The Chihuahua Zoo is located in northern Mexico in the state of Chihuahua, about an hour north of Chihuahua City in Aldama. A powerful cold front brought temperatures down to five degrees Fahrenheit.
The zoo owner told CNN that a combination of factors led to the animals’ deaths. The cold front was unexpected and the civil protection agency didn’t alert the public. The freezing temperatures knocked out the electricity to the zoo and so night watchmen turned on the gas heaters without realizing that the gas lines had also frozen.
Saturday morning they found that the population had been decimated, a tenth of the animal population frozen to death. One monkey, 44 birds, including peacocks and parrots, 12 snakes, three crocodiles and five iguanas were found dead in the zoo.
The monkey that died was a six-month-old Capuchin named Botitas.
Many other animals suffered considerably but survived the wintry nightmare. Despite having lost electricity for two days, along with a tenth of its animals, the zoo was open for business on Monday, although the owner says he expects to lose money because of the dead animals.
It is telling that the article mentions the economic hit that the zoo will take, but doesn’t talk at all about the tragedy of 65 animals freezing to death because the humans who are paid to “care” for them didn’t do their jobs.
Zoos do not exist to care for animals; they exist to display animals for human entertainment and zoo employees are paid to provide for and protect animals insofar as it is economically viable and helpful to their profits. A six-month-old Capuchin is nothing to a zoo but a tourist attraction and his death is nothing but a loss of revenue.
Animals do not exist for our entertainment any more than they exist for our consumption. If you want to help animals, then boycott zoos and instead support sanctuaries that give animals a real home instead of a cage to live in and be gawked at humans.
Major zoos in America get over a million visitors annually, while organizations that work to save and protect animals struggle to get enough funding to operate.
As much as we want to be able to see animals and be close to them, we have to change our outlook and the organizations we support if we want to see a better world for animals, a world where they don’t freeze to death by the dozens overnight when zoo employees drop the ball.
Photo: Open Cage