A border collie in Nashville, TN, has inherited $5 million from her owner.
Lulu, 8, was named in the will of Bill Dorris, who died last year at age 84, WTVF-TV reports. Dorris was described as “an unmarried, successful businessman.”
The dog is now with Dorris’s friend Martha Burton, who had long cared for Lulu when Dorris traveled.
The will states that “5,000,000 will be transferred to a trust to be formed upon my death for the care of my border collie Lulu.” It also stipulates: “This trust is to provide for all the needs of Lulu. The dog will remain in possession of Martha Burton.”
Health officials in Guinea on Sunday confirmed that at least three people have died from Ebola there, the first cases declared since it was one of three West African nations to fight the world’s deadliest Ebola epidemic that ended five years ago. The government has declared an Ebola epidemic and started contact tracing and isolating suspected cases. It’s also sent an emergency team to support local teams in Goueke and has accelerated the procurement of Ebola vaccines from the World Health Organization.
“I confirm it’s Ebola. The results prove it,” Minister of Health Remy Lamah told The Associated Press by phone. The patients were tested for Ebola after showing symptoms of hemorrhagic fever and those who came in contact with the sick are already in isolation, said officials. Guinea’s announcement comes one week after eastern Congo confirmed it also had cases. The cases are not linked.
Health experts in Guinea say these latest cases could be a major setback for the impoverished nation, already battling COVID-19 and which is still recovering from the previous Ebola outbreak, which killed 2,500 in Guinea where it began. More than 11,300 people died in that outbreak which also hit the neighboring countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016. One reason the previous outbreak was so deadly was because the virus wasn’t detected quickly and local authorities and the international community were slow to act when cases first popped up in a rural part of Guinea.
The epidemic’s initial patient, an 18-month-old boy from a small village, was believed to have been infected by bats, but after the case was reported in December 2013, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was weeks before a medical alert was issued and by then the virus had already spread and it took years to end it.
The new cases announced Sunday are in the Nzerekore region, the same place where the previous one started. After hearing the news, locals in the capital, said they worried the country wouldn’t be able to cope with another outbreak. “The news about the Ebola outbreak in Guinea is worrying. We already have difficulties dealing with the coronavirus, now, the health system will be overwhelmed by two pandemics,” said Mamadou Kone, a Conakry resident.
Health experts hope that the availability of an Ebola vaccine will help to quickly control this outbreak. Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids from someone showing Ebola symptoms, or from corpses who were positive. Last month the World Health Organization said it is creating a global emergency stockpile of about 500,000 doses of the Ebola vaccine to help stamp out future outbreaks, but only 7,000 were available at the time of the statement. The Ebola vaccine being stockpiled is made by Merck.
“There are tools and systems that can be mobilized quickly to address these cases. The key will be speed, ensuring appropriate people and materials are where they need to be,” said Donald Brooks, chief executive officer of Initiative: Eau, a U.S. aid group focused on water and sanitation, who has worked on establishing public health emergency response systems in West Africa. “If not and it spreads to urban centers, it could result in disastrous loss of life,” he warned. *******************************
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently announced the launch of the Brave Space Certificate Program, a new initiative formed in collaboration with Pride Veterinary Medical Community (Pride VMC), to promote inclusivity and open conversations about important topics such as sexual harassment and race.
"The Brave Space program was created to provide learners the opportunity to expand their knowledge, engage in self-awareness, building processes, and ultimately come out as a more intentionally committed ally for promoting safe, inclusive environments for every member of the profession,” says Douglas Kratt, DVM, AVMA president, in an association release.
The program offers a self-paced and interactive curriculum that is instructed by field experts and consists of 3 educational categories and 7 modules:
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
- Combating unconscious bias and marginalization
- LGBTQIA identity and understanding
- LGBTQIA inclusion and support
- Understanding and addressing racism
- Plan, prevent, respond
- Preventing workplace harassment
Additionally, participants can earn 1 CE credit for each completed module. After finishing all 7 modules, they will receive an AVMA Brave Space certificate of completion.
