Animal rescue center and zoo struggle to buy food as Covid-19 crisis keeps visitors away

Mar 30, 2020 | 11 comments

The owner of an animal rescue center and zoo in Tarqui is appealing to the public to help feed his animals. Alberto Vele says the coronavirus crisis has dealt his Yurak Allpa refuge a double shock and he is struggling to keep his 400 animals fed.

Yurak Allpa rehabilitates animals and raptors to return to the wild. (Photo by Bartley D’Alfonso)

“I depend on the public for contributions but because of the virus no one is coming,” says. “In addition, the price of food is much higher now. Before at Feria Libre I could buy carrots in bulk for $5 and now they cost $15.” Under normal conditions, Vele says his food bill is about $4,000 a month.

Yurak Allpa has both wild animals, including deer, llamas, tigrillos, foxes and various raptors, as well as domestic animals that have suffered abuse. “We rehabilitate the wild animals to reintroduce them to the wild,” Vele says. “Now, all my animals are hungry.”

Cuenca’s Amaru Biopark on the Cuenca-Azogues autopista is also facing a financial emergency and is turning to the public for help. The zoo houses hundreds of mostly Andean animals but also has 12 African lions rescued from private and public collections that could longer provide care.

Amaru Director Nicolás Astudillo says his problem is the same as Vele’s. “Our primary funding is from the public and with people unable to leave their homes we have no visitors. Our need for food is urgent and we ask our supporters to contribute,” he says.

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To make a donations to Yurak Allpa, call 098 565 2133 or, to Amaru, call 241 3982 or 099 378 1679.

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