Monday, November 17, 2008

Fire at Snake Farm Kills Two Baboons

snake farm fireWild animals were just one of the challenges firefighters faced when they arrived at the historic roadside zoo - the Snake Farm - that caught fire late Friday night.

"We were fortunate that it was in the habitat out back and not the main structure where the poisonous snakes are," Patrick O'Connell of New Braunfels Fire Department said.

While the snakes were safe inside, police officers and game wardens armed with tranquilizers were on the lookout for some of the park's unaccounted for primates. "We don't let our people in until we make sure we're not going to hurt them [the animals] and more importantly they're not going to hurt us," O'Connell said.

Once the flames were extinguished workers began checking on all of the different birds, monkeys, and alligators that call the zoo home.

Exotic Animal World spokesperson, Marissa Atamas said the baboons were found, not far from where the fire started. "Our beloved baboons, Mindy and Mufasa expired. Mindy expired in the fire and then Mufasa later on," she said.

Investigators said a lamp used to keep the animals warm during the winter was the cause of the fire and the wind quickly spread the flames.

The Exotic Animal World is a sanctuary for dozens of species. It has just been designated a nonprofit group and is in the process of transitioning into the Comal County River Zoo. New habitats were under construction but unfortunately they weren't completed in time.

For the baboons, the Snake Farm was a retirement home of sorts. Mufasa was a circus performer, but as he matured he was no longer needed.

"This was his haven and his home. Mindy was from a lab and she was donated as well and she was Mufasa's buddy and playmate," Atamas said.

Three tortoises also died in the fire. Atamas said it's amazing that more animals weren't hurt in the fire.

Story here.

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