Failure on bear ‘Chucho’ unleash debate about the rights of animals – The Herald (Colombia)

The Sala Civil of the Supreme Court of Justice ordered on Thursday the return of the spectacled bear ‘Chucho’ to the nature reserve White River enManizales, 43 days after having been sent to the zoo of Barranquilla.

To this decision have been joined by several voices for and against. Who was the ‘voice’ of ‘Chucho’ to justice to enforce their rights as “sentient being” was the constitutional lawyer Luis Domingo Gómez Maldonado through a writ of habeas corpus.

“I saw the news and checked the theme. I realized that there was a concern of citizens. Then I thought of what we could do as a professional,” Gomez says to THE HERALD.

The action made based on the case of the chimpanzee Cecilia, who spent 20 years locked up in the zoo of Mendoza (Argentina), and that after that the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights filed a habeas corpus petition and managed their transfer to the sanctuary of Sorocaba, in Brazil.

“The novelty in this case is that the amparo is a procedural mechanism that is to protect the freedom of the people,” says the lawyer.

Before the failure of the judge rapporteur Luis Armando Tolosa Villabona, Gomez Maldonado was declared a “happy personally and professionally”.

So it seems “a decision taken out of hair”, the constitution ensures that “may set a precedent”.

“It’s not about giving them rights to the subjects smiling non-human, are equal to those of humans equated into a whole, to believe that the bulls, parrots, dogs or trees, etc, will have their own courts, but of giving them the appropriate, fair and suitable to your species,” reads the ruling.

Chucho was taken to the Forest Reserve Protective White River by Aguas de Manizales when he was four years of age, from the la Planada Natural Reserve of Ricaute, Nariño).

On the recommendation of the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Caldas ‘Chucho’ had to be moved from the home where they lived 18 years, to Barranquilla, to “improve their conditions”.

Response of the Zoo

The Zoo of Barranquilla, an institution that currently has custody of the spectacled bear, rejected the decision of the Court releasing him having “as a priority destination for the nature Reserve White River”.

Farah Ajami Peralta, executive director of the zooloógico, assured that “the fault is quite inconclusive and does not determine us to where it is to be transferred to the animal, because it is clear that the best site in the which is the animal, it is the zoo”.

At this time, an interdisciplinary group of the foundation is studying carefully the document with the order to take a decision to protect the well-being of ‘Chucho’.

He said that it is very important to make a precision as to what is asked for by the magistrate because the bear was born in captivity and has remained so during its existence.

“This romantic version of the bear can return to his natural environment is not certain because their natural environment has not been the nature. His average has always been under the care of human and so it must remain,” said the director.

At this time, he adds, ‘Chucho’ already has a female and when we take a decision with relation to the failure would not be affecting only him, but two animals.

“The bear came to us a month ago and travelled by land for the size of the animal. He had to be anesthetized and return it to its place means having to make you numb and this represents a risk to the animal.”

Experts say

“I don’t know why he was sent to Barranquilla, it is very strange,” indicated Héctor Restrepo, biologist of the Foundation of the Wii, in charge of the conservation and research of bears and andean mountain.

The spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is a species that is in danger of extinction, in the Vulnerable category (VU) by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The reasons given by Corpocaldas to your transfer is based on that “escaped on several occasions of his confinement, which he put in evidence that there were no optimal conditions for their operation and maintenance, and led to an eventual risk for the communities living around the Reserve.”

Natalia Parra Osorio, director of the foundation Platform High, looking for the animal protection and environmental, argued that in Manizales “was not right, but it is not a solution to send it to a zoo”.

On the appeal of the lawyer, declares that “it is fundamental”, explaining that in Colombia there has been progress in the field of animal protection, “but an effort is required in the field of culture”.

For the biologist Restrepo best thing that can happen is that I return to Booking “to be in a better position than he was.”

The ruling mandates that ‘Pooch’ is sent to a zone that is “better suited to your habitat with a full and dignified conditions of semi”.

The term semi is explained by the biologist as “a fenced area where you can move quietly to the animal. It is more or less like their natural habitat, but give him the food.”

Both Restrepo as Parra match in the zoo of Barranquilla “is not an ideal space” for the bear ‘Chucho’.

“The space is not ideal, in addition to the topography and the height of the city,” says Parra. While Restrepo explains that the animal “went from living at 2,000 meters above sea level to 0 metres and to a lower temperature to 17°C to greater than 30°C”.

So soon the attorney Gomez is considered to be satisfied “because it opens the debate to the protection of the rights of animals,” while also pointing out that in the country, “there is no constitutional mechanism to protect the rights of animals and we have to be creative with what is there at the moment.”

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