Gopher Tortoises Seized From The Mobile Zoo Following PETA Complaint

Filthy Roadside Zoo Cited for Nearly Four Dozen Violations of Federal Law in Less Than Two Years

For Immediate Release:
November 6, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Mobile, Ala.

At least four gopher tortoises—who are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act—have been seized from The Mobile Zoo and last week were returned to their natural habitats in the wild, where their long, deep burrows will once more provide hundreds of other animal species with shelter. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) cited the Wilmer-based roadside zoo and seized the animals after a 2013 PETA complaint pointed out that Alabama prohibits possessing gopher tortoises without a permit, which The Mobile Zoo did not have, and that some of the tortoises at the zoo had been unlawfully taken from the wild.

“By illegally taking these protected tortoises from their natural habitat, not only did The Mobile Zoo harm the tortoises, it endangered an entire ecosystem full of animals who rely on these tortoises’ burrows,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “This irresponsibility is why PETA’s motto reads, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment’—and it’s why we warn families to stay away from The Mobile Zoo.”

Since January 2013 alone, The Mobile Zoo has been cited for 47 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including the following:

  • Failing to provide a tiger, who had a bloody cut on her face, with veterinary care
  • Failing to provide a bear, who still had her winter coat and was “panting and salivating excessively,” with adequate veterinary care
  • Failing to alleviate extreme temperatures in the bear den (U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors could feel heat radiating from the metal ceiling, which reached a sweltering 150 degrees.)
  • Allowing members of the public to throw peanuts at Joe, the solitary chimpanzee locked in a tiny, virtually barren enclosure (Joe also displayed aggression, a common result of the frustration of captivity.)
  • Having unsafe enclosures with rusted and broken fences and holes in the ground

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