NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – The operators of Animal World and Snake Farm say a heat lamp is to blame for a weekend fire that killed two baboons in their enclosure.
The baboons Mufasa and Mindy were originally reported as missing after the Friday night fire, but Animal World workers found the two in their winter home, which was not visible from the outside because of the smoke coming from the enclosure. Mindy died in the fire and Mufasa died early Saturday while being treated by a veterinarian.
The baboons had been at the facility for nine years.
"I've been with those guys for years," said Jarrod Forthman, a caretaker of the primates at Animal World. "They were both rescued animals coming from bad situations. You always hold a special place and care for the rescue animals."
Mufasa was originally used in circus acts and Mindy was used in a lab for product testing, Forthman said,
Three tortoises also died in the fire. Animal World spokeswoman Marissa Atamas said no other animals were harmed.
She said the fire started from a heat lamp hanging in the baboons' house, Atamas said.
Darren Brinkkoeter, the New Braunfels Fire Department battalion chief, said the fire was still under investigation but appeared to be accidental.