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The Yastay Zoo in la Rioja finds its roots in the Rodriguez family, owners of a circus with animals, operating in the 80s. They finally settled in La Rioja and opened their own zoo in 1990. Soon the number of felines multiplied due to internal breeding and according to other circus owners passing by La Rioja, these felines were sold to them.
By the end of 2014, horrific pictures were posted online of these neglected animals. As a consequence, the mayor of the city bravely stepped in to care for the abandoned animals and expropriated the zoo in 2016. However, they could only provide basic care lacking funds to feed all the animals. Quickly, lots of autochthonous animals were brought to other places within the country.
However, some bears and 13 beautiful big cats were left out: 7 tigers, 5 lions and 2 ‘tigons’ or ‘ligons’ (cross-breeds between tigers and lions).
In the beginning of 2017, again amid rumors of severe living conditions like not having enough water due to a drought, the municipality ratified its urgent need to find a place for all felines.
Soon after, a contact with Panthera Africa and Ubuntu was established to give them all in adoption.
We need to get them out of there as soon as possible, or else all of them will die. We aim to take all animals out at once. We need to raise a lot of money to make this possible. If we don’t get the money right away, we will focus on rescuing the most urgent cases:
Please meet Chango Chico, a beautiful, huge and extremely strong and dominant 7-year old African lion who is constantly seeking to escape his enclosure, at a point that the caretakers are worried this might actually happen, with a previous incident fresh in mind of a lion that escaped some years ago from the same zoo and unfortunately was shot to death.
Then there is 6-year old tigress Princesa, daughter of the tiger that died last year. Princess is extremely sweet and docile but notably unhappy in her enclosure.
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