Zoo Director Allegedly Killed 4 Rare Pygmy Goats and Turned Them Into Tacos for Party

He also traded zebra for tools.

The director of a Mexican zoo allegedly killed four rare pygmy goats and used them in tacos served at a party, local authorities say.  José Rubén Nava headed a zoo in Chilpancingo, the capital of the southwestern state of Guerrero. Univision reported he was fired on January 12 after authorities discovered a range of infractions he'd committed at the zoo, not least of which was the killing of the goats. Read on to find out more about the story, including what investigators discovered, what charges Nava is now facing, and how illegally sold exotic animals have become a problem in Mexico. 

"Put the Health of the People Who Ate Them At Risk"


"These four animals were slaughtered and cooked on the zoo's premises and were served as food at the New Year's Eve party," said Fernando Ruiz Gutierrez, the Guerrero state Environment Department's director of wildlife, in a video announcing the allegations against Nava. "This put the health of the people who ate them at risk because these animals were not fit for human consumption." Pygmy goats are a rare small breed related to the West African dwarf goat. They're often kept as pets because of their friendliness. It's unclear if the guests were aware that they were eating zoo animals during the party.

Injured Deer Sparked Investigation


Nava was removed from his position after authorities were notified about the suspicious death of a deer at the zoo, Univision reported. The animal had been rescued by local residents but had been poorly treated once turned over to the zoo. It had untreated dog bites, and its antlers had been cut without anesthesia.

Authorities then launched a larger investigation into Nava's leadership of the zoo. They claim that in addition to killing the goats, Nava sold and traded animals.

Many Animals Said to Be Missing


Officials allege that Nava traded a zebra was traded for tools that were supposedly needed for repairs around the facility—although the tools were never found—and that he gave a deer and four rare African Watusi cattle to private citizens. Several other animals were also discovered to be missing, including a jaguarundi, a female coyote, ten specimens of reptiles, a baby macaw, and a red-tailed hawk.

The Ministry of the Environment said they would continue to investigate and locate the missing animals. Meanwhile, Nava faces charges of species trafficking, animal abuse, and crimes against health, El Pais reported. 

Nava Denis Allegations


In a press conference last Wednesday, Nava denied the allegations. He claimed members of the environmental department were waging a "dirty war" against him because one of its top officials wanted his nephew to run the zoo, Univision reported.

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Illegally Sold Animals a Local Problem


CBS News reports that Mexico has long dealt with private citizens illegally acquiring exotic animals. For years, drug traffickers in the country have build private menageries of animals, including lions and tigers, which sometimes escape, wreaking havoc and injury.

In the central city of Aguascalientes, state police said a loose lion attacked and seriously injured a woman on the patio of her home. The lion apparently escaped from a nearby home. The woman was hospitalized with injuries to her legs, skull and lung, the news outlet reported.

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