The former director of a zoo in southern Mexico killed four of the zoo’s pygmy goats and served them at a staff party. Dozens of other animals have also been traded or disappeared in a few months. This is according to research by the Mexican authorities.
José Rubén Nava had been director of Zoológico Zoochilpan, the local zoo in the town of Chilpancingo, for barely four months when he had to leave the field a few weeks ago. His dismissal followed the discovery of a badly injured deer nearby. The animal had been bitten by dogs, injured in the leg and had its antlers cut off. The animal died a few days later.
After complaints from animal organizations, Nava was fired for mistreatment of the animal. The investigation that followed revealed even more abuses, the newspaper reports El País. During his short reign, dozens of animals were found to have been illegally trafficked, killed or disappeared.
For example, the corrupt director would have traded a zebra for three red deer. He also traded four Watusi bulls in exchange for materials and tools to repair things at the zoo, according to authorities. This trade was not accounted for.
Slaughtered and cooked
The most shocking discovery involved the death of four out of ten rare pygmy goats. “These animals were slaughtered and cooked at the zoo and served as food at the New Year’s Eve party,” said Fernando Ruiz Gutierrez, head of the environment and wildlife department. “This also endangered the health of the people who ate them, as these animals are not fit for human consumption.”
In addition, jaguarundi (weasel cats), a coyote, ten reptiles, a baby macaw and a red-tailed hawk are missing. Also, during Nava’s directorship, animal births were not recorded or falsely recorded as deaths, the researchers said.
According to El País Nava is charged with trafficking, animal cruelty and endangering public health.
Mexico has long had a problem with individuals illegally acquiring exotic animals. For years, drug traffickers in Mexico have built private zoos with lions, tigers and other wild animals. Sometimes they escape and sow panic.
Earlier this week, a stray lion in the town of Aguascalientes attacked a woman sitting in her front yard. The lion had apparently escaped from a nearby house. The woman was hospitalized with injuries to her legs, skull and a lung. The lion also attacked two dogs and a cat. He was caught on Tuesday and sent to a local zoo.
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