Zoo director in Mexico had four of its animals killed and served at Christmas party, police say

Zoo director in Mexico had four of its animals killed and served at Christmas party, police say

A former director of a Southern Mexico zoo allegedly killed and served up four of its pygmy goats at a Christmas dinner party.

Authorities said on Tuesday that José Rubén Nava was replaced as director of the zoo in Chilpancingo city on 12 January after the death of a deer.

According to officials, investigations revealed that Mr Nava had allegedly ordered some of the animals in the zoo’s collection to be sold off, traded or eaten.

Fernando Ruiz Gutierrez, the state environment department’s director of wildlife, said Mr Nava had four of the zoo’s male pygmy goats killed and cooked for an end-of-year banquet.

“These four animals were slaughtered and cooked on the zoo’s premises, and were served as food at the year-end party,” he was quoted as saying.

“This put the health of the people who ate them at risk, because these animals were not fit for human consumption.”

The department also said that a zebra was traded for tools but later inspections found no such tools at the zoo.

Authorities said that deer and Watusi cattle were traded off to private individuals, without proper accounting.

There have been several incidents of private citizens illegally acquiring exotic animals in Mexico.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, police in the central city of Aguascalientes said a loose lion attacked and seriously injured a woman on the patio of her home.

The lion attacked two dogs and a cat and apparently escaped from a nearby home.

The woman is receiving treatment at a hospital with injuries to her legs, skull, and a lung.

The lion was later captured on Tuesday and sent to a local zoo.

Mexico’s capital has long been regarded as a key hub for the illegal trafficking of wildlife.

Mexico’s environmental protection agency PROFEPA (The Federal Office for Environmental Protection) said in 2021 that between 2019 and 2020, there has been a reported 660 per cent increase in the number of animals seized.

According to the Living Planet Report, Latin America’s animal populations have fallen by 83% since the 1970s,

While the country is home to about 12 per cent of the species in the plant, these animals are under increased threat, due to trafficking and habitat loss.

(Additional reporting by agencies)