"A workplace that offers a safe, welcoming environment is one in which everyone—from team members to patients and clients, to the community which a practice serves—is seen and valued," says Jen Brandt, PhD, AVMA's director of well-being and diversity initiatives. "By recognizing and understanding the diversity within these groups, our differences can be our greatest strength and an asset to your practice."
Some English bulldogs diagnosed with common cancer might not have the disease at all. This is according to newly published Morris Animal Foundation-funded research out of Colorado State University (CSU). While conducting a study to better understand B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (BCLL), researchers discovered English bulldogs thought to have cancer may, in fact, have a non-cancerous syndrome called polyclonal B‐cell lymphocytosis.
“This could save some dogs from being misdiagnosed, treated for cancer, or even euthanized when they shouldn’t be,” says Anne Avery, PhD, VMD, a professor in the university’s department of microbiology, immunology, and pathology. “The dogs may look to their veterinarians like they have leukemia based on original diagnostics, but they don’t actually have cancer.”
In a previously published paper, Dr. Avery and her team identified breeds with an increased risk for BCLL. English bulldogs were among those noted, but had a unique presentation as compared to the other breeds, Morris Animal Foundation reports.
For one, English bulldogs were significantly younger when they presented. Further, they had differences in what their B-cells (i.e. antibody-producing white blood cells) expressed on the cell surface when analyzed by flow cytometry, according to Morris Animal Foundation. This difference led researchers to wonder if the dogs truly had BCLL or a different, previously unidentified disease.
For the newly published retrospective study, the team at CSU looked at a database of 195 English bulldogs and identified 84 cases with increased numbers of B-cells in the blood. Researchers analyzed the serum of these dogs to determine the types of antibodies they produced. Additionally, because many of the animals had enlarged spleens, the team also looked to see what kinds of cells expanded there.
An assay was performed to determine if the B-cells were identical or not. If identical, it would suggest they arose from a single cell and likely would have been cancerous, Morris Animal Foundation says. The team determined 70 percent of the dogs did not have cancer. Those in this group tended to be young, some only a year or two old, when they developed the syndrome. Additionally, 75 percent of the dogs were male and more than half had enlarged spleens. Further, most of the cases had hyperglobulinemia, an excess of antibodies in the blood stream. Researchers hypothesize this syndrome has a genetic basis.
“This important finding demonstrates we shouldn’t assume a high B-cell count always indicates cancer in English bulldogs,” says Morris Animal Foundation’s chief scientific officer, Janet Patterson-Kane, BVSc, PhD, FRCVS. “This is very important information for veterinarians who may initially see these patients in their clinic.” Researchers looking for evidence of this syndrome in other breeds, but believe it to be rare in dogs other than English bulldogs, Morris Animal Foundation reports.
The findings have been published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Ensuring the safe and humane transport of horses is the aim of a bipartisan bill recently reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
First put forward in 2008, the Horse Transportation Safety Act (HTSA) would bar the use of double-deck trailers to haul horses in interstate commerce. The practice, says the bill’s longtime supporter the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), endangers both animals and motorists on state, federal, and local roadways.
Last July, HTSA passed in the U.S. House of Representatives as part of a larger federal transportation package, but the Senate failed to vote on the legislation. It was reintroduced Feb. 8 by Congress members Steve Cohen (Tennessee), Dina Titus (Nevada), and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania) with the support of an additional 103 cosponsors.
According to AWI, the impetus for the bill was a 2007 incident in which a double-deck trailer carrying 59 Belgian draft horses overturned in Wadsworth, Ill. Nineteen of the animals were killed.
