The secretary of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA), Rafael Machargo Maldonado, assured today that the animals housed in the Juan A. Rivero Zoo in Mayagüez, are in good physical condition and have the food necessary for their feeding.
"Since assuming the post of DRNA secretary in March 2020, our priority has been to focus on maintaining and caring for animals and having the necessary food for their respective diets," said the secretary.
In recent days, social networks have been flooded with complaints about the poor state in which, allegedly, the zoo's conditions are not appropriate for animals.
In fact, the Puerto Rico Bar Association (CAAPR) ) and its Special Commission on Animal Rights immediately requested the closure of the zoo. In a letter sent to Governor Wanda Vázquez and Machargo Maldonado, the CAAPR presented them with a report on the deplorable conditions in which the animals of the Mayagüez Zoo are found, which contrasts with what was recently declared by groups that defend the permanence of the zoo.
“The Mayagüez Zoo has been closed to the general public for three years, and urges a millionaire injection of public funds in order to comply with the applicable federal regulations to re-operate. This, without having a fixed and recurring budget for the maintenance of the facilities and the care of animals, "said attorney Shakira Santiago Rodríguez, president of the Special Commission on Animal Rights.
For her part, Machargo Maldonado assured that the situation facing the zoo is due to the economic crisis that the country has been going through since the passage of María. "The zoo thrives on its own funds, generated mainly through the entrance fee, income that has been seriously affected due to its closure, due to the damage caused by Hurricane Maria. This has caused maintenance to be affected of the areas that are not used, since to maximize the budget we have focused on the welfare of the animals, "he said.
He also indicated that in the quarantine the personnel assigned to the zoo was only essential, and was dedicated to animal care, not the maintenance of green areas. "With the flexibility of the Executive Order, we will soon be unifying efforts with other areas of the National Parks Program to dedicate ourselves to everything related to the maintenance of green areas and infrastructure," he added.
"The position of the DRNA is clear and simple : We will do everything that fosters the welfare and stability of animals, "he concluded.