Twenty former circus animals have been rescued after being left in their cages without food or water and in dire need of veterinary care, according to Mexican officials.
The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection, or PROFEPA, found four camels, three dromedaries, six Bengal tigers, seven baboons, including three babies, left near Merida in the southern state of Yucatan, completely without human care last week.
According to the government, the camels were severely dehydrated, skinny, their skin covered with scars and infections and each was tied by the muzzle to wagons.
The tigers were also starving. One had a mutilated leg. Some of the animals didn’t have claws or teeth.
The baboons had alopecia, rickets and were also missing teeth.
One of the females died a few days later despite efforts to save her.
Earlier this year, new laws were passed prohibiting the use of wildlife in circuses and calling for facilities to submit a list of animals so they can be relocated to more suitable homes.
“Circuses are encouraged to comply with the decree published in the Official Journal of the Federation on January 9, 2015, which comes into force next July 8,” the government said.
The rules for the “respectful treatment of animals” were applauded by animal welfare advocates, but also raised fears that circus performers might be dumped.
Abandonment of animals in this fashion comes with fines of up to $225,000.