“Horses deserve to be transported in as humane a manner as possible on our highways,” Cohen says. “Double-deck trailers do not provide adequate headroom for adult horses, and accidents involving double-deck trailers are an unnecessary and gruesome reminder that the practice is also dangerous to all of the driving public.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends ceiling clearance of 7 to 8 feet for horses, AWI says. Double-deck trailers typically only offer clearance of up to 5-and-a-half feet, which may not allow horses to stand comfortably or even fully extend their heads and necks inside, the group adds.
“The use of double-deck trailers to transport horses is inhumane and can lead to debilitating injuries, while endangering others on the road,” says AWI equine program manager and senior advisor, Joanna Grossman, PhD. “Since we have incredible champions in Congress who care about the safety of America’s horses, we are optimistic this bill will ultimately pass this session.”
The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, is proud to honor K9 Arlo of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office with the 2021 AKC Paw of CourageSM award as he recovers from two bullet wounds that he sustained while working in the line of duty in January. The AKC Paw of Courage shows appreciation for the work that dogs do in the service of humankind. These awards recognize dogs who serve their communities honorably, making great impacts in the lives of their human counterparts.
“K9 Arlo of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department is a shining example of the dedication, selflessness and loyalty that working dogs exhibit in the line of duty,” said AKC Executive Secretary, Gina DiNardo. “He risks his life each and every day to protect his community and we are honored to recognize him with a Paw of Courage award. We wish him a speedy recovery as he heals from his recent injury.”
K9 Arlo is a two-year-old German Shepherd Dog working to serve the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office with his partner, Deputy Turpin since late 2019. As deputies attempted to make contact with a vehicle that was driving recklessly this past January, a pursuit initiated. When law enforcement made contact with the driver, shots were fired, and the suspect and K9 Arlo were both struck. Arlo was rushed to the emergency veterinarian with two bullet wounds – one in his shoulder and another in his hind leg. One bullet was discovered to be lodged near Arlo’s spine, requiring a major surgery.
Using the social media app, TikTok, Deputy Turpin has gained 65,000 followers for K9 Arlo, contributing to the $40,000 raised for his care. K9 Arlo is now home with his partner, Deputy Turpin and is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries.
Any dog is eligible to receive an AKC Paw of Courage; the award is not specific to purebred dogs. Paw of Courage awards can be presented to Police K-9s, Military Working Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Service Dogs and other canines that work to make the lives of the people around them safer, easier or just simply happier.
One of America's leading pig slaughterhouses is running faster than ever as meatpackers hustle to keep pork in grocery stores during the COVID-19 pandemic. Plant worker Hector Ixquier says it's time to slow down. Ixquier said he sought medical treatment in January for tendons he strained in his right arm while draining blood from pigs in a Seaboard Foods pork plant in Guymon, Oklahoma. The 30-year-old immigrant from Guatemala said he requested a transfer to the position piercing jugular veins about five months ago, after an increase in slaughtering speeds made it too tiring to do his previous job: wrestling chains around pigs' hind legs before they are killed. His new job is also physically taxing, and a doctor recommended rest and avoiding certain tasks at work, Ixquier said in an interview. "I'm thankful for the opportunity,” he said of the new gig, “but it's still too fast."
Seaboard, the second-biggest U.S. pig producer after Smithfield Foods, sped up its Guymon operations last year after the U.S. government removed limits on pork plant line speeds in late 2019. It was the first plant to operate under the new rule, which was intended to allow processors to produce meat more quickly. But some workers, like Ixquier, say they have suffered physically as a result. Seaboard now requires employees to slaughter between about 1,230 and 1,300 hogs per hour, two plant workers who are also union stewards told Reuters. That compares to under 1,100 an hour in 2019, said one of the workers, Jose Quinonez.
