December 6, 2022

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Creative meets living

Far from home, new chance in Mexico for Frida the rescued ‘pet’ tiger

Frida the Bengal tiger is one of six rescued big cats at the Animal Kingdom park outside Mexico City. — AFP pic

Frida the Bengal tiger is a person of 6 rescued big cats at the Animal Kingdom park exterior Mexico City. — AFP pic

Sunday, 12 Jun 2022 9:42 AM MYT

OTUMBA (Mexico), June 12 — As a little cub four decades back, Frida the Bengal tiger was discovered chained up in a cafe parking large amount in Mexico Metropolis, filthy, emaciated and not able to walk.

Rescued and rehabilitated, she is now a well-known attraction at the Reino Animal (Animal Kingdom) park along with hundreds of other unique creatures taken from misguided Mexican “pet” owners — which include showy drug traffickers.

Much from the Asian forests exactly where she belongs, Frida has manufactured a comprehensive recovery and “no longer suffers,” reported park staff Agustin Bastida as the tigress gave a major yawn.

Lying on a grassy patch she seemed disinterestedly at the human beings ogling her from the other aspect of a fence.

Frida is 1 of six large cats amongst 1,100 animals — 40 per cent of them rescued unique creatures — at the park in Otumba, northeast of the Mexican cash.

Fellow people include zebras, giraffes, wolves and a wide variety of birds.

In accordance to authorities, some 150 to 200 exotic animals are seized in Mexico Town every single calendar year, generally right after reviews from neighbors.

Some of the worst culprits are drug lords this kind of as Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who had a pet monkey identified as “Boots.”

In just one big rescue in 2007, officers busting a “narco-mansion” identified two jaguars, two tigers, two lions and a macaque, in accordance to Lucio Garcia Gil, head of the PROFEPA environmental crimes office environment for Mexico City.

“There are quite a few exotic birds, this sort of as macaws or parrots, reptiles, a lot of primates and large cats it is what we have most detected that men and women have,” he informed AFP.

Two significant cats ended up rescued in the megacity in 2021 and 4 — together with a lion cub — so far this 12 months.

US$5,000 for a lion

In accordance to Gil, a tiger or lion sells for amongst US$1,000 and US$5,000 on the Mexican black marketplace.

Mexican law enables people to lawfully obtain exotic animals from registered dealers “as lengthy as they preserve them harmless and offer the appropriate safety,” he told AFP.

“Regrettably… barely any individual complies with the situations,” he stated.

Unlawful possession is punishable by up to 9 many years in prison or a good of up to US$15,000, while Gil claimed he could not don’t forget anybody at any time likely to jail.

Holding a big cat is high-priced — they can eat as substantially as 30 kilograms (66 lbs) of meat for every working day, and quite a few non-public homeowners abandon the animals in the close.

Like lions or jaguars, Bengals — which expand to stand more than a meter tall and can weigh as a great deal as 260 kilograms (570 lbs .) — are not quick housemates and several have their fangs and claws taken out so that they do not wipe out their surroundings, or entrepreneurs.

‘They are not pets’

According to the UN Setting Programme, world-wide wildlife trafficking generates as substantially as US$23 billion for every 12 months.

It is the seventh-most beneficial illicit business, in accordance to the Washington-centered World wide Money Integrity.

In Mexico Town, the blessed trafficked animals that do get rescued are taken to zoos and parks such as the 53-hectare (130-acre) Animal Kingdom northeast of the capital.

In Frida’s case, she was brought in with a damaged hip, which has considering the fact that fully healed.

“She could not stroll, it was incredibly sad, incredibly unhappy,” mentioned Bastida.

“People get these animals to continue to keep them as animals, but they are not pets,” he additional.

“They have to be in the wild or in open spaces the place the situations are satisfactory for a very good top quality of life.” — AFP