DIRE

Venezuela Zoo Animals ‘Stolen for Food’ Amid Economic Crisis

Authorities in Venezuela are investigating a spate of recent thefts of zoo animals in a trend thought to be linked to the country’s severe food shortages. “What we presume is that they [were taken] with the intention of eating them,” Luis Morales, an official for the Zulia division of the National Police, was cited as saying by Reuters. Morales’ comments came after two collared peccaries, which are similar to boars, were snatched from the Zulia Metropolitan Zoological Park in Maracaibo over the weekend. Leonardo Nunez, the head of the zoo, said at least 10 species have been taken from the zoo in recent weeks, including a buffalo that he said was cut into pieces by the thieves. Nunez blamed “drug dealers” for the trend, saying the animals were likely sold for money.