Workers and their advocates say the rule change is part of a series of measures finalized by former President Donald Trump’s administration that jeopardize employee safety, including exempting dozens of poultry plants from slower line speeds and re-opening plants battling COVID-19. The changes, and prevalence of COVID-19 at slaughterhouses, have made it harder to keep workers in their jobs at a time when U.S. companies are trying to build up meat supplies. Seaboard, which didn’t respond to questions about Ixquier, said employee health is a top priority. The company, a subsidiary of Kansas-based Seaboard Corp, works to improve processes and equipment and hires additional employees to help ensure each worker's load is manageable and safe, said Seaboard spokesman David Eaheart.
Eaheart added that the rule relaxing pork line speed limits improves Seaboard's ability to adjust operations based on demand. Seaboard aims to average 1,200 pigs per hour under normal conditions, but has adjusted speeds as the pandemic has reduced staffing, he said. The company needs to examine how the plant will work under non-COVID-19 conditions to “truly understand” how the change affects it business, Eaheart said. Under the new rule, pork plants can slaughter as fast as they want, as long as they prevent fecal contamination and minimize bacteria. Previously, the government-imposed limit was 1,106 pigs per hour.
President Joe Biden's administration, which pledges to prioritize worker safety, withdrew a Trump era proposal to allow all poultry plants to operate faster. But reversing the pork rule would be trickier, lawyers said, because it is already in effect. The 2019 elimination of pork line speeds by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was part of the New Swine Inspection System, which also lets pork plants use some company inspectors instead of USDA ones. The USDA said that it isn’t considering a rollback of its elimination of pork line speeds. But it said the agency is “closely examining” how the new pork inspection system was developed.
The White House did not respond to questions about line speeds. ******************
NASA's Mars rover Perseverance, the most advanced astrobiology lab ever sent to another world, streaked through the Martian atmosphere on Thursday and landed safely inside a vast crater, the first stop on a search for traces of ancient microbial life on the Red Planet.
Mission managers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles burst into applause, cheers and fist-bumps as radio beacons signaled that the rover had survived its perilous descent and arrived as planned on the floor of Jezero Crater, site of a long-vanished Martian lake bed.
The six-wheeled vehicle came to rest about 2 kilometers from towering cliffs at the foot of a remnant fan-shaped river delta etched into a corner of the crater billions of years ago and considered a prime spot for geo-biological study on Mars.
The robotic vehicle sailed through space for nearly seven months, covering 293 million miles (472 million km) before piercing the Martian atmosphere at 12,000 miles per hour (19,000 km per hour) to begin its descent to the planet's surface. Moments after touchdown, Perseverance beamed back its first black-and-white images from the Martian surface, one of them showing the rover's shadow cast on the desolate, rocky landing site.
Because it takes radio waves 11 minutes to travel from Mars to Earth, the SUV-sized rover had already reached Martian soil by the time its arrival was confirmed by signals relayed to Earth from one of several satellites orbiting Mars. The spacecraft's self-guided descent and landing during a complex series of maneuvers that NASA dubbed "the seven minutes of terror" stands as the most elaborate and challenging feat in the annals of robotic spaceflight.
The landing represented the riskiest part of two-year, $2.7 billion endeavor whose primary aim is to search for possible fossilized signs of microbes that may have flourished on Mars some 3 billion years ago, when the fourth planet from the sun was warmer, wetter and potentially hospitable to life.
Scientists hope to find biosignatures embedded in samples of ancient sediments that Perseverance is designed to extract from Martian rock for future analysis back on Earth - the first such specimens ever collected by humankind from another planet. Two subsequent Mars missions are planned to retrieve the samples and return them to NASA in the next decade, in collaboration with the European Space Agency.
Thursday's landing also came as a triumph for a pandemic-weary United States, still gripped by economic and social upheaval from the COVID-19 pandemic. The public health crisis emerged in the months before the rover was launched in July and complicated execution of the Mars mission.
U.S. President Joe Biden, watching NASA coverage of the event at the White House, tweeted his congratulations, saying, "Today proved once again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility."
The American Kennel Club Publications Department captivated at the 2020 Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) Competition – winning a total of an unprecedented 10 awards!
