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

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 28 MAY 2019

A park ranger’s shooting in Costa Rica and the slaying of another in a Colombian reserve show the dangers rangers…

ARGENTINA / 15 JAN 2020

Welcome to InSight Crime's Criminal GameChangers 2019, where we highlight the most important trends in organized crime in the Americas…

MEXICO / 1 NOV 2013

A drug smuggling "super tunnel" linking Mexico and the United States, shut down on Wednesday, was one of the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.