CIUDAD JUAREZ, México – At least 34 animals, including two crocodiles and a monkey, died at a zoo in Chihuahua state from the wave of arctic temperatures that have affected northern Mexico over the last few days, where seven people have died of the same freezing weather, authorities said Saturday.
The death from hypothermia of an inmate at the Ciudad Juarez municipal jail and of another person in a fire – apparently started by a bonfire to keep away the cold – raised to five the number of victims in the state of Chihuahua, while two more fatalities occurred in the neighboring state of Tamaulipas.
Meanwhile, the dramatic drop in temperatures, which plunged as low as 20 C (4 F) below zero in some towns in Chihuahua state, caused the deaths of 34 animals in the zoo at Ciudad Aldama, located some 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of the like-named state capital.
Five iguanas, two crocodiles, a capuchin monkey, 15 parakeets and 12 serpents lost their lives from hypothermia, the owner of the Serenguetti Zoo, Alberto Hernandez, said.
The owner said that the icy temperatures in most of the state over past few days caused power outages that forced personnel to try and warm some parts of the zoo with wood fires in an attempt to save the animals’ lives.
But the extreme cold, which began last Wednesday with temperatures not seen in the region since 1956, caused the animals’ deaths.
At the same time, dozens of birds died of the cold before dawn Saturday in Chihuahua at a sports club in the capital, its administrators said.