“I’m proud of the recognition that our very talented, professional and experienced Publications staff has received,” said Director of AKC Publications, Russell Bianca. “Their hard work and dedication — to providing the best quality, informative and entertaining publications, both print and digital — has been acknowledged by the many awards we attained for our magazines in 2020.”
This year’s winners include first-time winner Dr. Jeff Grognet, who had been writing AKC Family Dog Vet’s View column for 16 years. This honor was for the first in his new series of Medical Mysteries, in which he presents a baffling case and describes how he diagnosed the cause.
AKC Family Dog magazine also won the single photo award for our cover shot of Cocker Spaniel Elvis by Donna Bielawski. Elvis is a grand champion show dog, top-level agility competitor, and therapy dog. The photo was taken after a weekend in which he competed in a conformation show, followed by an agility trial.
For a complete list of awards won by AKC Family Dog below
The AKC Gazette is the flagship magazine of the American Kennel Club. Published monthly since 1889, it is recognized as the official journal for the sport of purebred dogs. The following categories and awards were release by the Dog Writer’s Association of America:
Awards won by AKC Family Dog:
- Magazines: Single, Related, or All Breed
AKC Family Dog, Mara Bovsun, Managing Editor
- Magazine Article: Health
Jeff Grognet—“Mark of the Wolf”
- Magazine Article: Behavior or Training
Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz—“Shutter Dog Support”
- Article: Rescue
Jen Reeder—"These Precious Days”
- Article: Breed
Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz—"The Golden Age of Heroes”
- Single Photo
Elvis, by Donna Bielawski, AKC Family Dog cover photo
- The Grey Muzzle Award
Jen Reeder, “These Precious Days”
- The Harrison Stephens Inspirational Feature Award
Catherine Warren, “A Change of Plans”
Awards won by AKC Gazette:
- Article/Column: Art or Any Other Topic
Bud Boccone and Kate McCroary – “The Canine Muse”
- Online Magazine
Bud Boccone, Managing Editor
For information on subscribing to AKC Publications, visit https://www.akc.org/products-services/magazines/.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association Inc. — the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats — has tallied its worldwide registration statistics for 2020 to determine the most popular cat breeds. CFA accepts 46 pedigreed breeds for registration, and registers companion cats and rescued non-pedigree cats under its Companion Cat World program.
2020’s most popular breed is the Ragdoll, which also topped the list in 2019. Large and longhaired, with a soft, plush coat, the Ragdoll is noted for its intense blue eyes and mellow disposition.
In the number two spot is another repeat, the Exotic. Developed to create an easier-care alternative for lovers of the Persian type, the Exotic has a shorter coat that is plush, dense, and full of life. Rounding out the top three is the Maine Coon Cat. Averaging anywhere from 10 to over 20 pounds, these “gentle giants” are known for their shaggy coats and dramatic tufted ears.
In fourth place is the Persian, one of the most popular breeds around the world. The luxuriously long coat, large, expressive eyes, and easygoing temperament endear it to cat lovers everywhere.
Number five is the British Shorthair, prized for its physical strength and hunting ability. Most popular in the color blue, the Brits also come in many other colors and have incredibly dense coats.
Often described as the little elf of the cat fancy, the Devon Rex finished in sixth place. Loved for soft, wavy coats, intensely expressive eyes and huge batwing ears, they are friendly, outgoing, and cuddly.
Number seven is the Abyssinian, known for its resemblance to the hunting cats shown in ancient Egyptian tomb paintings. These active, agile cats were first brought to North America in the early 1900s.
The eighth most popular breed is the American Shorthair. Selectively bred from cats that traveled with the original settlers, these cats have powerful builds and strong jaws yet a sweet and playful personality.
Number nine is the Scottish Fold, whose folded ears and big round eyes give it a unique, owl-like expression. Folds are much sought after, but since not all kittens will have folded ears, it is hard for the supply to meet current demand.
