The director of a private zoo in southern Mexico stole four of the sanctuary’s pygmy goats and served them to staff at their Christmas party, authorities said.
José Rubén Nava is accused of running a ghastly scheme in which he stole and sold dozens of animals from Zoológico Zoochilpan in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero.
In some cases, Nava, who was at the helm for just a few months, allegedly killed the animals for little reason.
“These four animals slaughtered and cooked on the zoo’s premises, and were served as food at the year-end party,” Fernando Ruiz Gutierrez, the state environment department’s director of wildlife, said of the pygmies.
“This put the health of the people who ate them at risk because these animals were not fit for human consumption.”
The alleged abuse was uncovered on Jan. 14 when a neighbor of the zoo found an injured deer suffering from dog bites and an injured leg near his house, EL PAÍS reported. The deer was brought back to the hospital, where it died several days later.
Nava was fired after the deer’s escape for the mistreatment of the animal; its leg was sown up without anesthesia, and its antlers were cut off.
While investigating the deer’s alleged mistreatment, officials discovered that dozens of animals had gone missing during Nava’s short reign over the zoo.
Nava allegedly traded a zebra to a person in Querétaro, about 300 miles away, in exchange for three red deer. He is also accused of trading four watusi bulls to someone in the State of Mexico, some 160 miles away, in exchange for materials and tools necessary “for the proper functioning of the facilities of this zoo,” officials said.
Four of the zoo’s 10 pygmy goats were executed and served to the zoo’s own staff, officials claimed.
The whereabouts of a jaguarundi, a coyote, 10 reptiles, a baby macaw and a red-tailed hawk are completely unknown, while several births that occurred during Nava’s direction were not registered or were filed as false deaths, officials allege.
Nava faces charges for species trafficking and animal abuse, in addition to crimes against health, according to EL PAÍS.
With Post wires