Puerto Rico lost its only elephant — and cracked open a well of emotions

Mundi, the only elephant in Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez Zoo, has been moved to an elephant refuge in Georgia, causing mixed emotions across the island.

Context: The Puerto Rico zoo closed due to financial struggles and poor animal conditions, leading to over 600 animals being moved to sanctuaries in the US.
* Mundi, the African elephant, was the main attraction and a symbol of Puerto Rico’s more prosperous past.

Controversy: The evacuation of the zoo’s animals sparked sadness, anger, and resistance among some residents.
* Tensions escalated as protesters blocked zoo gates and online threats emerged, leading to armed federal agents being brought in for Mundi’s protection.

Zoo’s struggles: The closure of the zoo is seen as a result of the island’s current debt crisis and a failure to invest in repairs and maintenance.
* Animal rights activists have long been concerned about the deteriorating conditions of animals at the zoo.

A new life: Mundi, now aged 41, has been moved to the Elephant Refuge North America in Georgia, where she is expected to live another 20 to 30 years with other elephants in a more suitable environment.

View original article on NPR

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