April 13, 2024

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico is closing the U.S. territory’s only zoo next decades of suspected negligence, a deficiency of means and deaths of animals that ended up highlighted by activists.

The Dr. Juan A. Rivero Zoo in the western coastal town of Mayaguez has remained shut considering the fact that hurricanes Irma and Maria battered the island in September 2017, with activists questioning the point out of the zoo’s additional than 300 animals and their upcoming.

Puerto Rico’s federal government introduced the permanent closure of the 45-acre zoo Monday as federal authorities investigate allegations of mistreatment of animals.

“Animal welfare arrives 1st,” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi advised reporters. “Questions have been lifted for a lengthy time.”

Previously this thirty day period, U.S. Attorney Stephen Muldrow introduced that authorities from The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado would examine and examine the animals, indicating that “the risk-free and humane care for all zoo animals is a top rated priority of the Justice Division.”

Sanctuary officials frequented the zoo on Sunday — a go to that was intended to have transpired in 2017 in advance of the hurricanes hit, sanctuary government director Pat Craig advised The Connected Press, noting that folks presently were being worried about the animals at that issue.

“The zoo surely has been degraded,” he mentioned. “You can envision the services have been overgrown and dilapidated to some degree.”

He mentioned the animals have been healthier ample to vacation for the most portion, although he observed that a mountain lion has a progress on a person arm that veterinarians are still inspecting.

Craig also mentioned he was concerned about the zoo’s lone chimpanzee mainly because apes need socialization.

He declined to present further information, indicating he was minimal about what he could share supplied the involvement of the U.S. Justice Office. Having said that, he added that the team did not locate something that demanded speedy notice.

In February 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cancelled the zoo’s exhibitor’s license after citing dozens of violations in former yrs, including a slender tiger that was euthanized and a distressed cougar dwelling in a cramped area.

Previously, a governing administration-appointed committee experienced raised problems about two pumas that died, an underweight chimpanzee and a rhinoceros named Felipe that was limping. It also noted that dozens of animals required vaccines or bodily exams, and that a kangaroo and a porcupine ended up amid animals that did not have shelter.

In January, officials declared that an American black bear named Nina who was much more than 20 a long time old died from unspecified health and fitness troubles after she stopped feeding on. The results of a necropsy have not been produced. Black bears can reside up to 35 decades in captivity.

Craig, with The Wildlife Sanctuary, explained he estimates his group would transfer up to 50% of the zoo’s animals at no charge to Puerto Rico’s govt. Nonetheless, they would not choose in primates or exclusive birds presented Colorado’s climate.

Puerto Rico’s Section of All-natural Means has stated it is cooperating in options for transfers and with the continuing investigation in the zoo, which opened in 1954.

“We have not skimped on the research for solutions so that…the ideal possible treatment and safety of all the species that inhabit there are assured,” said the department’s secretary, Anaís Rodríguez, who observed that it wasn’t till 4 many years in the past that the company assumed responsibility for the zoo.

Activists celebrated the zoo’s impending closure, which include Christian Ríos, who is also president of an animal legal rights fee at Puerto Rico’s Affiliation of Lawyers. He identified as for comprehensive transparency as officers prepare for the transfer of specified animals.

“We are not permitting our guard down,” Ríos claimed, incorporating that people dependable should facial area the outcomes. “We are sorry that all these issues have taken a lengthy time to be listened to.”