SOURCE: Last Chance for Animals

Last Chance for Animals

September 23, 2009 20:29 ET

Mexican Government Backs Out on Urgent Rescue and Relocation of 7 Tigers in Cancun, Reports LCA

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - September 23, 2009) - Last Chance for Animals (LCA), The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) and Gente Por La Defensa Animal (GEPDA) have been negotiating with the Mexican government since August 2008 to rescue and relocate 7 tigers held in abhorrent conditions at Pepe's restaurant, in Cancun, Mexico.

Exotic tigers and jaguars have been displayed for years in concrete and steel cages at Pepe's, a tourist attraction in Cancun, so customers could be entertained. When Hurricane Wilma hit Cancun in 2005, Pepe's was decimated. Some of the animals escaped and others were found barely alive in unsafe jail-like cells. After the storm, Pepe returned with no money to rebuild or care for the animals. He allowed them to sit in their decaying environment, barely alive, drinking stagnant water and eating insufficient amounts of food. One tiger moves by dragging her rear legs behind her, often sitting in her own feces and urine. The declining health of the animals is compounded by obvious neglect.

LCA, TWAS and GEPDA have been urging the Mexican government to rescue and relocate the tigers to TWAS' 320-acre facility in Colorado where they'll receive exceptional diets, rehabilitation, medical care and live in a natural habitat. Mexican officials revoked Pepe's permits and scheduled the rescue date for early September. On September 3rd, however, Mexican officials aborted the rescue. Now the tigers are in even more danger, as Pepe has pledged to kill them or abandon them to die.

On Tuesday, September 15th, 2009, officials from the Mexican Wildlife Department (PROFEPA) met with representatives at LCA, TWAS and GEPDA and stated that they had received a significant amount of input from the public -- both in Mexico and the United States -- concerning their sudden cancellation of the rescue mission. They proposed moving the animals from the restaurant and transporting them to temporary holding facilities near Mexico City, where they would be kept until legal proceedings concluded. Representatives from LCA, TWAS and GEPDA expressed concern over this revised plan which would put the tigers at great risk of injury, illness, trauma and distress. Additionally, holding them in temporary cages for months, in multiple facilities around Mexico City while court cases drag on, would only compound their suffering. They also added that the animals would be far better served if officials would go back to the original rescue plan, allowing the tigers to be immediately rescued and transported (flown by Jet Aircraft to Colorado) to their final destination (TWAS) and not be subjected to arduous road trips, and months -- or possibly years -- in temporary cages. PROFEPA once again rejected their humane rescue plan with disregard for the ultimate welfare of the animals... and driven by their desire to minimally satisfy the public's demand to help.

LCA, TWAS and GEPDA are continuing their campaign to convince the Mexican government to reinstate the original rescue and are asking the public to contact US and Mexican Officials and urge them to bring swift resolution to the desperate plight of the Cancun Tigers who are in dire need of medical attention. For more info on how to help, please go to www.SaveTheCancunTigers.com.

Last Chance for Animals, a national animal rights organization based in Los Angeles, has been active for more than two decades. Founded and led by animal expert Chris DeRose, LCA's roots began in exposing the inherent cruelty of vivisection. LCA fights for the rights of animals by conducting investigations that expose animal cruelty, launching public awareness campaigns, pushing animal friendly legislation and helping prosecute animal abusers. www.LCAnimal.org

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