More than 100 animals have been removed from an overcrowded private zoo in Puebla.
After numerous public complaints of abuse and overcrowded conditions, Mexican authorities moved in Monday to remove more than 100 of the 240 animals from the Club de los Animalitos zoo in the city of Tehuacan.
The private zoo is owned by PAN’s Mexican congressman, Serigo Gomez.
Inspectors from the Federal Environmental Prosecutor’s Office (PROFEPA) released a statement saying they found dozens of large animals – bears, lions, tigers, jaguars, pumas, camels, buffalo – living in deplorable conditions in small enclosures without proper ventilation.
Photos released by the office show narrow cages with tigers and other large cats stacked one upon the other. Most of the enclosures lacked proper flooring which resulted in some of the animal’s waste falling on those below.
Due to the cramped living spaces, many of the animals had become aggressive, fighting and injuring other animals.
Their statement also noted that, “Additionally there is no safety for the visiting public and the animals themselves, due to the lack of a barrier separating one from the other. It is possible to access the wildlife specimens simply by sticking a hand into the enclosure.”
Inspectors also found irregularities in veterinary care, staff levels and feeding.
Federal Environmental Prosecutor’s Office removed a total of 101 animals, 92 for “serious breaches of proper treatment”. Around 40 large cats, two grizzly bears, half a dozen monkeys, a bison, antelope and numerous birds were among some of the animals seized.
PROFEPA officials say they are trying to find suitable new homes for the animals.
Last year, Mexico passed new laws against animal mistreatment.
Six Mexican states have banned the use of animals in circuses. In December, federal congress voted in favor of extending the ban nationwide.