In tenth place is the hairless Sphynx, bred from a natural mutation. Breeders have outcrossed to normal-coated cats and back to hairless cats to produce a genetically sound cat with hybrid vigor. These nude kitties have outgoing, attention-loving temperaments.
Eleventh place must also be noted—it’s the registered Companion Cat, which actually makes up 95% of the mainstream cat population in the U.S. Companion Cats compete in their own class at CFA shows and will have their very own virtual competition later in February.
One look at their little masked faces and there is no doubt about it -- Raccoons are adorable. But while these wily critters are certainly cute and cuddly looking, they're not exactly the easiest pets in the world. While enthusiasts and wildlife rehabbers will tell you they are fascinating and loving companions, keeping raccoons as pets is rare for a reason. There's a lot to take into account before deciding to bring a raccoon into your home! Yes! In many areas of the United States, keeping a captive raccoon as a pet is perfectly legal. However, you should check state and county laws first; Even if your state allows you to keep a raccoon, some city ordinances will prohibit homeowners from keeping these exotic pets. If they are permitted where you live, the best way to get a pet raccoon is through an established breeder. Raccoons bred and raised in a home with humans can bond more easily and adjust faster to life as domestic animals as opposed to a wild raccoon. As of 2020, here are the states where it is reportedly legal to own a pet raccoon:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- Rhode Island
- West Virgnia
Raccoons can be remarkably affectionate. They can become very attached to their owners and spend long periods of time snuggling. However, if they are afraid or become angry, they can and will bite. There have also been accounts of abandoned baby raccoons or young raccoons being good pets, but adult raccoons becoming mean. Raccoons are very independent and still have wild instincts. There will be days where they want to play and cuddle all the time, and others were they want to treat to their own space. Because of that, they usually need a full room inside or an outdoor enclosure that is entirely theirs. They need plenty of toys to keep them occupied, bedding, and things to climb on and explore. If they are not given enough space to roam and enough toys to play with, they can become very destructive and inquisitive, getting into places you wouldn't expect and causing damage. Raccoons also need special care to keep them healthy within your home. They should eat a diet primarily made up of fresh vegetables and fruits. Some chicken or fish, or high-quality dog food, should be used to supplement their varied diet. While these small animals can be trained to use a litter box, if you irritate them, they will willfully punish you by having accidents and leave their feces around the home; Raccoons hold grudges! Raccoons can learn their name and other commands, but because they are very clever, they can be selective about when they want to obey. In captivity, raccoons are known to have a life expectancy between 10-15 years old. They do require some veterinarian care, and it can be difficult to find a doctor willing to see a raccoon since they aren't common pets. You will typically have to look for an exotic or wild animal vet. Your raccoon will also have to be vaccinated for rabies and canine distemper. In addition, raccoons are susceptible to Baylisascaris parasites, a type of roundworm unique to these wild animals. Raccoons can be loving and sweet pets, but they require a great deal of work and maintenance as they are still wild animals. They are not the kind of domestic pets you can leave alone for very long; When they get bored, your house can be destroyed in your absence! The best thing you can do is research raccoons' needs and behaviors thoroughly before bringing one home. If you're considering raccoon ownership, make sure that all of your family members are on board with the commitment and the ways that having a raccoon in your home can offer a very real sense of enrichment to your life! *****
Scientists are introducing the world to a black-footed ferret named Elizabeth Ann — the first-ever endangered U.S. species to be cloned.
Elizabeth Ann was born on Dec. 10 after being created from the frozen cells of another black-footed ferret named Willa, who died over 30 years ago, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Once thought to be completely extinct, a small population of black-footed ferrets — one of North America's rarest land mammals — was discovered in 1981 by a Wyoming rancher.
Although the Wyoming Game & Fish Department were able to successfully capture over a dozen black-footed ferrets, the population had "limited genetic diversity," which would leave any potential offspring "more susceptible to diseases and genetic abnormalities."
