HomeNewsBriefSeized ‘Narco-Pets’ Fill Mexico’s Zoos
BRIEF

Seized ‘Narco-Pets’ Fill Mexico’s Zoos

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 19 SEP 2011 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

Officials in Mexico are scrambling to house exotic animals confiscated from the collections of drug kingpins, according to a report from the Associated Press.

According to the·report, Mexico’s zoos are increasingly becoming home to the menageries of drug kingpins, who collect wild animals as status symbols to show off their wealth. ·As the article notes, one of the most diverse “narco-zoos” discovered in recent years belonged to Jesus “El Rey” Zambada, the jailed brother of Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Ismael Zambada García, alias “El Mayo.”

When Zambada was arrested in 2008 on drug trafficking charges, police found 200 different animals, ranging from mules to ostriches and peacocks. The animals had been housed on Zambada’s luxury 16-acre ranch, amidst lavish gardens and stables full of purebred horses. Now, some have been relocated to the Zacango Zoo, located about an hour outside Mexico City.

But not all of the confiscated creatures are so lucky, according to the World Wildlife Fund spokesperson in Mexico, Adrian Reuter Cortes. “Within the limited resources of the Mexican government, there are a lot of efforts to ensure the welfare of these animals,” Reuter told the AP. “But even the zoos have limits, and can’t welcome all the animals.”

Mexican zoos are not alone in experiencing this phenomenon. A ranch owned by Colombian drug dealer Pablo Escobar, the Hacienda Napoles, is now a popular theme park which contains several descendants of the exotic animals kept in his zoo. Three of his hippopotamuses escaped the facility in 2006, and lived around the nearby Magdalena Medio river for some years.

Below is the AP’s video report on the story, and several images of animals belonging to Mexico’s “narco-zoos,” courtesy of La Primera Plana

narcomascotas1

narcomascotas3

narcomascotas4

narcorhino

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

GULF CARTEL / 16 MAR 2017

The new governor of the state of Veracruz in eastern Mexico is facing cartel wars and spiraling violence after succeeding…

INFOGRAPHICS / 19 JUL 2012

Mexico's presidential election was relatively peaceful, with only a handful of isolated attacks and threats of violence towards politicians. InSight…

LA FAMILIA MICHOACANA / 5 MAY 2011

The entire local police force of a town in central Mexico is being investigated for alleged ties to the Familia…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…