Animals at Austin Zoo make it through severe winter storm

Animals at the Austin Zoo make it through a severe winter storm

Austin Zoo is rebuilding after last week’s storm tore several trees and froze some water pipes and pumps, but zookeepers confirm the animals made it.

The Austin Zoo, in the southwest of the city, is still under construction after the winter weather has damaged some of its infrastructure. Fortunately, zookeepers confirm the animals are fine, but it was an uphill battle to make sure they survived.

“A lot of broken branches have come down. I mean, they have been collapsing around us all along,” 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 consequences to prove it. “We have to rebuild the pumps. The water system has received a nasty blow, is just completely frozen, the seals have broken, no water has flowed out anywhere, we had to switch it off, so we have to shovel water in and out now.”


The Austin Zoo is home to a variety of animal species. Lots of animals that weren’t built to survive the low temperatures Austin experienced last week. Chambers says they went out of their way to make sure these animals made it through.

“Propane heaters were put in to keep the big cats warm, all of the primates were insulated and had nice heaters, and the parrots and birds came to our education building to keep them nice and warm 70-75 degrees,” he said.

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However, some animals loved the snow and used the game in it.

“”[Our white tiger] was out in the snow and had a great time letting them out. Of course we brought her in at night when the cold temperatures were here, but she didn’t seem to care about the world, “Chambers said.

A six month old tiger with a harness was found outside in San Antonio during the freezing cold of the year by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. The tiger was someone’s pet. She was confiscated by the sheriff’s office because she had been left in the cold and correctly called her “Elsa” because of the conditions in which she was in.


Elsa, the tigress, checks out her new home in the Texas wildlife sanctuary

Elsa is checking out her new home at a North Texas animal shelter. Credit: The Humane Society of the United States via Storyful

“She’s the most adorable little thing you’ve ever seen,” said Noelle Almrud, director of the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch.

Elsa was taken to her new home, the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, in Murchison, Texas. The ranch was founded in 1979 and is now over 1,400 acres and is home to around 800 animals.

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Almrud says Elsa will have plenty of space to walk around. “She can sunbathe on a platform, she can hide in the woods, she can run, she can scratch, she can imitate all of her wild behaviors without worrying about people disturbing her life.”

Elsa the tiger, who was rescued during the winter storm in Texas, is getting a new home

The tiger was found at temperatures unsuitable for them. Photo credit: Bexar County Sheriff’s Office via Storyful

The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch is entirely dependent on donations. If you want to help them financially, you can find their Amazon wish list here.

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