Elizabeth Ann's story truly began in 1988, when the Wyoming department sent frozen cell samples from a black-footed ferret named Willa to San Diego Zoo Global's Frozen Zoo.
Subsequent genetic studies showed that Willa's samples "possessed three times more unique variations than the living population."
Although the entire process was years in the making, scientists didn't have to wait long for Elizabeth Ann's arrival.
Just two weeks after their first trial began on Halloween, scientists confirmed the surrogate was pregnant — and on Dec. 10, Elizabeth Ann arrived via C-section, according to The New York Times.
As for Elizabeth Ann's future, she'll live out the rest of her life at Colorado's Ferret Conservation Center — and hopefully add some cloned siblings, and mates, to her family.
"San Diego Zoo Global's Frozen Zoo was created more than 40 years ago with the hope that it would provide solutions to future conservation challenges," Oliver Ryder, the director of conservation genetics at San Diego Zoo Global, said in a press release. "We are delighted that we have been able to cryobank and, years later, provide viable cell cultures for this groundbreaking project."
"It was a commitment to seeing this species survive that has led to the successful birth of Elizabeth Ann. To see her now thriving ushers in a new era for her species and for conservation-dependent species everywhere," added Ryan Phelan, Revive & Restore's executive director. "She is a win for biodiversity and for genetic rescue."
Approximately 12 animals have died at a Texas sanctuary as a result of Winter Storm Uri, which pummeled the state this week and left many without power. In a statement posted Wednesday on Primarily Primates's website, Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals — an animal-advocacy group that has managed the sanctuary, Primarily Primates, since 2007 — addressed the deaths at the San Antonio primate sanctuary. "Every animal matters to us, and we are devastated," Feral shared in her statement.
Brooke Chavez, Primarily Primates' executive director, told the San Antonio Express-News that, before now, she has "never faced a decision" like the one she has to now: "Having to decide who we can save, depending on the predictability of which animals we can catch." She added, "I never, ever thought my office would turn into a morgue, but it has."
Among the deceased are several monkeys and lemurs, as well as one chimpanzee. The sanctuary tweeted on Wednesday that they are working to save all of their animals and that they have "evacuated [dozens] of animals and kept others, [including] 32 chimps, baboons, monkeys + lemurs in heated bedrooms."
"We know this unprecedented Arctic blast is taking a toll on humans, which is why we are so grateful to the San Antonio Zoo staff for helping us transport and care for animals as well as the more than 60 volunteers who have organized meetups and driven their 4x4s in treacherous conditions to bring us supplies," Feral added in her statement. She continued, "Their kindness brings some comfort during this nightmare. They are heroes, and so are our staff members."
One of the animals who died, 58-year-old Violet, was the most senior chimpanzee at the sanctuary, "but she certainly did not act like it despite her pre-existing conditions," Primarily Primates shared in their release about the deaths. According to the sanctuary, Violet "most likely" died from a stroke and did not die as a result of hypothermia, the sanctuary described the primate as "young at heart, outgoing and spirited."
"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," Primarily Primates continued. "Violet, who was used in biomedical research, also liked watching movies and looking at her reflection in her care staff member's iPhone selfie mode."
Chavez reports, according to Primarily Primate's release, "that currently all the chimpanzees are doing well and are keeping warm with properly ventilated propane heaters." "Staff members check on them every 20 minutes around the clock," they continued. "All other primates who remain on the property are comfortable and being provided with heat with the use of generators and heaters."
The 70-acre, San Antonio-based sanctuary, founded in 1978 and serving as "the first to rescue chimpanzees requiring lifetime care following medical research," is still looking for volunteers and donations of "jugs of water, gasoline for 12 generators + refilling of empty propane tanks," they tweeted on Thursday. Those wishing to make a contribution to the sanctuary can do so under the "Donate" tab at primarilyprimates.org. *********************