member’s iPhone selfie mode.”
Ventilated propane heaters have since been set up at the 78-acre wildlife center, which was still without power as of Thursday morning.
At least nine people have also died in Texas after a powerful winter storm struck the state on Monday.
With Post wires
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