News Feed Item

Circus Animals' Lives In Jeopardy

KEENESBURG, Colo., Nov. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The future of 16 Lions and Tigers has become unclear with an ethical battle erupting between an American Wildlife Sanctuary and a Paraguayan NGO.  The exotic big cats are part of a traveling circus based out of Argentina, and have been stranded in Paraguay for nearly five months with Argentinian authorities refusing their re-entry.

The nine Bengal Tigers and seven African Lions belong to the Argentine circus that normally performs in the Paraguayan capital each August. Their owner, Oswal Wasconi, brought them back for a 2012 performance only to learn that a new law in Paraguay bans live animal acts at circuses.

With Argentina stating they were not going to allow the animals back into the country without obtaining more detailed information about their protected status as endangered species, the animals' future became unclear.  Paraguay's wildlife agency made the decision to move the 16 Lions and Tigers to the Asuncion Zoo in hopes they would be more comfortable and better cared for while a solution was found.

Immediately, calls and emails for help began pouring into the U.S. offices of The Wild Animal Sanctuary, a non-profit carnivore sanctuary located outside of Denver, Colorado.  The 720 acre (291 hectare) facility is the largest and oldest large carnivore sanctuary in the western hemisphere, and has successfully rescued more than 30 circus animals from Mexico and Central & South American countries in recent years.

After talking with Paraguayan wildlife officials, The Wild Animal Sanctuary began negotiations to save the animals and secure a permanent home for them at the Sanctuary. A relatively small NGO known as OIPIC located in Paraguay became the intermediary between the circus owner and the Sanctuary, and helped with initial negotiations.

In the beginning, the circus owner offered to sell his animals, but the Sanctuary made it clear they were only interested in saving the animals and giving them a permanent home where they could be free and live in large natural habitats - and not cages.  Circus owner, Oswal Wasconi, stated he had spent thousands of dollars in fines and caring for the animals, since they had become stranded in Paraguay, and requested compensation for his losses in order to relinquish the animals.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary agreed to pay for the feed and care of the animals while waiting to win their freedom, and also to cover the circus's costs associated with government fines and other welfare expenses. Communications between the parties involved established those expenses at $20,000.00

OIPIC president, Brigitte Fuzellier, reported success in the negotiations through her communication to the Sanctuary stating "Aqui estoy ahora con la duenha de los tigres que vino desde brasil para resolver el tema de los tigres ella est de acuerdo con migo. Si le pagamos la proxima semana la sena de 20 mil ella firma la carta de compromiso con nosotros."

However, within days, it became apparent the circus owners were still attempting to sell the animals for $70,000.00 U.S. dollars to OIPIC, and actually had no concern for their animals' future.  Instead of holding the circus to their agreement, OIPIC suddenly changed their stance and agreed to pay the circus owner an additional $50,000.00 dollars to buy the animals.

Subsequent communications from Sanctuary made it very clear to OIPIC that the owner's demands for money beyond expenses associated with their being stranded in Paraguay were extremely inappropriate… and in no way would the Sanctuary be willing to be part of a deal to meet the owner's unscrupulous demands. OIPIC responded stating they were afraid of damaging their friendship and close association with the circus owner, and said they would continue to try to raise another $50,000.00 in U.S. currency to buy the animals.

Sanctuary Executive Director, Pat Craig stated "It is highly unethical and illegal to purchase endangered species, and any reputable organization – including ours – would never agree to do so.  We have repeatedly made this clear to Brigitte, yet she is continuing to pursue donations from the public to meet the owner's sale price.  This unethical behavior and outright refusal to follow well-established international law leaves us no choice but to discontinue our relationship with OIPIC."

The Wild Animal Sanctuary sent an official letter to OIPIC President Brigitte Fuzellier on the 20th of November stating it was breaking ties with her organization, and they would be forced to pursue other avenues to secure the circus animals' freedom.  Sanctuary Public Relations Director, Katie Vandegrift, stated their internationally well-known animal welfare organization was saddened by OIPIC's clouded judgment, and hoped the South American NGO would soon realize the serious nature of their potentially illegal actions before they got in trouble with law enforcement.

