San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Zoo Urges People Not to Keep Exotic Pets

The Nicaragua National Zoo this week unleashed a fund-raising campaign against the domestication of wild animals through an exhibit of rescued animals on display at the ManaguaCommercialCenter.

The display, which seeks to raise funds to create a new veterinary clinic at the National Zoo, includes wild animals – snakes, tropical birds and foxes – that the zoo has rescued from situations of abuse.

The zoo’s rescue center has been plagued with problems over the years, from a lack of funding to buy animal feed, to thieves who break in at night to steal some of the more exotic animals to sell on the black market.

Though it’s illegal here, it’s not uncommon to see exotic animals for sale at traffic intersections and along the highway – a practice that the zoo is trying to stop through educating people with exhibits like on the one on display at the commercial center.

“Wild cats aren’t domestic animals like dogs. They need wider spaces. And many times they’re mistreated and have chains around their necks,” said Silvia Iglesias, general manager of the ManaguaCommercialCenter. “We have to make Nicaraguan families conscious of the need to protect our flora and fauna.”

Iglesias said the display was brought to the CommercialCenter to make it more accessible for Managua residents and visitors who don’t have the time or resources to visit the National Zoo, located at Kilometer 17 on the Carretera Masaya.

With the money raised, the non-profit zoo will help fund its new a shelter and clinic for rescued animals.

The funds will also help programs for educating the public about the need to protect wild animals in a country that’s home to 7% of the world’s biodiversity.

The cash-strapped National Zoo hopes to raise $250,000 for the clinic.

“We want foreigners as well as nationals to help us to build this clinic,” Iglesias said.

The animal exhibit at the commercial center through May 4.


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