July 28, 2021

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The secretary of the DRNA understands that it is up to Wanda Vázquez to attend to the situation of the zoo

The secretary of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA), Rafael Machargo Maldonado, affirmed this Friday that it is up to the Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced to attend the state in which there is the zoo Dr. Juan A. Rivero in Mayagüez, which has been closed to the public since 2017 and does not even have a full-time veterinarian.

Efforts to care the zoo correspond to the governor. I want to have a discussion with her and discuss the options for her to say what is the course of action to approve. (The governor) has not presented any proposal to me, but I asked for a meeting to show her my study and to make a determination, "the official stated in an interview with El Nuevo Día .

The official reacted this way to several images through social networks that show the deplorable conditions in which the zoo's recreational areas are located and the condition of the little more than 200 animals found there. He acknowledged that the photos show the poor condition of the facilities, but ruled out that the outlook is as negative as projected.

"There are structures that need to be replaced, that is why it is the estimate and the damage from Hurricane Maria . We recognize it. But there are photos that are true and others that show more damage than they actually have. "he noted.

The DRNA submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA , in English) various claims totaling approximately $ 7 million in damage to the Mayagüez Zoo. This total is broken down into $ 4.5 million in deficiencies that it had prior to Hurricane Maria and $ 2.5 million after the cyclone in September 2017, the date from which it is closed to the public.

The study at that Machargo Maldonado refers to take to the governor consisted of identifying the most pressing areas for which efforts must be directed at the zoo, ranging from hiring a group of veterinarians and improving the zoo's infrastructure to concluding agreements with various universities to purposes of study and education.

“The main thing is the welfare of animals. Regarding that, since I came to the department I began a dialogue with the College of Veterinarians so that they helped us identify those interested in working at the zoo. Also I am working with the department's Human Resources Office to create a veterinary position. In addition, I asked for authorization to recruit a veterinarian as for a position of trust, "said the official.

However, none of these efforts has materialized.

The Mayagüez zoo is in charge of more than 200 animals, many of them in advanced ages, that require the daily evaluation of a veterinarian, but there is only one specialized doctor available for when she receives the emergency call.

Daily, confirmed the secretary, Only the facility superintendent, three biologists and maintenance personnel attend and work in the zoo.

"We do not have preventive medicine or medical evaluations" Machargo Maldonado added to the list of deficiencies in the zoo. [19659009] Although he could not provide a specific number, he confirmed that some animals have died, but said that the deaths are due to the advanced age of the animal, and not due to lack of attention or food.

At the time of He made it clear that he does not support the closing of the zoo, but is betting that an agreement can be reached to make available the resources and personnel with which the facility can be reopened.

“Two things are required to reopen the zoo. : will and economic resources. There is plenty of will and the economic resources we are looking for, "he said.

They are made available to the DRNA

The president of the Foundation Let's save the Zoo, Lynette González, pointed out that what is needed is a special allocation of funds so that the facility can have all the necessary equipment to complete its daily functions. If that request is not fulfilled, he said, they still make themselves available to the agency to take care of the animals and support the operation.

“We have always offered ourselves and are willing to help. But since January 2019 we have not been able to shake hands, because the former secretary Tania Vázquez made the decision to remove the volunteers and we all had to leave. I hope the animals are well, but so far, we have not had that access to the zoo. "he indicated.

He pointed out that they are doing everything possible to increase the capacity of volunteers who can offer to give the Hand in the zoo through social networks and radio programs.

“We have received proposals from people who could manage the box office. Projects of private zoos for the conservation and protection of species, so yes we are receiving aid and proposals for recreation areas in the park, "said González.

He anticipated that they hope to soon reach an agreement to select volunteers to help in areas of infrastructure and green spaces of the zoo.

On this last information, the secretary of the DRNA thanked the disposition of the foundation and expressed that they hope to achieve the creation of a working group between veterinarians and volunteers for the work in the recreational park. [19659025]

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