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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Lawmaker vows to fight decision to close zoo

Rep. Jocelyne Rodríguez Negrón, second from left, seen during an on-site inspection of the Juan A. Rivero Zoo in Mayagüez, said “the government’s decision [to close the zoo] is wrong and they must exhaust all available resources to rescue and preserve these facilities.”

By The Star Staff

Rep. Jocelyne Rodríguez Negrón on Tuesday expressed her opposition to the closure of the Juan A. Rivero Zoo in Mayagüez, calling the government’s decision “wrong.”

“The announcement of the closure of the Puerto Rico Zoo represents a hard blow to the economy of the western region and directly affects the research that is done for the preservation of species,” Rodríguez Negrón said. “The government’s decision is wrong and they must exhaust all available resources to rescue and preserve these facilities.”

The District 19 (Mayagüez and San Germán) legislator noted that as chairwoman of the House Committee for the Development and Supervision of Public Funds of the Western Region she held public hearings, visual inspections and multiple negotiations with the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) in order to improve the infrastructure of the zoo, safeguard the life and safety of animals, give continuity to the research center and keep operating the facilities, which are so important for the region.

“Yours truly has not rested in efforts to seriously and responsibly address the situation of the zoo,” she said. “We got the Department of Treasury to transfer the funds for the DNER to buy the necessary equipment. We identified resources to improve the infrastructure of the place, we placed ourselves at the willingness of this agency and the federal government to be among the officials present to conduct inspections at these facilities and we made ourselves available to look for all viable options for the reopening of the zoo, and now, without further ado, they decide to permanently close the zoo.”

“To say that the transfer of animals to sanctuaries will take several months puts their health and safety at risk, so we must also take into account such an important factor,” Rodríguez Negrón added. “I know that the zoo workers do a great job and we are called to protect their jobs, which is the livelihood of their families.”

The lawmaker vowed “to stop this closure announced by the secretary of the DNER.”

“Our people from Mayagüez and the entire western region can be sure that we will continue the battle so that our zoo does not close its doors and we can make this a prosperous, safe place for species and continue to be a center of economic development for the region,” she said.

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