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Investigation Opened into Animal Management at Chapultepec Zoo

Leaked images Bantú's autopsy prompted public outcry and concerns over the care of the animal

Members of NGOs take part in a protest to demand a fair investigation into the death of Bantú. The signs in the first row (L-R) read ""Government kills, Stop killing animals at the Chapultepec zoo" and "Animals don't deserve to live in cages", photo: Reuters/Ginnette Riquelme
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1 year ago

Almost two weeks after the confusing death of Bantú the gorilla at Chapultepec Zoo, the Environmental and Land Management Agency (PAOT) has opened an investigation to clarify the procedures used during the transfer process that led to Bantú’s death. The aim of the investigation is is to find who is responsible, said the head of the agency, Michelangelo Cancino.

During the presentation of a campaign intending to eradicate dogfighting in Mexico City, the official said this was the first time that the PAOT had conducted and investigation into the care of wildlife in the capital’s zoo as they had never previously received any formal complaints about irregularities.

“We have never reviewed the Chapultepec Zoo because PAOT acts on complaints. In the case of Bantú, we did not directly receive a complaint, but we initiated an official investigation under the knowledge we had of this case,” he said.

Through requests for information sent to the Natural Resources and Environmental Secretariat (Semarnat) and the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Environmental Protection (Profepa), the PAOT requested the result of Bantú’s autopsy, his clinical history and the evaluation that federal authorities made on animal management at the zoo.

Cancino also called for a revision of the model of conservation of wildlife in the Chapultepec Zoo, which could lead to a possible transformation in the way the zoo works.

“We must review these trends, because there are some zoos where many animals can no longer be seen, because fortunately they are in habitats very similar to their natural habitats,” he said. “But we’ll follow the recommendations of the scientific community.”

Cancino regretted that images of Bantú’s autopsy had been leaked.

“They are very powerful and negative images. For anyone who is not an expert they can be upsetting,” he said.

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