Following Mexico’s upcoming legislative ban on using animals in the circus, the country is now facing the challenge of finding homes for more than 2,000 exotic creatures, including tigers, elephants, bears, zebras and camels, among other species.
“What we know is that there is a register of around 2,500 animals that are in circuses but we still don’t know exactly how many we need to find a home for,” said Rafael Pacchiano Alaman, a spokesman for the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).
The new federal law will require circus owners to present a list of animals in their possession so that “zoos can select the examples that may be candidates for integration into their collections.”
Those species which cannot be transferred to zoos will be kept in conservation centers run by SEMARNAT.
Nevertheless, Mexico’s Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZCARM) argues that such centers have insufficient space to house all of the animals.
To make matters worse, President of the National Association of Circus Owners and Artists Armando Cedeno estimates that the actual number of animals needed to be relocated is much higher than the government’s official estimate: possibly almost 4,000.