Currently, negotiations between the two entities have ceased, and the future of the Lions and Tigers is not clear.  OIPIC has recently stated they want to keep the animals in Paraguay, and raise money to build them a home there.

Whether the animals return to Argentina... go to a Sanctuary in the United States... or remain in Paraguay... one thing is clear.  Whoever secures the animals freedom from the circus, will have to do so without asking people to donate money to purchase them, as it is now clear this would break important CITES treaties and international law.

About The Wild Animal Sanctuary:
Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center, Inc., DBA The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a 720 acre refuge for large carnivores that have been confiscated from illegal or abusive situations. The Sanctuary is located 30 miles northeast of Denver, Colorado near the town of Keenesburg. The non-profit organization currently cares for more than 290 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves and other large carnivores and provides lifelong care for its rescued animals.  The Sanctuary is the oldest and largest carnivore sanctuary in existence, having been in operation since 1980.  The facility is distinctive among others in that it provides large acreage natural habitats for its rescued animals to live in and roam freely. The Sanctuary is open daily to the public for educational purposes and features an elevated "Mile Into The Wild" Walkway that visitors utilize to see the animals in natural habitats.


SOURCE The Wild Animal Sanctuary

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Effectively SMBs and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance requirements. The most recent are Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU’s GDPR have Board Level implications. Managing sensitive data protection will likely result in acquisition criteria, demonstration requests and new requirements. Developers, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes.
Apache Hadoop is a key technology for gaining business insights from your Big Data, but the penetration into enterprises is shockingly low. In fact, Apache Hadoop and Big Data proponents recognize that this technology has not yet achieved its game-changing business potential. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, John Mertic, director of program management for ODPi at The Linux Foundation, will explain why this is, how we can work together as an open data community to increase adoption, and the i...
By now most people have either created their configuration management solution or are just embarking on this journey. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Marco Ceppi, a DevOps Engineer working at Canonical, will discuss how to take configuration management to the next level with modelling and orchestration. He will also discuss how and why people are moving from a machine-centric view to a service/application-oriented view of deployments, and how you can leverage the knowledge a...
operations aren’t merging to become one discipline. Nor is operations simply going away. Rather, DevOps is leading software development and operations – together with other practices such as security – to collaborate and coexist with less overhead and conflict than in the past. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will discuss what modern operational practices look like in a world in which applications are more loosely coupled, are deve...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Nick Son, Vice President of Cyber Risk & Public Sector at Coalfire, will discuss the latest information on the FedRAMP Program. Topics will cover: FedRAMP Readiness Assessment Report (RAR). This new process is designed to streamline and accelerate the FedRAMP process from the traditional timeline by initially focusing on technical capability instead of documentation preparedness. FedRAMP for High-impact level systems. Early in 2016 FedRAMP officially publishe...
What are the successful IoT innovations from emerging markets? What are the unique challenges and opportunities from these markets? How did the constraints in connectivity among others lead to groundbreaking insights? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Carmen Feliciano, a Principal at AMDG, will answer all these questions and share how you can apply IoT best practices and frameworks from the emerging markets to your own business.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Security, data privacy, reliability, and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house, client-hosted environments to a cloud platform. Quality assurance plays a vital role in ensuring that the appropriate level of risk assessment, verification, and validation takes place to ensure business continuity during the migration to a new cloud platform.
DevOps is speeding towards the IT world like a freight train and the hype around it is deafening. There is no reason to be afraid of this change as it is the natural reaction to the agile movement that revolutionized development just a few years ago. By definition, DevOps is the natural alignment of IT performance to business profitability. The relevance of this has yet to be quantified but it has been suggested that the route to the CEO’s chair will come from the IT leaders that successfully ma...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, will provide economic scenarios that describe how the rapid adoption of software-defined everything including cloud services, SDDC and open networking will change GDP, industry growth, productivity and jobs. This session will also include a drill down for several industries such as finance, social media, cloud service providers and pharmaceuticals.
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...