Zoo an­i­mals ‘starve to death in Venezuela’ due to food short­ages

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

Some 50 an­i­mals have starved to death at one of Venezuela’s ma­jor zoos as the chronic food short­ages con­tinue, a union leader has said.

The an­i­mals have all died within the last six months while many an­i­mals, in­clud­ing Viet­namese pigs, tapirs, rab­bits and birds, at the Car­icuao zoo in Cara­cas have not eaten for two weeks. Mar­lene Si­fontes, 52, the union leader re­spon­si­ble for em­ploy­ees at the state parks agency, In­par­ques, said more an­i­mals were at risk across the coun­try.

In La La­guna, a park in the western state of Tachira, lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tors are seek­ing do­na­tions from lo­cal busi­ness to feed their an­i­mals. “We are do­ing all that is hu­manly pos­si­ble to en­sure the zoo con­tin­ues to func­tion,” said Os­lan­der Mon­toya, an ac­coun­tant for the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity which han­dles fund­ing for the zoo.

The plight of the an­i­mals mir­rors the cri­sis fac­ing most Venezue­lans who are now rou­tinely skip­ping meals or wait­ing hours in lines for the dwin­dling food sup­plies in su­per­mar­kets. Crowds chant “We want food” as they queue for hours due to chronic in­fla­tion and eco­nomic mis­man­age­ment by the gov­ern­ment un­der Ni­co­las Maduro.

Mr Maduro, who took over from Pres­i­dent Hugo Chavez af­ter his death in 2013, blamed the coun­try’s col­lapse on an “eco­nomic war” waged by lo­cal op­po­si­tion lead­ers and the US. But crit­ics say a heavy reliance on oil prices to sub­sidise un­sus­tain­ably gen­er­ous wel­fare schemes is to blame.

Many Venezue­lans have now re­sorted to trav­el­ling over the border into Colom­bia to buy ba­sic sup­plies.

Anx­ious zoo staff are cur­rently feed­ing man­goes and pump­kin to lions and tigers at the zoo to make up for re­duced meat ra­tions and ele­phants are be­ing fed with trop­i­cal fruit rather than their usual diet of hay.

State pros­e­cu­tors have re­port­edly opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the deaths of “var­i­ous species of wildlife” at the zoo. The zoo has de­clined to com­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.