Saturday 14 December, 2019

Smuggled jaguar dropped off at Emperor Valley Zoo

The Emperor Valley Zoo has a new ward – a young jaguar that was dropped off to the zoo on Friday.

In a post to Facebook on Saturday morning, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rhambarat confirmed that the feline had has been examined by veterinarians at the Emperor Valley Zoo.

The Minister said it is not unusual for people to contact the zoo to hand over an animal they cannot or will not take care of any longer, or in some cases protected or prohibited animals they no longer want to keep for fear of prosecution.

He said, “Yesterday’s call and drop off at the gate of the Zoo was not unusual except that the delivery in the protective crate was a young jaguar, obviously smuggled into the country, without a permit and without the appropriate tests.”

He confirmed the jaguar has been quarantined while tests are being conducted.

The Minister had previously expressed concern about an increase in smuggled wildlife from neighbouring Guyana and Suriname. 

In a statement issued in December of 2018, the Ministry said that this and other indiscretions, "must be met with the appropriate legislative action to increase: fines, surveillance and co-operation amongst the Ministries of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries; National Security; and Health, especially as there is a real threat of the introduction of zoonotic diseases."

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