The Bogotá mayoralty has released at the Mata de Santos nature reserve 408 animals confiscated from animal traffickers.
On Monday, at this reserve in the department of Casanare, authorities released the turtles, snakes, canaries, armadillos, parrots, iguanas and macaws that were confiscated at transportation terminals in the center and south of Bogotá, as well as at El Dorado Airport. “It’s a very important day to return these animals to nature, said Óscar López, director of Environmental Management of mayoralty, as the Eastern Llanos plains “offers the necessary conditions of temperature, humidity, and diverse ecosystem for these animals.”
While many of the species are on endangered lists and were seized by the national police at control points in the capital, many other animals were voluntarily handed over to the Center for Reception and Rehabilitation of Flora and Fauna of city’s Environment Secretary after having been purchased on the black market.
After traveling 600 kms from the capital to this reserve in the Eastern plains, the animals were then grouped together and released by a team of biologists and veterinarians who for more than a year had been in charge of the welfare of these tropical species.
All of the animals which were being looked after at the Center showed signs of physical exhaustion, nutritional disorder and stress. These signs were reflected in the loss of fur and an alteration of their natural behavior. Many had to learn how to find food for themselves in order to regain their freedom.
As turtle eggs and meat are delicacies used in soup with locals in communities along the Caribbean coast, Mayor Enrique Peñalosa has stepped up control operations against the trafficking of local wildlife and appealed to citizens not to buy or consume these species during Easter.