San Antonio Zoo takes on ‘The Big Move’ during record cold

Without warm water, reptiles, fish, birds moved indoors

About 100 reptiles, fish and birds were among those that San Antonio Zoo staff spent several hours Monday moving indoors.

SAN ANTONIO – About 100 reptiles, fish and birds were among those that San Antonio Zoo staff spent several hours Monday moving indoors.

With no power, there was no warm water in their ponds.

“When the water pump turned off, that means that it doesn’t circulate the water to keep it warm,” said Tamara Kruse, assistant director of veterinary services at the zoo.

She said many of them rely on warm water to protect their immune system from infection or illness.

But now, thanks to a generator for the water pump, donated by Holt Cat and Texas First Rentals. They’ll be returned to where they were as soon as it gets warmer, probably the middle of next week, said Hope Roth, spokeswoman for the San Antonio Zoo.

Rachel Malstaff, the zoo’s director of mammals, was among the staff that physically moved each and every animal.

Malstaff said horticulture, maintenance, all the animal care departments, and others, as well as its “ride-out teams” that stayed at the zoo, even the culinary staff who prepared meals for everyone, was involved in the effort.

For now, she said the flamingos are in the Riverview restaurant, alligators and crocodiles are on the floor inside the Africa Live exhibit where the hippos are.

However, Roth said the Nile crocodile, the largest one, is alone near the venomous snake exhibits.

“Hopefully, it’ll start warming up soon and we can get back to normal,” Malstaff said.

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About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.