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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Poor Populace steal Zoo Animals for meals in Venezuela

Zoo animals are being stolen from parks in western Venezuela and police believe they are being snatched to be eaten by the starving local population.


A wave of animal thefts in city of Maracaibo near the Colombian border - including tapirs and a buffalo - have been linked to the chronic food shortages in Venezuela.

Most recently, two collared peccaries, similar in appearance to boars, were stolen over the weekend, local police say.

The head of the Zulia Metropolitan Zoological Park in Maricabo said thefts in recent weeks had affected ten species.

'What we presume is that they (were taken) with the intention of eating them,' Luis Morales, an official for the Zulia division of the National Police, told reporters on Tuesday.

The chaotic collapse of the country's socialist economic model has created chronic food shortages that have fuelled malnutrition and left millions seeking food anywhere they can find it, including in trash cans and dumpsters.

President Nicolas Maduro blames food shortages on opposition protests that have blocked streets and highways and a broader 'economic war' led by adversaries with the help of Washington.

Leonardo Nunez, head of the Zulia Metropolitan Zoological Park, blamed 'drug dealers' for the thefts, saying they are selling them on the black market.

'They take everything here! The animals weren't stolen to be eaten,' Nunez said in an interview on Wednesday.
Mauricio Castillo, a former zoo director, said thieves had made off with two tapirs, a pig-like animal that is described as 'vulnerable to extinction' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Shortages have also left zoos without sufficient food to feed animals, with some 50 animals starving to death last year at a Caracas zoos, according to a union leader.

The government denied the animals had starved, insisting they had been treated 'like family.'

Source: Daily Mail


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