Animal rescue missions are never easy or convenient - as saving the lives of animals in jeopardy almost always requires very quick and decisive action. Such is the case of the rescue mission we are undertaking right now.
We have been called upon by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to help rescue more than 600 animals whose lives currently hang in the balance on the island of Puerto Rico.
Sadly, there is a lone zoo on the island that began experiencing financial difficulties as far back as 2012 and the situation has continued to decline year after year. As a result, animals have suffered and perished on a continuous basis.
With USDA violations piling up, the zoo finally closed to the public in 2017. Yet, even though the zoo was no longer open for visitors, the Puerto Rican government chose to keep the animals locked within their cages.
Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, the unthinkable happened! Later that year the island was hit by hurricane Irma – one of the worst hurricanes on record! There was no power for more than 4 months and every living being on the island suffered greatly.
As expected, the zoo had extensive damages. Although some animals escaped, and others perished… a significant number of the animals were able to survive. However, since very little was done to repair the zoo, it wasn’t long before the death toll began to rise again. Year after year nothing was done to address the overall problem of inadequate funding, which in-turn greatly impacted the overall care that could be provided to the animals.
Fast forward to today and more than half of the animals have either died or disappeared – which is why the US Department of Justice has had to step in! The goal is to remove all of the remaining animals before any more suffer the same fate.
This is why we, The Wild Animal Sanctuary, were called in by the DOJ, as they knew we are one of the very few organizations that can successfully remove every animal there and get them to a good home. Some, like the African Lions and Black Bears will be coming to our Sanctuary next week… while others like “Mundi” the African Elephant will be flown to an Elephant Sanctuary in Georgia in the coming weeks.
We have already sent numerous teams to Puerto Rico to undertake the evacuation process and so far we have succeeded in bringing a happy ending to a number of incredibly sad cases. One such case involved “Mara” the female Chimpanzee who had lived alone while being locked indoors for many years.
Thankfully, Mara has now been rescued and taken to a wonderful new home in Indiana where she can now live with other chimpanzees!
Others, such as the lone Sloth and two Andean Condors have also been airlifted to safety and will now live out their lives in safe and nurturing facilities that specialize in caring for their unique species. However, “Felipe” the African White Rhino, as well as two elderly Hippopotamuses are waiting for the day when we can fly them to their new home in Texas.
Dozens and dozens of other animals are ready to go and are waiting for their chance to fly to a new home as well. Yet, we need your help to continue funding these amazing flights to freedom - so please consider helping us with your generous gift today!