I found out from national press and radio reports that the government of Namibia will send to “my planet” nothing more and nothing less than one hundred fifty animals for the national zoo, which is located on the outskirts of our capital city. These include elephants, lions, tigers, panthers, great apes and many other species which will be shipped by land and sea at the end of October.

Lately the newspaper Juventud Rebelde has been printing in the Letters to the Editor section a lot of letters from citizens expressing their dismay and disgust over the serious state of neglect in which the animals and facilities of the emblematic Avenida 26 Zoo in Nuevo Vedado have been left. I myself have also written about this in my blog.

This is happening in a park that is the city’s most central and accessible thanks to the favorable location it enjoys. Hundreds of visitors come here daily not so much to see the tired and hungry animals but to purchase the candies for sale in its well-stocked kiosks.

If this is happening in a such a centrally located facility, seen by so much of the public, what is going on in that other gigantic park on the outskirts of the city where access is increasingly more difficult as a result of the almost non-existent mass transit system and the very expensive (from the standpoint of the average citizen’s pocket book) alternative transit system made up of old cars – rechristened “almendrones” by the public – whose fare is twenty pesos per person?

With all due respect I would advise the government of Namibia and the organizations dedicated to the protection of animals in captivity such as www.tarongafoundation.com to carefully assess the conditions in which these animals will be living before sending them off to a cruel destiny, where the majority will be condemned to die of hunger, given the country’s current inability to care for those it already has due to the scarce supplies of food and medicine in these facilities.

It would be better to keep them in their places of origin and, if it were possible to arrange with Cuban authorities, to try to grant asylum to those still alive in our two parks.

July 17 2012

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