The director of a Mexican zoo has been accused of cooking and eating four of its 10 pygmy goats as part of a New Year’s feast. José Rubén Nava Noriega, who was the director of Zoochilpan in Chilpancingo, was also accused of illegally trading a zebra. Authorities believe he’s also responsible for 14 animals being missing from the zoo, per El Pais.
The state environment and natural resources department released a video statement on Facebook in which they shared the outrageous crime. They noted that Noriega had been removed from his post in January as a result of putting the zoo’s pygmy goats on the menu for its December banquet.
“This put the health of the people who ate them at risk because these animals were not fit for human consumption,” said the department’s director of wildlife, Fernando Ruiz Gutierrez. Of the 10 pygmy goats at Zoochilpan, only six remain.
José Rubén Nava Noriega was up to no good, officials believe
El exdirector del zoológico Zoochilpan, José Rubén Nava Noriega niega irregularidades y acusa una "guerra" del secretario de @SEMARENgro, Ángel Almazán Juarez para controlar el organismo con la imposición de un sobrino y otros familiares. pic.twitter.com/SiOo3ZCoyb
— Federico Sariñana (@PikoSarinana) February 1, 2023
Further investigation uncovered more of Noriega’s corruption. They believe he illegally traded a zebra and four Watusi cattle with private individuals. In exchange for the animals, he was allegedly going to receive supplies and tools as well as three red deer. However, no materials ever surfaced. Plus, the monetary value of the trade was far from fair. There were also several live animal births that were never recorded, and Noriega also falsely recorded the deaths of certain animals.
Ángel Almazán Juárez, the secretary of the environment and natural resources in Guerrero, added that 14 animals were still missing from the zoo. They included a jaguar, a baby macaw, and a coyote.
Noriega has denied all of the accusations against him, instead accusing the state environment department of starting a “dirty war” against him. However, he had no documentation or proof to back up his claims of innocence. It’s unclear what, if any, charges the state department plans to file against José Rubén Nava Noriega.