El Salvador’s National Zoo, the only state-run zoo, closed permanently on Thursday after operating for 69 years, and its more than 400 animals will be housed in “conservation” facilities, the government said.
“As of today, the National Zoo is closing permanently,” the Ministry of Culture said on its Twitter account, which posted a photo of the zoo’s main entrance, located in the southeast sector of San Francisco. Salvador.
The zoo, once frequented by students and families from across the country, has faced criticism in recent years for the confinement and display conditions in which the animals were kept.
The place is home to 429 animals of a hundred species, according to the Ministry of Culture.
In February 2017, the death of a hippopotamus named “Gustavito” caused outrage in the country, after authorities reported at the time that he had been attacked by unidentified people who had inflicted fatal injuries on him with a sharp weapon.
The case prompted an avalanche of demands on the government of former President Salvador Sánchez Cerén (2014-2019), by environmentalists and animal rights activists, to close the zoo due to the “deplorable” conditions of care and wildlife containment.
After it closes, the animals, including lions, a tiger, leopards, monkeys, scarlet macaws, ducks, goats, snakes and crocodiles, will be moved to ‘new conservation areas‘ under the guardianship. of the Animal Welfare Institute (IBA).
“We are not going to euthanize any animal, we are not going to have animals on display, we are going to give them a dignified life so that they end their natural cycle in the best way”, assured the president of the IBA, Javier Vásquez, through the Twitter account of this institution.
So far, it has not been specified to which places the animals will be transferred. The zoo was established on May 26, 1953 and occupies approximately 7 hectares of land.
This Thursday, according to the local press, Salvadorans who wanted to visit the zoo found the doors of the place closed. According to the Ministry of Culture, the space occupied by the zoo will be remodeled to make it an eco-park, but without animals.