Abuse at Wild Animal Sanctuary Leads to Shut Down and Police Seizure in Mexico

Footage from a former employee at the Black Jaguar, White Tiger sanctuary in Mexico reportedly revealed malnourished tigers and lions, with one lion missing its tail. The accusations resulted in public outcry and local protest against the “sanctuary,” which authorities have since shut down. Mexico City police raided the facility on July 5th after the images of injured, emaciated, and distressed lions disseminated through social media. Police Chief Omar Garcia Harfuch stated the property was seized “for the crime of improper use of property and mistreatment of animals.” 177 lions, jaguar, tigers, and other exotic big cats were found at the sanctuary, which authorities began taking away on July 6th. The federal Attorney General’s Office for Environmental Protection stated there are 202 animals in total, including dogs, monkeys, coyotes, and donkeys, who are being relocated to other locations. Legal representation for the sanctuary stated that the pandemic led it to fall into financial difficulty. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) described the facility as a “false sanctuary,” having long criticized the facility for engaging in abusive practices. The current saturation of Mexican animal shelters and rescue facilities is presumed to be due to drug cartel members illegally possessing big cats and Mexico’s 2015 ban on animal acts in circuses. Mexican authorities will commence an investigation at the facility and ascertain the necessary health care for the animals, while seeking new homes for them at zoos in the Mexican capital. The Association of Zoos, Breeders and Aquariums of Mexico stated its members will volunteer to handle the animals. Read more here and here.