Peccaries are among the animals stolen. Image: Pixabay

The food crisis in Venezuela continues to be a problem — and zoo animals, dogs, and now rabbits, are paying the price.

Dogs are reportedly being slaughtered in the streets, and officials believe that zoo animals are being stolen and eaten as the shortage becomes worse. Maracaibo’s Zulia Metropolitan Zoological Park has reported that over ten species of animals went missing in August.

“What we presume is that they [were taken] with the intention of eating them,” said Luis Morales, a police official.

Brown Adult Tapir Mammal Portrait

However, some believe that the animals were taken by drug dealers seeking to sell the animals, including zoo head Leonardo Nunez. “They take everything here! The animals weren’t stolen to be eaten,” he said in an interview.

Whatever the reason, the animals remaining in captivity aren’t much better off — there isn’t enough food to feed the remaining animals there either. According to one union leader, nearly 50 animals starved to death at Caracas zoos last year alone.

The Venezuelan President has recently insisted that locals breed and eat rabbits to survive. However, the plan doesn’t seem to be working thus far as people are becoming fond of the rabbits and keeping them as pets. A defeated minister of urban agriculture stated, “We need a publicity campaign on radio, TV, in newspapers, in cartoons, everywhere, so that the people understand that rabbits aren’t pets but two and a half kilos of meat.”

One study determined that 93% of Venezuelans can’t afford food and 73% have lost weight in the last year due to the food shortage crisis.

Image: Pixabay