Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Two Lions, A Tiger And Some Monkeys Escaped Harvey To Find A New Home At The Austin Zoo

Martin do Nascimento
After escaping flooding during Hurricane Harvey, two lions rescued from a zoo in Victoria have found a home at the Austin Zoo.

It wasn’t just people who found themselves displaced after Hurricane Harvey flooded parts of Texas. Animals escaped the floodwaters, as well – and not just run-of-the-mill house pets.

The Austin Zoo recently took in a tiger, two lions, and a family of tamarin monkeys – all rescued from the Texas Zoo in Victoria, Texas, which flooded after Hurricane Harvey.

Head Curator John Gramieri says there are a lot of challenges to giving new homes to creatures like these.

For one, they need to be kept in quarantine once they arrive. The tiger, for example, showed up with parasites and had to be treated. The quarantine extends to zookeepers who, if they are assigned a new animal, cannot interact with other animals in the general population.

There was also the question of transporting the animals from Victoria, which the Austin Zoo did in crates in an air-conditioned livestock car.

Credit Martin do Nascimento / KUT
Head Curator John Gramieri says the Austin Zoo is suited to take in exotic creatures like the the tamarin monkeys displaced after Harvey.

But, the Austin Zoo, Gramieri says, was well-equipped to take on the challenge.

“That’s what we do. We’re a rescue zoo, and, typically, its not circumstances like this that involve us, but its things like inappropriate pets being surrender to us,

animals being confiscated by law enforcement,” Gramieri said. “But this is a circumstance where we could take these guys in.”

It’s unclear how long the flood evacuees will be here. Depending on how rebuilding goes at the Texas Zoo in Victoria, Gramieri says, Austin could be their new forever home. 

Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.