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Mexico sends 200 big cats to help populate India’s dying breeds

Culiacán, Sinaloa –More than 200 big cats from various zoos around Mexico are being shipped to India. The animals are being donated to help the country restore their cat population and avoid extinction.

The 200 cats are Mexican rescues from either abandonment or confiscations. They were sent from Ostok in Culiacán, to a Rescue Conservation Center in India.

Through a statement, the Association of Zoos, Hatcheries and Aquariums of Mexico (AZCARM) reported that the project seeks to repopulate Asian territories with the species who are considered in serious danger of extinction due to poaching and the destruction of their habitats.

The President of AZCARM, Ernesto Zazueta, pointed out that he is aware that the best place for these animals is the one where they are native, despite the fact that the weather conditions and the reproduction and conservation programs in Mexico have been successful.

“For several months, we have been working with the Green Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Center of India,” he said.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that there are fewer than 4,000 of tiger species in the world due to the deterioration of their habitats and poaching for either trophies or for body parts used for Chinese medical purposes.

Photo: AZCARM March 10, 2023.

“The animals that were transferred went through a strenuous review process of their physical condition since they have to be in very good health to withstand a journey of so many hours by plane,” Zazueta said.

The Director of Ostok added that in addition to the tigers, around 50 lions and leopards were also sent from confiscations and rescues, including some that were from previous circuses that could no longer continue with their care and feeding.

Zazueta explained that upon arrival at the Rescue Center in India, the specimens were placed in quarantine to keep them under observation and that later, they will enter a process of adaptation and coupling to the environment.

“We will be giving them timely follow-up. We will be traveling to India to verify how they are adapting. I trust that they will be very well. It is a very, very spacious rescue center, one hundred percent natural, closed to the public.

“We already have 100 more specimens that we will transfer in the same way, since here, there are not many spaces to give them a home nor is there the public or private funding required to support so many rescued, abandoned and confiscated big cats,” he said.