MEXICO CITY (Border Report) — Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office has decided not to move close to 200 big cats found in “deplorable conditions” at an animal sanctuary near Mexico City.
The facility, operated by a California man and his foundation based in Los Angeles, was raided last week after a number of complaints and inside information from employees at the Black Jaguar-White Tiger sanctuary.
Investigators found 190 animals, mostly big cats, close to starvation and in need of veterinary care.
They say moving the malnourished and feeble animals now could be fatal.
Alberto Hernández, who runs a zoo in the state of Chihuahua, says transporting the big cats in their current state does expose the animals to more danger.
Hernández says his facility and others across Mexico have been put on alert about getting some of the mistreated lions, tigers, jaguars and other big cats.
He says his zoo will be getting two Bengal tigers, two lionesses, two leopards and two jaguars that are now in bad shape due to malnourishment and related illnesses.
In the past, animal protection agencies from both sides of the border have been critical of Black Jaguar-White Tiger, saying it was never an approved sanctuary and that its owners were only interested in making money off the animals.
Celebrities such as the Kardashians and Paris Hilton have donated thousands of dollars for the cats’ care.
PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, calls the operation “just another sham sanctuary making a profit by exploiting animals.”
When the raid took place on July 4, investigators said some of the animals had “devoured themselves to avoid starvation.”
The sanctuary was operated by a controversial figure named Eduardo Serio who remains at large and is wanted for the mistreatment of animals in Mexico.
According to Serio’s website, his foundation “has been working tirelessly for over four years to rescue, rehabilitate, and preserve Animals through our Foundation. … We work to rescue as many Animals in need through independent rescue missions or by working with the Mexican government.”