|From left: Sonia "Nube" Vigo, Ángeles Cima de Villa, Joanna "Aya" Avilés, Tai "AnaYuísa" Pelli|
Mayagüez, Boriken/Puerto Rico (UCTP Taino News) - On August 16, 2013, “Fanáticos de Animales” (a FB page for animal lovers with over 8,000 followers), concerned citizens and members of the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) and Taíno representative of the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization (CADO), joined in a protest in front of the Puerto Rico Zoo in Mayagüez.
I asked about the other lion and although the immediate response was: “Do you want to see it?” and I replied affirmatively, we were never taken to see him.
As we were walking out, they showed us the new aquarium exhibit. We thanked them for their disposition in granting us the interview. We were then escorted out of the premises.
A huge sign had been posted by the entrance, according to some, on August 8th, announcing a Remodeling Project for the Lion and Aviary exhibits. The grass had been recently cut, and had not been raked.
WORA TV and WOLE TV interviewed Felixis and I. WORA TV showed a small clip of our protest on Friday’s Evening News and an edited version of our interviews and that of Dr. Figueroa on Monday August 19th, 2013. WOLE TV posted a YouTube Video with Felixis Falcón’s interview, the Zoo Administrator and Dr. Figueroa.
The Zoo Administrator and Dr. Figueroa seem to have different information with regards to the food supply shipments. Dr. Figueroa told me weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays with the exception of the supplements for variety. The Administrator told WOLE TV they get weekly shipments of Fruits and Vegetables on Mondays and Fridays and a once a month shipment of meat! You be the judge!
Dr. Figueroa admitted on one of the interviews that Tsavo had indeed lost approximately 20 pounds, yet the Administrator inferred that the claims (that the animals were underweight) were uninformed. Dr. Figueroa stated they will now implement a weekly weigh-in for the lions to keep tabs on any weight changes.
The zoo has been known to have an array of challenges throughout the decades. Things get bad, animals escape, animals look underweight, things get better for a while and something else happens. What it needs is consistency in maintaining a high level of quality.
We must keep an eye on the conditions of the only zoo in the island of Borikén. It is up to us to be vigilant and voice our concerns on behalf of those who cannot do it for themselves.