Cuenca’s Amaru Zoo is looking for a good home for 17 African lions. The lions, many of whom are in poor health from lack of food and poor living conditions, were part of a private collection of more than 200 wild animals near Cuenca that was recently disbanded.
Amaru veterinarian Paola Cañar says it is impossible for the lions to remain in Cuenca but says she and her staff’s immediate focus is bringing the pride back to good health. “Some of them have wounds that need to heal and most are underweight,” she says.
Cañar says that Amaru is contacting other zoos and bioparks in Ecuador and throughout South America hoping to find a suitable home for the lions. “Like us, most of the parks and zoos in the region concentrate on native species with a mission of reintroducing animals back into their native ecosystem,” she says. “African lions, obviously, do not fill this mission.”
She adds: “We already have seven lions at Amaru and are happy to provide space and care for them but we cannot accept more,” she says.
Amaru director Victoria Arbeláez says that offering temporarily care of the donated lions is difficult. “We do not received economic support from the government and depend heavily on private contribution to continue our work so it is important we find a suitable home for the lions as soon as possible.”