Animals that were being trafficked for their skins are released back into the wild
On Tuesday March 17, over a hundred animals seized from traffickers were flown in a military plane from the department of Valle del Cauca, in the Colombian Pacific, to freedom in the Amazon rainforest.
“After a ten month rehabilitation process, 149 specimens, including primates, cats, birds, reptiles and other species, either recovered by the environmental authorities, seized or surrendered by families, are released into their natural habitat,” said Tatiana Restrepo Agudelo, veterinary and medical director of the Centre for Attention and Appreciation of Wildlife.
The animals were subject to blood and urine tests, de-worming and vaccinations before being ‘discharged’. A particularly complicated part of the process was detaching the animals from their carers, which was carried out by keeping the animals in conditions similar to their jungle habitats.
In the past two years, Colombia has seized 55,000 wild animals and plants in operations aimed against illegal traffickers, said the country’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.
With over 54,000 different species, Colombia is among the ten most biodiverse countries in the world.
In other news, a hummingbird that was feared extinct – the blue-bearded helmetcrest – has been sighted in the Sierra Nevada.
The first sighting in 69 years was made by two conservationists, Carlos Julio Rojas and Christian Vásquez, who were in the region to document environmental damage.