Wild animals rescued from a life as photo props in Peru
The rescue of over 20 wild animals, including sloths and a manatee was carried out by Peruvian authorities and Entropika after we sounded the alarm.
Wild animals snatched from the Amazon rainforest to lead miserable lives posing with tourists at an infamous tourist trap in Puerta Alegria, Peru, have been rescued in a recent raid. The rescue of over 20 wild animals, including sloths and a manatee was carried out by Peruvian authorities and Entropika after we sounded the alarm. We are thrilled about this news and congratulate all those involved in the rescue.
In 2017, we launched the ground-breaking report, ‘Close up on cruelty,' exposing the cruel conditions that these animals were subjected to. It included details of the heart-breaking treatment of numerous iconic animals across Latin America, focusing specifically on two venues, including one in Puerto Alegria, Peru, where this rescue mission took place.
The report gave a detailed account of how animals were stolen from the wild illegally and used by irresponsible tour operators who cruelly exploit wildlife for profit. Animals were forced to endure stressful physical interaction with tourists all day for photos, lived in barren and cramped enclosures, had sores and injuries from being mishandled and in some cases, were even beaten. The growing demand for this kind of harmful wildlife selfie is a serious welfare and conservation concern – our online review of this practice in Latin America found that over 20% of the species involved are threatened by extinction and over 60% are protected by international law.
We are calling on relevant governments to enforce the law and ensure that travel companies and individuals who are exploiting wild animals for tourism in the Amazon abide by the existing laws. We also launched the Wildlife Selfie Code for tourists to learn how to take a photo with wild animals without fueling the cruel wildlife entertainment industry.
Animals such as gentle sloths were man-handled - day in, day out, for holiday snaps. While we are relieved that their suffering is over, elsewhere there are still many more wild animals in captivity, enduring cruelty on a daily basis, for that coveted animal selfie. This rescue sends out a clear message - wild animals belong in the wild. They are not photo props to be used in cruel wildlife selfies, which fuels a toxic trend on social media. We hope that this will cause a ripple of change not only in Peru but also in other locations across the Amazon too.
The animals were rescued on Thursday, December 13 and have been flown to rescue facilities where they will be suitably cared for and treated for their injuries and illnesses. They will then be assessed to see whether they can be rehabilitated or will live out the rest of their lives in peace at the facilities.
Dr Angela Maldonado, Founder Member at Entropika says:
“We’re thrilled that we were able to successfully rescue so many animals exploited for tourism, which wouldn’t have been possible without the joint work of the Peruvian authorities and other NGOs. Now the next challenge is finding sustainable alternative livelihoods for the community in Puerto Alegria. In addition to this, we are calling on the relevant authorities to exercise control over the operators that promote illegal wildlife trafficking, one of the direct threats to Amazonian biodiversity.”
How you can help
Pledge to be an animal-friendly traveler and book your next vacation with an animal-friendly travel company. You can protect these animals by reducing the demand for wild animals in entertainment in the countries where you are on holiday. By working together, we can help end the suffering of wild animals in the name of tourist entertainment for good.