The director of a zoo in Mexico had 4 of its 10 pygmy goats cooked up for a New Year's feast, authorities say
The director of a zoo in Mexico is accused of cooking four of its pygmy goats for a New Year's banquet.
Authorities said he also illegally traded a zebra, and that 14 animals are missing from the zoo.
The director, who was removed from his position in January, denied the officials' reports.
The former director of a zoo in Mexico slaughtered four of the zoo's pygmy goats and cooked them up for an end-of-year party, local authorities said on Tuesday.
José Rubén Nava Noriega — who has been removed from his post as the director of Zoochilpan, a zoo in the city of Chilpancingo — put the male pygmy goats on the menu for a December banquet at the zoo, the state environment and natural resources department said in a video statement.
"This put the health of the people who ate them at risk, because these animals were not fit for human consumption," said Fernando Ruiz Gutierrez, a director of wildlife at the department.
Before this, the zoo had 10 pygmy goats, and it currently has 520 animals of 89 different species, Spanish language outlet El Pais reported.
Nava Noriega was dismissed on January 12 as director, after an escaped deer that was returned to zoo custody died because its injuries weren't treated properly, officials said.
A subsequent investigation into Nava Noriega found that apart from the ill-advised meal he gave to staffers, he had also illegally traded a zebra and four Watusi cattle with private individuals, the department added.
Nava Noriega was supposed to get three red deer and some tools and supplies in exchange, but the materials were never found and the monetary value of the deer was too low to be a fair trade, officials added.
Ángel Almazán Juárez, the secretary of the environment and natural resources in Guerrero, also said his department found that several animal births weren't recorded at the zoo, and that it falsely logged the deaths of some specimens.
At least 14 animals, including a coyote, a baby macaw, and a jaguar, are still missing from the premises, Almazán Juárez added.
The officials did not say if they will formally charge Nava Noriega.
Local radio host Federico Sariñana tweeted a video of Nava Noriega responding to the officials' report, in which the former director denied there were irregularities at the zoo under his leadership.
He accused the state environment department of launching a "dirty war" against him, and said he informed officials of all transactions involving the zoo's animals. However, he declined to show documentation of the trades or reveal who he traded the animals with, saying he would fall afoul of the law.
In the video, Nava Noriega also denied ordering the four pygmy goats to be cooked.
Nava Noriega and the Guerrero state department of environment and natural resources did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.
Read the original article on Insider