Animals at Austin Zoo make it through severe winter storm

The Austin Zoo in the southwest part of the city is still rebuilding after the winter weather took a toll on some of its infrastructure. Luckily, zookeepers confirm animals are okay, but it was an uphill battle to make sure they survived.

"A lot of broken branches are down. I mean, they were crashing around us the whole time we were here," said Scott Chambers, director of animal care and veterinary services at the Austin Zoo.

Chambers says the storm was brutal, and the zoo has the aftermath to prove it. "We've got to rebuild the pumps. The water system took a nasty hit, just completely froze up, gaskets busted, there was no water pouring out everywhere, we had to shut it down so that's why we're having to bucket water in and out right now."


The Austin Zoo is home to several different species of animals. Many animals not built to survive the low temperatures Austin experienced all last week. Chambers says they did everything they could to make sure these animals made it through. 

"There were propane heaters brought in to keep the big cats warm, all the primates were insulated and had nice heaters, and the parrots and birds came inside our education building to keep them in a nice warm 70-75 degrees," he said.

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However, some animals loved the snow and took advantage of playing in it.

"[Our white tiger] was out in the snow rolling around, having a blast when we let her out. Obviously, we brought her in at night when the cold temperatures were here, but she didn't seem to have a care in the world," said Chambers.

In San Antonio, a six-month-old tiger was found outside in the freezing cold wearing a harness by the Bexar County Sheriff's Office. The tiger was someone’s pet. The sheriff’s office seized her for being left in the cold and properly naming her "Elsa" due to the conditions they found her in. 


"She's the most adorable little thing you've ever seen," said Noelle Almrud, Director of the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch.

Elsa was brought to her new home, the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, in Murchison, Texas. The ranch was founded in 1979 and is now over 1400 acres large and home to about 800 animals.

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Almrud says Elsa will have plenty of space to roam around. "She can sun herself on a platform, she can hide in the woods, she can run, she can scratch, she can mimic all her wild behaviors without having to worry about people interfering with their life."

The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch runs entirely off donations. If you would like to help them financially, here’s their Amazon wish list.