About 2500 animals at the Buenos Aires zoo will be moved to sanctuaries across Argentina as city authorities have decided to shut it down. A series of scandals have recently hit the zoo over the condition of animals and its environment.
Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta announced on Thursday (23 June) that the 140-year-old zoo spanning 44 acres will be converted into an ecological park when it reopens later in the year. As of now, the city administration is operating the zoo.
Rodríguez admitted that caging the animals at a zoo was "degrading" and it was not the correct way to keep them. In the past, the unfavourable conditions in which polar bears were kept at the zoo during summers were widely criticized, which grew following the death of its last polar bear named Winner, around three years back.
As the animals will be relocated, bird species will be transferred to an 864-acre riverside ecological reserve, the Reserva Ecológica, in Buenos Aires.
Some 50 animals that are not in a condition to be moved will remain at the park, and Larreta said that the eco-park will be "a place where children can learn how to take care of and relate with the different species".
The Guardian quoted some city officials as saying that the new eco-park will also house animals that are rescued from illegal traffickers. The place will provide such animals refuge and help in their rehabilitation.
Sandra, an orangutan that became well known after she was declared "a non-human person" deserving rights by a Buenos Aires court about two years ago, will be among the animals that will continue to stay at the park.