The horrifying reality of Cuba’s Zoos

Too macabre to imagine…. throwing live stray dogs to starving crocodiles, and more.

Roughly translated from Diario de Cuba:

If the Situation of Humans in Cuba is Harsh, That of Animals in Zoos is Dantesque

“If the Department of Communal Services and the rest of the managers in Cumanayagua do not find the solution to transfer the two crocodiles that lead a miserable life in the mini zoo, there would be no choice but to give them up for adoption,” said journalist Elsie Carbo, of the official newspaper Juventud Rebelde, on its Facebook wall.

According to Carbo’s text, Fernando Cartaya, a director of Communals in the town of Cienfuegos where the enclosure is located, “until now has not been able to transfer these crocodiles to a place where they have their guaranteed habitat and are not a danger to the population”.

“The other thing that comes to us in calls and messages from the Cumanayaguenses is that, due to the lack of food for the crocodiles, certain workers in the zoo throw at them dogs hunted in the surroundings, whose screams have the population near the place on edge. Something that it was reported by the protector Lucía García, and that it would be very healthy if it reached Yobani Gutiérrez Ravelo, director of the National Center for Animal Health,” he denounced.

The journalist asked that someone shelter the crocodiles, at least until it is possible to move them to neighboring Matanzas, where they would be released in the breeding area that exists in the Ciénaga de Zapata.

“It is worth remembering that this was a promise or agreement made on the radio program ‘El Tapete’, which as a result of the complaints and claims in the locality, and to which the officials attended, committing themselves before the public to change the situation of the animals in the mini zoo,” he stressed.

“Iván Figueroa, director of the Office of Regulation and Environmental Safety in Cienfuegos, of the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA), was also informed of all this, who went earlier this year to the place of the facts, giving the pertinent guidelines for the transfer of the crocodiles. However, nothing has been done yet,” he said.

In Carbo’s own publication, the animal protection activist Eliecer León Pérez commented: “It is time to end the lukewarm cloth with the Government of Cumanayagua. (…) I am witness to the laughter of government officials in meetings when very subtly someone (ME) has touched on the subject of crocodiles (…) And in this matter of caring for animals, they simply haven’t done anything… or let’s say better, they haven’t done anything good. that they mistreat them and suffer in all the ways that have been and will be”.

And he warned: “If we have to march, then we do it. It would be our way of showing them that they are not doing things right and that we, the animal activists, DEMAND them to do what they have to do. Neither the Government, nor the Party, nor CITMA, neither a veterinarian, nor the radio or television press. Only lukewarm cloths, unfulfilled promises … Either they do it because it is their turn or we will find a way to force them to do it, “he concluded.

At the end of 2021, a complaint by León Pérez himself about the situation in the Cumanayagua zoo went viral. On that occasion, he showed photos of a “little monkey locked up alone in a dark, humid place, eating from the muddy ground and condemned to celibacy. Crocodiles with a small well and almost no water,” he denounced.

“Where did the rest of the animals go in this place that is useless for anything other than suffering and showing visitors, many of them children, how much cruelty human beings are capable of displaying and how much they break the law? of Animal Welfare, the same ones that should see to it that it is fulfilled?” he questioned through his own Facebook wall.

Complaints about the poor conditions in which animals subsist in state facilities abound beyond Cumanayagua. Last July, photos were released of the lions at the Cárdenas Zoo, Matanzas, “hungry and locked in small cages.”

In Carbo’s publication, several people made reference to a similar situation in the central Zoo of 26, in Havana.

“At least here at the 26 Zoo, everyone is so skinny that you can see their ribs and they look at you with a suffering face that breaks your heart,” said Iván Irete Entendin, referring to the lions there.

“Crocodiles look like they’re stuffed,” he added.

To this, Daisy Denis commented: “I neither go nor take my daughter, because it breaks the soul to see these animals. In addition to suffering, it is not educational, there is nothing to see, only desolation and sadness.”